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Novel coronavirus: update 13 May 2013

Public Health England (PHE) continues to keep its information and advice on the novel coronavirus under review.


Although there are new cases in Saudi Arabia and in France, there have been no new cases of novel coronavirus in the UK since February and therefore there is currently no change to PHE’s previous advice.

The total number of laboratory confirmed cases in the UK is 4. Sadly 2 of those have died.

The review of the PHE guidance is to ensure that it remains appropriate and in line with the advice provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Experts at PHE continue to liaise with colleagues at WHO and ECDC in order to ensure that we have the best understanding of the current situation so we are in a position to revise our guidance if necessary.

The respiratory diseases department and colleagues in the respiratory virus lab at PHE have already prepared a series of advice documents for both the general public and healthcare professionals including risk assessments and advice on how cases should be managed.

Healthcare professionals are advised to be vigilant for severe unexplained respiratory illness occurring in anyone who has recently travelled in the Middle East, as well as any unexplained cluster of severe respiratory illness or healthcare worker with unexplained severe respiratory illness. Advice is provided on infection control, urgent diagnostic investigation and identification of contacts of suspected cases.

Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at PHE, said:

There have been no new cases of novel coronavirus in the UK since February 2013 so the total remains at 4. Sadly 2 of those have died.

We remain vigilant to the developments in Saudi and in the rest of the world where new cases have emerged and continue to liaise closely with our international colleagues to assess whether our recommendations need to change. Although some person-to-person transmission has been reported, there remains no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission.

Published 13 May 2013