London gets first case of coronavirus, Germany calls on EU to allocate funds

A doctor takes a swab for SARS-CoV-2 testing on a woman in a fever clinic in Yinan County, in east China's Shandong province, 12 February 2020. . EPA-EFE/WANG YANBING

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A woman who flew into London from China a few days ago is being treated for coronavirus, bringing the total number of UK cases to nine. This is the first confirmed case emerged in the British capital.

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the woman was transferred to a specialist NHS centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in central London.

Prof Whitty said the patient had contracted the virus in China.

Sources say she developed symptoms after landing at Heathrow, called NHS 111 and then tested positive.

Formula One Grand Prix of China postponed due to coronavirus
A Chinese security officer stands guard outside the paddock before the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit in Shanghai, China. The 2020 Chinese Formula One Grand Prix has been postponed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in China. EPA-EFE/DIEGO AZUBEL

It comes after Prof Paul Cosford, from Public Health England, earlier told the BBC that more UK cases were “highly likely”.

Earlier, British businessman Steve Walsh, one of the nine UK cases of coronavirus, left hospital having fully recovered.

Doctors have warned that the London Underground could be a hotbed for the coronavirus. There are concerns that the city’s extensive transport links could exacerbate the spread of the virus, but doctors have stressed that the risk of infection remains low.

Some 242 deaths from the new coronavirus were recorded in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday – the deadliest day of the outbreak.

There was also a huge increase in the number of cases, with 14,840 people diagnosed with the virus.

Hubei has started using a broader definition to diagnose people – which accounts for most of the rise in cases.

Until Wednesday’s increases, the number of people diagnosed in Hubei – where the outbreak emerged – was stabilising.

But the new cases and deaths in the province have pushed the national death toll above 1,350 – with almost 60,000 cases in total.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday he would like to see the European Union “take on responsibility” in regards to the coronavirus outbreak, allocating some of its budget to efforts to control and contain COVID-19.

Spahn, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats, is set to meet with the EU’s health ministers in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the bloc’s response to the outbreak.

“And I would also like … the World Health Organization’s request for financial aid to not only be answered by countries, but also that the EU takes on some responsibility with its own budgetary resources,” Spahn said after a briefing of the health committee in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in Brussels on Wednesday that the EU needs to “respond to this challenge in a closely coordinated and united manner” because “viruses know no borders.”

Read more via DW/Sky News / BBC

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