News

Coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed in Scotland

Published: 01 Mar 2020 19:26

First positive case in Scotland.

A patient has been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland.

Following a positive test result for the virus, they are being admitted to hospital and are currently receiving treatment in isolation.

The patient is a resident of the Tayside area and has recently travelled from northern Italy. Clinicians have already begun contact tracing, the process of gathering details of the places they have visited and the people they have been in contact with since returning to the UK.  

It is important to note that this does not involve people the patient may have passed on the street or in a shop as the risk in these situations is very low. Close contact involves either face to face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an infected person.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee (SGoRR) this evening and will be taking part in the UK Government’s resilience (COBR) meeting chaired by the Prime Minister tomorrow morning to ensure all necessary steps are being taken to prepare for further expected cases in Scotland. SGoRR will meet again later tomorrow.

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.

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.” 

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.”

Background

The positive sample has been sent to Public Health England’s Colindale laboratory in London for a confirmatory test. Scottish Laboratories will send all positive samples to Public Health England’s WHO designated Colindale laboratory for confirmatory testing.

Advice for travellers who have visited affected areas is available at NHS Inform.  

More advice on travel can be found on Fit for Travel and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

NHS Inform Q&A

Up to date information on the situation in Scotland is being published by Scottish Government.

Under the terms of International Health Regulations, high consequence infectious diseases like coronavirus (COVID-19) are reportable to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A coronavirus is a type of virus. Typical symptoms include fever, a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune symptoms, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China. This is a rapidly evolving situation which is being monitored carefully.

Specific guidance on handling the coronavirus has been shared with NHS staff.

For patient confidentiality reasons we cannot give out information that would identify any patients.