Scotland has confirmed its first case of coronavirus after a patient recently returned to the UK from Italy.
The announcement means the disease has now been confirmed in every single country in the UK.
The Scottish Government said the patient was a resident of the Tayside area who had recently travelled from Italy, and was currently being treated for the Covid-19 virus in isolation at a hospital.
Medical staff are now working to trace the people who had been in ‘close contact’ with the patient - either face to face contact or a period of 15 minutes or more in close proximity - since their returning to the uk, to try and isolate any other cases.
Containing the outbreak
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our first thoughts must be with the patient diagnosed with coronavirus, I wish them a speedy recovery.
“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 and was to join the UK Government’s resilience meeting chaired by the Prime Minister on Monday morning “to ensure all necessary steps are being taken to prepare for further expected cases in Scotland”.
There have been a total of 698 negative test results in Scotland since the start of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
According to Scottish and UK protocol all patients presenting with a history and symptoms which may be suggestive of coronavirus will be isolated and appropriate infection prevention and control measures put in place.
‘Scotland is well equipped’
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.
“Scotland is well equipped to deal with infections of this kind. We have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues, and have been preparing for this possibility since the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan.
“This is peak season for respiratory and flu-like illness. There will be people presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory illness but these cases are highly unlikely to be coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We practice and prepare our response to disease outbreaks and follow tried and tested procedures, following the highest safety standards possible for the protection of NHS staff, patients and the public.”