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Statement on Wuhan Coronavirus

11 February 2020 (updated on 11 February 2020)

Image of UK Parliament portcullis

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, made a statement to the House of Commons regarding on the progression of the Wuhan Coronavirus.

The Chinese city of Wuhan was the site of an outbreak of respiratory virus 2019-nCoV, otherwise known as coronavirus. The outbreak has now spread to more than 24 countries. There have now been more than 40,000 global cases of coronavirus, which has been declared a global health emergency. The number of people known to be infected in the UK is eight.

This update comes after an initial statement from the Health Secretary on the virus on 23 January 2020.

Matt Hancock MP: "belts and braces approach to protecting the public"

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, told MPs that he has "laid an instrument before the House to confirm the power that we've [the Government] taken to isolate those at risk of spreading the virus. And if necessary to keep them isolated as part of our belts and braces approach to protecting the public."

Matt Hancock MP, continued:

"The powers are proportionate and will help us slow down the transmission of the virus and make it easier for NHS and public health staff to do their jobs. The clinical advice about the risk to the public has not changed and remains moderate."

Jonathan Ashworth MP: "Quarantine arrangements must be seen to be necessary"

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, said that on the specific issue of the quarantine arrangements, he understands the approach the Government has taken.

The Shadow Secretary told MPs:

"Quarantine arrangements must be seen to be necessary, proportionate and in accordance with the law. And enforcement of those quarantine arrangements, including where with powers of restraint if necessary, must be fully transparent, and the rights and freedoms of the quarantined evacuees must be fully understood so as to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect."

Mr Ashworth added:

"At what point will the House get an opportunity to consider those regulations, and will that be on the floor of the House?"

Image: PA

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