LONDON: The UK government on Friday confirmed the first two cases of the deadly coronavirus in the country and said the patients were members of the same family who were receiving specialist care.
The UK's Department for Health stressed that the National Health Service (NHS) is "well-prepared" to deal with the virus, which originated in Wuhan in China and has claimed 213 lives there.
"We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus," said Chris Whitty, the UK's Chief Medical Officer.
"The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread," he said.
The CMO said that his team has been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and that there are "robust" infection control measures in place to respond immediately.
"We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities," he added.
The WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency as at least 213 people in China have died from the virus, mostly in Hubei, with almost 10,000 cases across the country.
There have been 98 cases of the virus in 18 countries, including in India.