Updated: FCO issues travel advice after coronavirus cases in China

The FCO has issued travel advice for China after cases of viral pneumonia were confirmed in multiple cities across the country.

The spread of the new coronavirus has seen at least 440 people infected, including some in South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

Chinese state media has reported that nine people have died from the virus, which causes a type of pneumonia.

The spread of the virus comes ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when millions of people travel within and outside China.

Public Health England is reported to be reviewing the level of threat, raising the prospect of UK airport screening of travellers from China.

The FCO said: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus. The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province but cases have been confirmed in other parts of China.

“Public Health England has offered advice to travellers, and additional health screening measures may be in place. For more information and advice, visit the TravelHealthPro website.”

Flights arriving from Wuhan to Heathrow are expected to be monitored as part of a series of precautionary measures due to be announced today. Three flights a week operate on the route.

Aircraft will land in an isolated area of Heathrow Terminal 4 that “better lends itself to any health contingencies,” thr BBc reported.

The FCO said more than 595,000 British nationals visited mainland China in 2017.

Symptoms of the virus include fever and respiratory difficulties.

The World Health Organisation is to consider declaring an international public health emergency over the virus – as it did with swine flu and Ebola.

Screening measures have been increased at transport hubs in China and in affected regional countries.

The disease originated in the central city of Wuhan with a population of 11 million people, with the outbreak understood to be linked to a seafood market that also sells live animals.

Authorities in China have advised people to stop travel into and out of Wuhan.

Wuhan health officials announced on Monday that 136 additional patients were diagnosed with the virus from the weekend.

The new cases are in addition to 62 previously known cases.

Authorities in many areas, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, have stepped up screening of air passengers from Wuhan.

US authorities last week announced similar measures at airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

Health authorities in the Chinese capital of Beijing confirmed two cases of the virus in the city.

The health commission in the southern province Guangdong said that one case has been confirmed in Shenzhen city.

President Xi Jinping has urged that the virus be contained.

Premier Li Keqiang announced the creation of a national leading group to coordinate response efforts nationwide.

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