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expert reaction to CMO confirming four more cases of the novel coronavirus in the UK

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, Prof Chris Whitty, has confirmed a total of 8 cases of the coronavirus in the UK. 


Dr Andrew Freedman, Reader in Infectious Diseases and Hon. Consultant Physician, Cardiff University, said:

“These four new cases are all contacts of the previously confirmed patient who contracted the infection while at a conference in Singapore.  Along with several others already identified, they became infected while in France. This is not particularly surprising, but it does appear that the index case has passed on the infection to an unusually large number of contacts.  As such, he could be termed a ‘super-spreader’.  

“This may occur as result of someone being infectious despite having few or no symptoms, meaning they are unaware they have the infection.  It can also result from someone coming into close contact with an unusually large number of people or someone carrying a larger than normal quantity of the virus.

“However, of the eight cases identified so far in the UK, six are part of the French cluster and the other two are related to each other.  There is no evidence of wider transmission in the UK and it does appear that the precautions that have been put in place have been very effective so far.”


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