A new respiratory illness similar to the Sars virus that spread globally in 2003 and killed hundreds of people has been identified in a man who is being treated in Britain.
The 49-year-old man, who was transferred to a London hospital by air ambulance from Qatar, is the second person confirmed with the coronavirus.
The first case was a patient in Saudi Arabia who has since died.
Officials are still determining what threat the new virus may pose.
The World Health Organization has not recommended any travel restrictions.
Prof John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the UK’s Health Protection Agency, said: “In the light of the severity of the illness that has been identified in the two confirmed cases, immediate steps have been taken to ensure that people who have been in contact with the UK case have not been infected, and there is no evidence to suggest that they have.
“Further information about these cases is being developed for healthcare workers in the UK, as well as advice to help maintain increased vigilance for this virus.”
He said there was no specific evidence of the virus spreading from person to person and he had no advice for the public or returning travellers.
Peter Openshaw, director of the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College London, told Reuters that at this stage the novel virus looked unlikely to prove a concern, and may well only have been identified due to sophisticated testing techniques.
Sure it is. This is punishment for their barbarity. Look for scientist to get more concerned at this in a year or so. Though why we would care is anyone’s guess.