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Conference delegates warned over confirmed coronavirus case

Health officials have contacted more than 200 conference attendees in central London after it emerged one delegate has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

The person, who has not been identifies, was attending the UK Bus Summit

Public Health England (PHE) sent a letter to those who were at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster last week.

Two Labour MPs who attended the conference said they felt well but would be cancelling public arrangements until 20 February as a precaution.

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Labour MP for Nottingham South Lilian Greenwood spoke at the summit on 6 February, which was attended by around 250 people from the bus and transport industry.

She said on Twitter: “I’m feeling completely well but to be extra-cautious I’m cancelling my public engagements until 20th February. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

Labour MP for Leeds North West Alex Sobel, who attended the summit, tweeted that he was low risk but had called NHS 111 to be assessed.

He tweeted: “I attended the UK bus summit on the 6th Feb, where there was an attendee who has tested positive for coronavirus.

“Whilst I have been informed that I am at very low risk, I have called 111 to be formally assessed.”

A spokesman for Mr Sobel said he was not unwell and had no symptoms, but had decided to self-isolate at home until next week as a precaution.

The government’s buses minister Baroness Vere and former parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Nusrat Ghani were among the speakers at the conference.

Dr Yimmy Chow, consultant in health protection at PHE, said: “One of our main priorities has been to identify any people who we think have been in close contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19 to provide public health advice, as they may be at slightly increased risk of catching the virus.

“While the degree of contact conference delegates may have had with the case is unlikely to have been significant, we have taken a precautionary approach and informed them of the situation.”

The Transport Times emailed delegates and enclosed a letter from PHE saying they should take no action if they were well but to stay indoors, avoid contact with others and call NHS 111 if they developed symptoms such as a fever or cough.

“While the degree of contact you may have had with the case at the summit is unlikely to have been significant, we are taking a precautionary approach and informing you,” the letter said.

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It comes as United Airlines confirmed it offered assistance at Heathrow Airport on Friday after a passenger fell ill on one flight.

Reports on social media suggested the person involved may have had symptoms of coronavirus.

At least one more plane has been held at Heathrow for checks.

United Airlines said in a statement: “Our team at London Heathrow Airport is providing assistance related to United flight 901 (San Francisco-London Heathrow) today, following reports of an individual becoming unwell onboard.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our highest priority and we continue to work closely with local authorities.”

On Thursday officials from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University said in a statement that a member of the university community was undergoing tests for the deadly virus.

The university remains open and students were advised the man was being isolated as a precaution.

A total of 148 tests have now been carried out in Scotland on people suspected of having coronavirus – an increase of 66 from Tuesday.

The Scottish Government confirmed that all results so far have been negative.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said on Thursday that many more people in the UK may need to self-isolate to contain the illness, which has been officially named Covid-19.

In China, the number of deaths from coronavirus has reached 1,380, with more than 63,000 recorded infections, in figures announced early on Friday morning.

As of Friday, a total of 2,964 people have been tested in the UK, of which 2,955 were confirmed negative and nine positive.

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