China coronavirus: UK tests come back negative

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People wearing masks in LondonImage source, EPA
Image caption,
More people have been spotted wearing masks in London in recent days

Tests in the UK on 31 people for the new strain of coronavirus have come back negative, the government has said.

"There are currently no confirmed cases in the UK or of UK citizens abroad, and the risk to the public is low," the Department of Health said.

It came after the Chief Medical Officer for England said there was a "fair chance" the UK would see a case.

The coronavirus has killed at least 41 people and infected 1,300 since its discovery in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday the risk to the public "remains low".

In its daily update on Saturday, the Department of Health added: "The government is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and international community."

It was announced on Friday that 14 completed tests had come back negative for the new strain.

Officials are trying to trace around 2,000 people who have flown in to the UK from Wuhan in the past fortnight.

The virus, which is new to science, has now spread to 10 countries outside of China, including France, the US and Australia.

In China, travel restrictions have already hit several affected cities and President Xi Jinping has warned the spread of the virus is "accelerating".

What should you do if you think you have the virus?

Public Health England is advising anyone who has been to Wuhan within the past 14 days and has developed respiratory symptoms to phone NHS 111.

Those symptoms include a cough, a sneeze, shortness of breath, or a fever.

People who are concerned should phone ahead before going to any medical facility and mention their recent travel to the city.

PHE also advises anyone travelling to China to maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene, and avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms.

The agency is currently not advising people to wear face masks.

Learn more about the new virus

Image source, Getty