First case of coronavirus confirmed in Wales

The first case of coronavirus in Wales has been confirmed by the Welsh Government. Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton said a patient from the Swansea area had travelled back from northern Italy, where the virus was contracted. It means 19 people have tested positive in the UK since the virus outbreak began in China in December. On Thursday, Northern Ireland diagnosed its first case and on Friday two new cases were confirmed in England. Dr Atherton said the development was “not unexpected”. He said the patient had been tested on Thursday, adding: “All appropriate measures to provide care for the individual and to reduce the risk of transmission to others are being taken. “I’d like to take this opportunity to assure the public that Wales and the whole of the UK is well prepared for these types of incidents.” He said to protect the patient’s confidentiality no further details regarding the individual would be released. Public Health Wales said it was is working hard to identify close contacts and taking all appropriate actions to reduce any risk to the public’s health. Experts have warned of school closures and the cancellation of major sporting events, concerts and festivals in the UK in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, which causes Covid-19. England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said transmission of the virus between people in the UK was “just a matter of time”. He said if the outbreak intensifies, it may be necessary to close schools and stop mass gatherings of people for “quite a long period of time, probably more than two months”. The World Health Organization also warned that the outbreak had reached a “decisive point” and had “pandemic potential”.

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What should I do to prevent catching and spreading the virus? To protect against infection, the NHS has advised people to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or a sanitiser gel. It is best to catch coughs and sneezes with tissues, which should be thrown away immediately afterwards. Be sure to wash your hands after disposing of tissues. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoid close contact with people who are unwell. The World Health Organization advises keeping at least a metre between you and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. What is the official advice? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is warning against all but essential travel to 11 quarantined towns in Italy, two cities in South Korea and mainland China. The Department of Health says anyone who has returned from those specified parts of Italy and South Korea, as well as Iran, since 19 February should call the NHS 111 helpline, stay indoors and avoid contact with others. Anyone who has returned in the past 14 days from Hubei Province in China – where the FCO has warned against all travel – should do the same. People should also call the helpline and self-isolate if they are experiencing symptoms – however mild – after returning to the UK from the following places:
  • Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and parts of northern Italy since 19 February
  • Mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau, in the past 14 days
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The latest information and travel advice is available from the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales. Source: BBC]]>