Coronavirus: Preparations stepped up for outbreak in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon chairs Scottish Government resilience meeting following outbreaks in Europe.

This man and woman were taking precautions in Edinburgh. Getty Images
This man and woman were taking precautions in Edinburgh.

Preparations are being stepped up in Scotland for an “expected” Coronavirus outbreak.

Guidance has been issued to travellers, while the First Minister has chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee.

Scotland’s chief medical officer has also warned people could be banned from gathering in large numbers to contain the spread of the virus, known as Covid-19, if it hits Scotland.

The First Minister led a meeting following outbreaks in northern Italy and elsewhere in Europe, including a hotel in Tenerife popular with Scots holidaymakers.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman was among those in attendance and said those present are “expecting an outbreak and are working hard to ensure we have plans in place to contain it as best we can”.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 412 people had been tested for the virus in Scotland, and all returned negative results. Specialist testing labs have been set up in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Across the UK, 13 people have been confirmed to have the virus from 6795 patients tested.

Freeman said: “We are expecting an outbreak and are working hard to ensure we have plans in place to contain it as best we can.

“Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but there is currently no treatment or vaccine.

“Therefore, preventing the spread of any outbreak will be vital, and the Scottish Government is working closely with NHS Scotland and Health Protection Scotland to ensure this.”

Meanwhile travellers who have returned to Scotland from coronavirus hotspots within the last week are being told to isolate themselves for up to 14 days.

New guidance affects people who have arrived back from Iran, parts of northern Italy and South Korea, and Hubei province in China since February 19.

It comes after a hotel in Tenerife popular with Scots holidaymakers was locked down after a visiting Italian doctor tested positive for the disease.

Health regulations in Scotland have been updated, requiring doctors to inform health boards about any cases of the disease.

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