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Outbreak of Pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei, China (Update 3)

26 Jan 2020

The ongoing outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China has been linked to a newly-discovered coronavirus.

As of 25 January 2020, 1,317 cases and 41 fatalities have been officially reported by the Chinese National Health Commission from mainland China. Most but not all cases had been or are in Hubei Province (including Wuhan city).

According to the Chinese National Health Commission, cases are now reported across 29 provinces in China, but a province-level breakdown of case numbers has not been provided by the Chinese National Health Commission for 25 January 2020. The 4th World Health Organization Situation Report (data as of 24 January 2020) states that of all the confirmed cases reported from mainland China, and where a province has been specified, 84% were from Hubei province (including Wuhan City).

In addition, as of 25 January 2020 (09:15) a small number of cases have been diagnosed, mostly in travellers from Wuhan, in Australia (1 case), France (3 cases), Hong Kong (5 cases), Japan (2 cases), Macau (2 cases), Republic of Korea (2 cases), Singapore (3 cases), Taiwan (3 cases), Thailand (5 cases), the United States of America (2 cases), and Vietnam (2 cases).

This is a new and rapidly evolving situation where information on cases and the virus is being gathered and assessed daily.

Further information on the coronavirus can be found here.

Advice to Travellers

Risk to the UK population travelling to Wuhan, is considered to be moderate.

The Foreign and commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advise against all travel to Hubei Province. However, FCO travel advisories are subject to change.

Prior to Departure

  • Check travel advisories (restrictions) for the latest advice - Foreign and Commonweath Office
  • Be prepared- Before you travel seek advice from your healthcare practitioner to ensure that any necessary vaccinations and antimalarial tablets (if required) can be arranged. Do this well in advance if possible (at least 4 weeks) as courses of vaccines may take time. There is no vaccine available at present to protect against a novel coronavirus. This is also a good opportunity to discuss other travel health issues.
  • Always ensure you have heath insurance cover - Travel insurance is essential and must cover medical evacuation and repatriation in the event that you become unwell and have to be transported home.
  • Consider taking a first aid kit - this should include a small, basic first aid kit, including some means of checking body temperature, either a thermometer or strips to place on the forehead and alcohol-based rub for hand hygiene.

During Travel

  • Hand washing. Frequent and careful hand washing is one of the most important ways of preventing the spread of infection. If soap, clean water and towels are not available, alcohol hand rub can be used. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean.
  • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and their personal items.
  • Avoid contact with animals, poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, quail) or wild birds, and the places where they are present, for example, bird/animal markets, commercial or backyard farms. Also avoid contact with sick or dead animals or birds.
  • Do not eat uncooked or undercooked poultry or meat. All meat and poultry, including eggs must be thoroughly cooked.
  • If you become unwell with a fever, cough or difficulty with breathing, promptly seek out medical attention. The British Embassy can assist with contacting medical aid and relatives. Postpone any further travel until you are well again.
  • Do not attempt to bring live animals, poultry or poultry products back into the country.

On Returning Home

  • Pay attention to your health on return, particularly over the first 14 days.
  • If you develop symptoms such as those mentioned above or any other 'Flu like' or respiratory illness during this period, seek immediate medical attention. Contact one of the following:
    • Your General Practitioner
    • NHS 111 (England): NHS111
    • NHS 24 (Scotland): Call 111
  • Before you visit a health-care setting (for example your health centre or a hospital), phone ahead, describe your symptoms and provide details of your recent travel history.
    • Follow the advice that you are given.
  • Do not travel while you are unwell and limit your contact with others as much as possible to prevent the spread of any infectious illness until you can be seen by a Doctor.
  • Follow good hygiene practices: cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.