The third person in the UK to be diagnosed with coronavirus did not catch it in mainland China, England’s chief medical officer has said. The patient, who caught the infection elsewhere in Asia, was diagnosed in Brighton, it is understood.
Prof Chris Whitty also said doctors would now test for suspected coronavirus in patients who have recently travelled from a range of Asian countries, which will be specified later.
There have been 28,265 cases worldwide. Of these, 565 people have died but only two of these have been outside mainland China – one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.
The third UK patient is understood to be a middle-aged man who was isolated at home, tested positive and was taken to Guy’s Hospital in central London, where he is being treated at a specialist infectious diseases unit.
The NHS was “well prepared” to manage cases, Prof Whitty added, saying: “We are now working quickly to identify any contacts the patient has had.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to the UK warned against “panic” and “over-reaction” in response to the virus.
The University of Sussex, which has a campus on the outskirts of Brighton, said in a statement the new case was not a student or member of staff from the university.
Two other patients – both Chinese nationals – are still being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary infectious diseases centre in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The patients – a university of York student and one of their relatives – tested positive for the virus after falling ill at a hotel in York.