Two more coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the UK, which means that 15 people in the country in total have tested positive for the virus.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: ‘Two further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of UK cases to 15.
‘The virus was passed on in Italy and Tenerife and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital, London.’
With the number of confirmed cases growing, here’s what we know about how prepared the UK is for a potential outbreak of the virus, and what experts have said on how worried we should be.
Is the UK prepared for coronavirus?
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk of coronavirus to the public from up to moderate, however they stress that this is to ‘plan for all eventualities’ and that ‘the risk to individuals remains low.’
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, London Mayor Sadiq Khan previously promised to be ‘honest’ with people in the city about the scale of the problem should the outbreak worsen.
He added that he is getting daily updates from Public Health England about developments with coronavirus and that plans are ‘in place’ for a serious outbreak in the capital.
Dr Robin Thompson of Oxford University has said: ‘It should also be noted that of the 1,750 tests carried out so far in the UK, over 99% of those tested have been negative for the coronavirus.
‘Thus, risks to Londoners and UK residents remain low, though people should continue to keep an eye on guidance for the general public.’
Over in the US, it was reported last week that an engineering company in Texas claimed they’d created a vaccine for coronavirus.
While Greffex told the Houston Business Journal it is ready for animal testing and review by US regulators, most experts agree that testing and producing a vaccine can usually take between 18 months and two years.
Meanwhile, President Trump has downplayed the coronavirus threat and insisted that the country is ‘very, very ready’ to handle an outbreak.
He announced his Vice President, Mike Pence, would oversee the country’s response to the virus also known as Covid-19, which he said would not necessarily become a pandemic.
The President said at a White House press conference: ‘This will end. You don’t want to see panic because there’s no reason to be panicked’, and distanced himself from the warnings of public health officials that the virus would almost certainly spread in the US.
He said: ‘I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think it has a chance it could get worse. There’s a chance you can get fairly substantially worse. But nothing’s inevitable.’