An eight-month-old baby is the youngest child in the UK suspected to have the coronavirus as doctors warn the London Underground may be a ‘hotbed’ for the spread of the deadly disease.
The baby boy is said to have “all the symptoms” of the deadly infection and the infant’s father believes his four-year-old daughter has also been exposed.
The unnamed child was treated by a GP, who tested positive for coronavirus, and is now in quarantine with his mother.
"We're in hell, completely petrified. My ex-partner keeps breaking down in tears,” the father told UK’s The Telegraph.
“We’re staying in the house and giving the kids Calpol and paracetamol, but nothing's working.
“My little boy has haemophilia and a lung condition, so he’s already poorly."
The suspected case comes as a ninth person in the UK – and the first person in the capital – tested positive for the deadly infection on Wednesday.
There are now concerns the capital’s transport hub could exacerbate the spread of the virus, however doctors have said the risk of infection for residents in the capital remains low.
“In general, if an initial case is in a densely populated area, then the risk of sustained person-to-person transmission following is higher,” Dr Robin Thompson, from Oxford University, said.
“This is exacerbated by the fact that London is a transport hub, and the underground could provide a network to spread the virus quickly.
"As a result, given this case was in London, it might be expected that there is an increased risk posed by this case compared to the others we have seen.”
Dr Michael Head, from the University of Southampton, added: "It should also be noted that of the 1750 tests carried out so far in the UK, over 99 per cent of those tested have been negative for the coronavirus.
"Thus, risks to Londoners and UK residents remain low, though people should continue to keep an eye on guidance for the general public.”
While the patient has now been quarantined, Dr Thompson says the risk of the virus spreading depends on their interactions prior to being placed in isolation.
"The key factor here is the number of contacts that this infected individual has had prior to being isolated," he said.
"If this is low, then the risk of sustained human-to-human transmission is also low.”
As Public Health England investigates the patient's movements, Dr Nathalie MacDermott, from the National Institute for Health Research, said London commuters should continue to go about their business as usual.
"Provided the individual followed the government's advice (to self-isolate) there should be little concern of transmission to the general public in London," she said.
Quarantined Brits to be freed
The latest case of coronavirus in the UK comes as dozens of Britons who were rescued from the Chinese city of Wuhan are to be freed after two weeks in quarantine.
Eighty-three people will leave Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside on Thursday, 14 days after they arrived on an evacuation flight.
All of the group – who had signed a contract agreeing to the quarantine period – have tested negative for the virus.
Kharn Lambert, one of the quarantined patients in Merseyside, said ahead of the release: “I'm ecstatic and I'm so happy that everyone has come back with negative test results.”
Tests for coronavirus on two prisoners at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire have also reportedly come back negative.
The number of new coronavirus cases in Wuhan, China may peak by the end of the month, researchers say.
The outbreak of COVID-19 could reach its peak between mid and late February, according to preliminary estimates from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
There have been more than 44,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 1000 deaths – the vast majority in China where it started.
The researchers used a model to estimate the average number of people who were likely to have caught the disease from one infected person over time.
– Yahoo UK
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