TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

HPA identifies case of novel coronavirus in United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's Health Protection Agency confirmed the diagnosis on Monday of a case of novel coronavirus in a U.K. resident who recently traveled to Pakistan and the Middle East.

The patient is currently receiving intensive care treatment in a hospital in Manchester. The latest case brings the total number of globally confirmed novel coronavirus cases to 10. There was one other case of the virus reported in the U.K. in September.

"The HPA is providing advice to healthcare workers to ensure the patient under investigation is being treated appropriately and that healthcare staff who are looking after the patient are protected," John Watson, the head of the respiratory disease department at the HPA, said. "Contacts of the case are also being followed up to check on their health. Our assessment is that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general U.K. population remains extremely low and the risk to travelers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low."

Watson said that no travel restrictions are in place but that people who develop severe respiratory symptoms should seek medical advice.

Maria Zambon, the director of reference microbiology services at the HPA, said that the agency developed multiple tests for coronavirus to detect the presence of virus in the body.

"In mid-November the HPA published the full genome sequence from the first U.K. patient, enabling scientists around the world to understand more about the diversity of this virus," Zambon said. "This will help with efforts to determine the origin of the virus and develop strategies for treatment and prevention."

The new coronavirus was identified in September in a patient who died from severe respiratory infection in June. The virus presented in other patients with cough, fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.