Coronavirus advice issued as person from Queen Margaret University develops 'flu-like symptoms' after returning from Thailand

Coronavirus advice has been issued to staff and students at Queen Margaret University after a member of their community developed flu-like symptoms upon returning from Thailand.

The Evening News has seen an email sent to all students and staff which says the person concerned has been advised to remain at home for two weeks as a "precautionary measure."

The email, addressed to all staff and students, reads: "You will be aware of the coronavirus from media reports, and from previous communications issued by the University, and the requirement that people returning to the UK from mainland China and other specified countries should follow returning travellers’ advice.

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"In line with the travellers’ advice, we have been advised that a member of the QMU community, who has recently returned from travel in Thailand, has developed flu-like symptoms, and has therefore, as a precautionary measure, been advised to remain at home for a period of 14 days. This is the standard advice to all those in this situation.

The email issues coronavirus advice as a "precautionary measure."The email issues coronavirus advice as a "precautionary measure."
The email issues coronavirus advice as a "precautionary measure."

"This is peak season for respiratory and flu-like illness. There will be cases presenting with symptoms of cough, fever and shortness of breath, but these are highly unlikely to be coronavirus.

"We have contacted NHS24 and the dedicated UK government coronavirus helpline to seek advice on this matter. Both have advised that no specific action is required of the University community, but that we should remind all staff and students to continue to exercise good hygiene, and to follow the advice on the NHS website at the following link in the event that they begin to feel unwell"

The email highlights key elements of the NHS advice, to protect yourself and others, include: Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze; Bin the tissue; To kill germs, wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel.

The email ends by stating: "We emphasise that there is no particular need for concern, and that we are following standard NHS advice."

A Queen Margaret University spokesman said: "In line with the standard current advice to travellers returning from specific countries, a member of the QMU community with flu-like symptoms has been advised by the NHS to remain at home for a period of 14 days. The individual had recently returned to the UK from Thailand.

"We emphasise that the individual is following the standard precautionary advice to all those in their situation, and has not been diagnosed with coronavirus.

"We have of course, sought guidance from the NHS and Government. They have told us that no specific action is required of the University community, but we have reminded all staff and students of the NHS advice on coronavirus."

Coronavirus testing doubles

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It comes as the number of people in Scotland tested for coronavirus doubled in 48 hours, according to the latest figures.

Statistics published by the Scottish Government on Tuesday afternoon show 82 people in Scotland have been tested and all returned negative results.

This is up from 41 tests on Sunday and 57 on Monday, and follows labs being set up at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to test patients in Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said while there have been no confirmed cases north of the border so far there is a "high likelihood" a patient will test positive for the disease in future.

Across the UK, there have been eight confirmed cases and a total of 1,350 negative results.

Many of the UK cases are linked to businessman Steve Walsh, who in a statement from hospital said he is "fully recovered" and praised the NHS.

The 53-year-old, from Hove in East Sussex, contracted the virus at a conference in Singapore and is linked to at least five further cases in the UK, including two doctors.

He stopped at a French ski chalet on his way back to the UK, where five Britons were subsequently infected with the virus, and is also linked to a case in Majorca.

The World Health Organisation named the virus Covid-19 on Tuesday afternoon.