Four more people in the UK are confirmed to have been infected by the coronavirus, doubling the total confirmed infections in the UK to eight.
The announcement was made on Monday by the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty. In a statement, the officer said;
“The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France.
Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.”
The patients are understood to have been transferred to specialist NHS centres in London.
One of the eight people diagnosed in the UK caught the virus in Singapore, before travelling to France. He was diagnosed in Brighton, is being treated in London, and has been linked to five of the other cases. Two of the eight people diagnosed are healthcare workers.
A GP practice in Brighton has been temporarily closed, following a staff member being diagnosed with the virus.
The announcement came as the Department of Health has described the deadly virus as a “serious and imminent threat” to public health. The description is though thought to have been used mainly for legal reasons – new powers have been given to help enforce quarantines of those who may be infected by the virus. The department has insisted the risk to individuals is low.
There have now been over 900 deaths in China from the virus. Anyone concerned about the virus that may have come into contact with it is advised to phone the NHS 111 service.