The World Health Organisation (WHO) are set to declare an international public health emergency over coronavirus on Wednesday.
The estimated number of people infected with coronavirus in China’s Wuhan district is around 4,000 with a range between 1,000 and 9,700, Professor Neil Ferguson, director of the Medical Research Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis said.
Professor Ferguson was asked is it possible the virus has already reached the UK.
He replied, “We can’t rule out that possibility.
“Border screening, and in this case, in the UK, alerting the health system is not 100% foolproof, there could be a mild case.
“The UK is not a major destination of visitors travelling out of Wuhan around the world though.
“So, I would say it was unlikely, but can’t be completely sure.”
He added, “trying to identify people who are sick coming off a plane will only identify, if you’re lucky, people who will have fever coming off a plane.
“If somebody was infected two days before they travelled, they will arrive without any symptoms at all.
“That’s why it’s essential that actually the entire… health system is alert to the possibility of imported cases.”