Identification of new coronavirus in UK


The Department of Health and the HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre have been informed by UK, EU and WHO authorities of the identification of a new type of coronavirus. This virus has been isolated from a severely ill resident of Qatar who had been air evacuated for treatment to a London intensive care unit. A similar virus had been detected in a fatal case of severe respiratory illness in Saudi Arabia. While both cases had been in Saudi Arabia, there are no reports of any linkage between the  two cases. There have been no reports of any person to person transmission of illness to close contacts or to Health Care workers, although investigations are still underway.

While SARS was also caused by a coronavirus, this is not SARS. Coronaviruses can cause a wide spectrum of illness, ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory illnesses such as SARS.  

The HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre has alerted hospitals and Directors of Public Health to this development. At present there are no restrictions on travel to any areas in the Middle East. As further information becomes available from the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and WHO, the requirement for any further advice will be reviewed.