Coronavirus patient ‘at London event with 250 others’ sparking spreading fears

A UK coronavirus patient attended a major conference in London with 250 others sparking fears of a mass spreading of the deadly disease in the capital, it has been reported.

The Chinese woman, who is Britain’s ninth coronavirus case and London’s first, was said to have visited the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster on February 6.

The virus-carrier was just one of 250 delegates which even included MPs and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Buses Minister, Baroness Vere of Norrbiton.

Three days later on Sunday night the patient was arrived at Lewisham Hospital in south London in the back of an Uber cab, in a major breach of public health advice.

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Transport Times, who organised the conference, have since reportedly been forced to fire out emails to attendees warning them that a visitor was one of nine in the UK to contract the virus.

The email included a letter from Public Health England (PHE) that told the delegates to self-isolate, avoid contact with others and call the NHS helpline if they developed symptoms, according to FT.

It said: “While the degree of contact you may have had with the case at the summit is unlikely to have been significant, we are taking a precautionary approach and informing you.”

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Two hospital workers who came into contact with the Chinese woman have since been placed in isolation at home.

Uber also says it has temporarily suspended the account of the driver "out of an abundance of caution".

The Chinese patient was the first case in London and so doctors are worried that the disease's emergence in the capital will lead to it spreading quickly.

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Dr Robin Thompson, an expert in mathematical epidemiology at Oxford University, said: “In general, if an initial case is in a densely populated area, then the risk of sustained person-to-person transmission following is higher. This is exacerbated by the fact that London is a transport hub, and the Underground could provide a network to spread the virus quickly.”

Yesterday morning paramedics in hazmat suits was spotted at a flat in Paddington, central London, after a patient reported symptoms of Covid-19.

And two GP surgeries in north London and Surrey were closed in recent days after patients with suspicious symptoms turned up unannounced.

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More than 2,500 people in Britain have been tested for the deadly virus since last month.

In mainland China, where the outbreak started, the total death toll has risen to 1,380. There have been three other deaths in Japan, the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China now stands at 63,851.

  • NHS
  • China
  • London
  • Coronavirus

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