LOCAL health authorities say they are monitoring the spread of coronavirus to be prepared if the situation gets worse.
Two cases of the flu-like disease were confirmed in the UK last Friday, in York, following the emergence of coronavirus in Wuhan in China.
The patients are in the care of the NHS and the government said it had put in place “advanced monitoring” at airports with direct flights from China.
Part of the response plan is a public campaign urging the public to wash their hands regularly with soap or sanitiser gel and to use and bin tissues for coughs and sneezes.
Hampshire County Council’s cabinet member for public health, Cllr Judith Grajewski, said concerned residents should turn to the government’s advice website, which covers what people visiting China should do and what action has been taken.
She said: “With two confirmed cases in the UK, it is important that people know how to access up-to-date and accurate information, as well as the latest advice.
“The government webpages are being regularly updated, so Hampshire residents should check there first.”
She added: “As a local authority, we continue to carefully monitor the situation in Wuhan, China, alongside our colleagues in Public Health England and the NHS to ensure we are well prepared should things change.”
Public Health Dorset, which oversees some health services in the county, including Christchurch, said: “All agencies in Dorset and nationally are working together to monitor the situation and make sure plans are in place.”
Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia causing breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
The government website said most people who develop symptoms will get them after leaving the airport, so the priority is providing UK residents and travellers with the latest information to know what to do if they experience symptoms.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our highly trained and experienced clinicians are working round the clock to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the UK. The government has detailed plans for how to deal with an outbreak like this. We can all play our part.”
Yesterday (Sunday) the government said anyone travelling from Wuhan or Hubei Province in China to the UK in the last 14 days should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, and inform NHS 111.
It said a total of 266 UK tests have concluded, of which 264 have been confirmed negative and two positive.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the official risk level to the public from low to moderate, although they said that was for planning purposes and the threat to individuals had not changed.
To find out more go to www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public.