In light of the increasing number of cases in China and the declaration of a Public Health Emergency by the World Health Organization, the four UK Chief Medical Officers consider it prudent for governments and the NHS to escalate planning and preparation in case of a more widespread outbreak.
For that reason, we are advising an increase of the UK risk level from low to moderate. This does not mean we think the risk to individuals in the UK has changed at this stage, but that the UK should plan for all eventualities.
We are now recommending that all travellers who develop flu-like symptoms however mild, (these symptoms could be a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing) within 14 days of returning from mainland China, should self-isolate at home immediately and call the NHS. For residents in Wales this is NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or phone 111 if available in your area (Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay). We are already recommending that travellers from Wuhan should self-isolate for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, due to the increased risk from that area.
The UK has confirmed its first cases of novel coronavirus – something UK Chief Medical Officers, public health agencies and the NHS have been preparing for. It is likely that Wales will see cases of novel coronavirus and the Welsh Government and NHS Wales have prepared for this with robust case management and infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.
The UK Chief Medical Officers are working closely across the 4 Nations to co-ordinate actions so that Wales and the UK are ready to respond to further developments in this public health incident.
This is an evolving situation and I will keep you regularly informed of developments.