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As of Thursday 30 January 2020, based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public in the UK from low to ‘moderate’. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities. The risk to individuals in the UK has not changed at this stage.

Public Health England has confirmed that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus. The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and the NHS is using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus. Read the statement here -https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cmo-confirms-cases-of-coronavirus-in-england

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The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and they are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.

Public Health England has been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and has robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately. They are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure the UK are ready for all eventualities.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office repatriation flight departed from Wuhan on 31 January, anyone who now returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for at least 14 days, with all necessary medical attention.

Health protection teams have been in place at Heathrow since 22 January and in Gatwick and Manchester since 29 January.

Posters and leaflets have been sent by PHE electronically to all 28 UK international airports and all UK Eurostar terminals and Dover.

Transport updates

Virgin Atlantic has suspended their London to Shanghai service from 1 February, existing capacity remains on Chinese carrier routes from the UK to China.

Train operators across Great Britain are offering fee-free refunds for rail tickets purchased in China before 24 January 2020 for UK rail journeys between 22 January-29 February.

British Airways has advised “as part of our normal policy cancelled customers are being offered refund, rebook to a later date, rebook on alternative airline, rebook via Hong Kong either with us or alternative airline. If they are stranded as a direct impact of a cancelled flight they would be provided with hotel/expenses cover.”

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