Edinburgh authorities taking right approach to contain coronavirus, medical expert says

A senior Edinburgh lecturer in medical microbiology has said that local health authorities are taking the right approach as they try and contain the coronavirus.

Five people are being tested for the virus in Scotland, but all as a precautionary measure only.

Three of them are being examined at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary hospital. They are believed to have returned from the Chinese city of Wutan, where the coronavirus first broke out, within the last 14 days.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the disease in Scotland and the risk to the Scottish public remains low, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government said in a press release sent to EN4 News.

Dr Clare Taylor of Edinburgh Napier University, whose field of research includes immunology and infections, said that while a vaccine for coronavirus may be at least a year away, the immediate focus is to contain it.

“What we really need to do in the UK is to try and prevent it spreading in the population,” Dr Taylor told EN4 News.

“So the things that the authorities are doing at the moment, they are monitoring travellers who are coming in from the affected regions in China, they’re doing temperature screenings at airports, and anybody showing any signs of symptoms are being asked to seek medical advice, and to be honest that’s all we can do in the short term.”

The Scottish Government have also set up an Incident Management Team and will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

(Credit: EN4 News)

A further nine people have been tested for coronavirus across the rest of the UK.
China has placed travel restrictions on Wutan and its surrounding province, Hubei. The lockdowns come ahead of the Lunar New Year, which will see millions of people travel around the country.

In China, there have been more than 800 confirmed cases of the virus, with 26 confirmed deaths.

“We now know that [coronavirus] can be transmitted from human to human and of course mass travel causes huge problems because the geographical spread can happen quite quickly, hence the reasons that Chinese authorities are shutting down big cities,” Dr Taylor said.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a type of virus which normally affects animals like birds, chickens and pigs. However, the virus has also been known to infect humans, such as the SARS virus, which emerged in China in 2003 and killed almost 800 people.

The current coronavirus (initially called WN Co-V) which emerged from China recently is also believed to have jumped from animals to humans and is now believed to be being transmitted from human to human via coughing or sneezing, much like the common cold.

The coronavirus emerged from the Chinese city of Wutan (Credit: EN4 News)

Despite the early fatalities in China, there is no reason to believe that this virus is as dangerous as SARS, Dr Taylor says.

The World Health Organisation [WHO] has also said that it’s too early to declare a global emergency.

“I think the WHO is probably right just now because it’s early days in this outbreak,” Dr Taylor adds.

“We obviously don’t want mass panic across the world, and we just have to keep our eyes on the situation to see how things develop. So far it’s a relatively small number of people who have been affected but I guess if we start to see more lethal cases occurring in countries outside China then they [WHO] might want to revisit their decision.”

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