UK starts random coronavirus testing in effort to prevent spread

UK starts random coronavirus testing in effort to prevent spread
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The United Kingdom has implemented random coronavirus testing for flu patients in order to develop an early warning system in case of a wider outbreak.

“We’re heightening our vigilance because of the apparent spread of the virus in countries outside mainland China,” Public Health England’s medical Director Paul Cosford told BBC radio on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The nation has seen 13 cases of the virus thus far as cases have spread through the European continent following an outbreak in northern Italy. Cases have been reported in Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia and France.

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The randomized testing will take place at 11 hospitals and 100 general medical offices for patients with symptoms including a cough, shortness of breath and fevers, the news service reported.

“This testing will tell us whether there’s evidence of infection more widespread than we think there is. We don’t think there is at the moment,” Cosford said. “The other thing it will do is, if we do get to the position of more widespread infection across the country, then it will give us early warning that that’s happening,”

British Health Minister Matt Hancock, meanwhile, has told Parliament the government hopes to introduce home testing, anticipating more British cases in the short term.

“We are taking all necessary measures to minimize the risk to the public,” he said. “The public can be assured that we have a clear plan to contain, delay, research and mitigate this virus.”