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First coronavirus case confirmed in Scotland

The patient is a resident of the Tayside area and has recently travelled from Italy, the Scottish Government said.

A Tayside resident who recently travelled from Italy has become the first person in Scotland to be diagnosed with coronavirus, the Scottish Government has said.

The person, who has not been named, has been admitted to hospital and is currently receiving treatment in isolation.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our first thoughts must be with the patient diagnosed with coronavirus, I wish them a speedy recovery.”

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “Firstly our thoughts are with the person who has been diagnosed, and with their family.

“I would like to thank all the health professionals who continue to be involved in their care and treatment.”

The statement said clinicians had begun tracing the person’s contacts and gathering details of the places they have visited and the people they have been in contact with since returning to the UK.

Close contact involved face to face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an infected person, rather than simply passing in a street or a shop, the statement said.

Ms Sturgeon added: “Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but there is currently no treatment or vaccine. Early detection measures will continue to be vital in helping to prevent the spread of the virus.

“People have a vital role to play in helping us contain any outbreak by following the latest health and travel advice, and following basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching their face and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

Ms Sturgeon chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee (SGoRR) on Sunday evening and is expected to take part in the UK Government’s Cobra meeting chaired by Boris Johnson on Monday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Danny Lawson/PA)

There have been a total of 698 negative tests in Scotland since the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but further cases are expected, the Scottish Government said.

Health officials are to begin testing some people with flu-like symptoms for the virus even if they have not visited affected areas.

Dr Calderwood said: “Hospitals and GP surgeries will now conduct tests on some patients with coughs, fevers or shortness of breath – regardless of whether they have travelled to a place where the virus is known to be spreading.

“Not everyone with flu will be tested, but this is a sensible step to take as a precautionary measure to give us an early warning of community transmission.

“People have a vital role to play in helping us contain any outbreak by following the latest health and travel advice and following basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching their face and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

The stepping up of the testing regime has been described as a precautionary measure, but it is thought it could help detection after an outbreak in Scotland.

Using existing NHS monitoring measures, a network of 41 GP practices will start sending samples for testing from patients who report symptoms such as coughs, fevers or shortness of breath.

In addition, pneumonia patients in critical care units will also be tested for the virus.

The Scottish Government has implemented a range of measures including training Scottish Ambulance Service staff to support the transport of patients who may be infectious, and has delivered face masks to GP practices as a precautionary measure.

PA