Two further cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the United Kingdom, bringing the total number of cases to 15, England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said on Thursday.
“The virus was passed on in Italy and Tenerife and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital, London,” the statement said.
Governments are ramping up measures to battle a looming global pandemic of the coronavirus as the number of infections outside China, the source of the outbreak, for the first time surpassed those appearing inside the country.
Health Minister Matt Hancock on Wednesday told the Parliament that the government “is taking all necessary measures to minimise the risk”.
“The public can be assured that we have a clear plan to contain, delay, research and mitigate this virus,” Hancock said.
Media have reported several schools have closed or sent pupils home after returning from trips to northern Italy during last week’s school holiday. Hancock said there was no need for schools to close or other students or staff to be sent home.
The coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 2,800, the majority in China. Much remains unknown about the virus but it is clear the ramifications of the world’s second-biggest economy in lockdown for a month or more are vast.