UK: Four more people diagnosed with coronavirus
The number of people infected by the coronavirus in the UK has doubled to eight – after four more patients in England tested positive for the virus.
It comes as the government announced new powers to keep people in quarantine to stop the spread of the virus.
In order to do this the Department of Health has described the coronavirus as a “serious and imminent threat” to public health.
The overall risk level to the UK remains “moderate”.
There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China. The total number of deaths in China is now 908 – but the number of newly-infected people per day has stabilised.
Confirming the four new cases on Monday, chief medical officer for England Prof Chris Whitty said they were all “known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France”.
He added that they have been transferred to specialist NHS centres at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the Royal Free hospitals in London.
The BBC’s political correspondent Iain Watson said the new measures were announced because a passenger on the first UK flight from Wuhan, who is currently being held in quarantine on the Wirral, “is threatening to abscond”.
“Currently the regulations are not strong enough to stop him leaving before the 14-day period is up so they brought in these new regulations to try and compel him to stay put,” he said.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “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.”
On Sunday, around 200 British and foreign nationals arrived on the second and final flight chartered to the UK from Wuhan by the Foreign Office. Evacuees were taken to a Milton Keynes conference centre for 14 days of quarantine.