Fears of coronavirus in baby in Northern Ireland as mother takes infant to hospital after China trip

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There were fears over the deadly coronavirus in a nine-month-old baby in Northern Ireland tonight after a mother rushed the infant to hospital following a trip to China.

The baby had travelled back from Hong Kong with its parents last week before it began having respiratory problems, Belfast Live reported.

The mother rushed the child to A&E at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry on Thursday after informing medics who were awaiting their arrival.

It comes as the number of confirmed UK cases was raised to three today after a patient, believed to be a man in his 40s and 50s, returned from Singapore.  

Public Health Agency NI said in a statement tonight: ‘The Public Health Agency is continuing to work with partners across the UK including Public Health England and our local Health Trusts on this issue.

‘As part of this, the health service here is monitoring for any potential cases of novel Coronavirus.

‘A helpline has been established for anyone in Northern Ireland who has travelled to China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau in the past 14 days. 

‘We are not providing a running commentary on numbers of suspected cases in Northern Ireland. We will not be commenting on numbers of people being screened, and we cannot comment on any individual cases.’

The third person to test positive for coronavirus in the UK, believed to be the first Briton infected by the deadly contagion, went to A&E at the Royal Sussex in Brighton on Sunday night.

He was rushed to Guy’s Hospital in London on Thursday morning where he will remain quarantined for at least two weeks in a specialist infectious diseases unit. 

It comes almost a week after two Chinese nationals, a University of York student and his mother, were confirmed to have the lethal virus and they have been quarantined at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 630 lives and infected more than 28,000 people in 28 countries and territories around the world – but 99 per cent of infections have been in China.

The latest case raises fears the virus is now circulating in higher numbers than previously thought outside of the mainland. NHS bosses are expected to warn GPs to be on red alert for patients with symptoms from other Asian nations later today. 

Downing Street issued updated travel advice tonight warning Britons flying back from nine countries to phone NHS 111 if they feel even slightly unwell.

Passengers who have arrived from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau, should call the NHS 111 service.

It comes amid mounting pressure on ministers to ban all travellers from coronavirus-hit China after 16 countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia took the firm action.

The Government’s new advice added that the nine countries had been ‘identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases.’

Downing Street has been slammed for its ‘passive’ response to the outbreak, with officials torn apart for being days behind other nations in launching a mission to evacuate British expats stuck in the epicentre of Wuhan. 

Meanwhile thousands of travellers from the disease-stricken country have been pouring into Britain every day without being properly tested for the infection, prompting calls for a similar blanket ban. 

It comes as more than 28,000 people have been infected worldwide and the death toll has climbed to 630. The overwhelming majority are in China, but more than 200 people with the illness have been reported in over two dozen other countries.

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