Coronavirus:Written question - 7163

(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 23 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment the Government has made of the health effects of the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 30 January 2020

We have been closely monitoring the situation in Wuhan and China more widely. We have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures. Our approach has at all times been guided by the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty. Professor Whitty and Public Health England, aided by independent experts, are in close contact with their international counterparts, continually monitoring the scientific evidence as it emerges. The health effects of the novel coronavirus continue to be assessed considering emerging information from researchers in China.

The Chief Medical Officer last week revised the risk to the United Kingdom population from “very low” to “low”. This was because there was more evidence of human transmissibility since the virus was first identified.

Coronaviruses are common across the world and typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. This is a dynamic situation which is being kept under constant review.

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