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Government holds Cobra meeting over coronavirus outbreak

The UK government is holding a meeting of its emergency committee Cobra in Whitehall to discuss the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The meeting comes as a Public Health England (PHE) boss said that it is 'highly likely' that cases of the new strain of the virus will come to the UK.

At this stage, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in the UK, with nine people awaiting results.

Leaflets and information are being distributed at some UK airports about the virus. The virus has spread across China recently, reaching other countries including Japan, Thailand and the US. China has placed travel restrictions affecting around 20 million people across 10 cities in order to try and prevent and slow down the spread of the virus.

The virus, known as 2019-nCoV, has not previously been identified in humans. The virus is a new strain of the coronavirus - in the early 2000s, the Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus, another strain killed nearly 800 people.

The first cases of the new strain were identified in Wuhan in China last month. At the moment, there is no vaccine available to protect people against the virus. Symptoms of the virus include respiratory issues - anyone who has been to Wuhan in the past 14 days and has developed such symptoms are advised to phone the NHS number 111.

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