Press release

CMO for England statement on the Wuhan novel coronavirus

Statement from the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, on Wuhan novel coronavirus.

Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty

COBR met today to discuss the situation in Wuhan, China, and elsewhere in Asia. I updated on the current situation, the preparedness of the NHS, and possible next steps.

I am working closely with the other UK Chief Medical Officers. We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage. We have tried and tested measures in place to respond. The UK is well prepared for these types of incidents, with excellent readiness against infectious diseases.

We have global experts monitoring the situation around the clock and have a strong track record of managing new forms of infectious disease. We have access to some of the best infectious disease and public health experts in the world from around the UK.

There are no confirmed cases in the UK to date. We have been carefully monitoring the situation in Wuhan, China, since the beginning of the outbreak and are now implementing our planned response.

A public health hub will be set up in Heathrow from today. This consists of clinicians and other public health officials, in addition to existing port health measures.

The World Health Organization has rightly responded quickly and China has introduced strong public health measures.

Published 24 January 2020