KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — The United Kingdom (UK) today declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a serious and imminent threat to public health.
The Guardian reported that this move empowers authorities to take additional action to fight the spread of the provisionally named 2019-nCoV, including forcible quarantine of patients, who would not be free to leave, or forcible isolation if they posed a threat to public health.
“The incidence or transmission of novel coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health,” health secretary Matt Hancock was quoted saying.
Hubei province in China and Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, where the coronavirus outbreak originated from, were declared as an “infected area”.
A spokesman from the UK’s Department of Health reportedly said the NHS was well prepared to deal with the new strain of coronavirus.
“We are strengthening our regulations so we can keep individuals in supported isolation for their own safety and if public health professionals consider they may be at risk of spreading the virus to other members of the public.
“This measure will rightly make it easier for health professionals to help keep people safe across the country.”
The Guardian reported that a British man who reportedly caught coronavirus at a business conference in Singapore was linked to at least seven other confirmed infections in England, Spain, and France.
The UK confirmed eight 2019-nCoV infections as of today.