The UK is to monitor flights arriving from Wuhan in China to Heathrow as part of a series of precautionary measures after cases of viral pneumonia were confirmed in cities across the country.
Aircraft will land in an isolated area of Heathrow Terminal 4 and a health team will be on standby to check for symptoms. Three flights a week operate on the route.
Public Health England has changed the current risk to the UK to “low” from “very low”.
Chinese authorities have advised people to stop travel into and out of Wuhan where the virus originated.
A spokesperson from Heathrow said: “The welfare of our passengers and colleagues is always our main priority and we are working with the government to support the implementation of enhanced monitoring measures as a precaution.
“We would like to reassure passengers that the Government assesses the risk of a traveller contracting Coronavirus to be low. We would encourage anyone with individual questions or concerns to refer to guidance from Public Health England and the Foreign Office.”
At least 440 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, including some in South Korea, Thailand and Japan, but its has been suggested the number of cases could be as high as 4,000.
On Tuesday the FCO updated its travel advice for China, stating: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus. The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province but cases have been confirmed in other parts of China.
The FCO has also updated its travel advice for Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan, recommending travellers to comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities.
Links Travel & Tours said it was “keeping a close eye on the coronavirus outbreak” but had no clients due to Wuhan.
“The health and safety of our clients is our top priority,” the company said. “For now, we are monitoring the situation closely and will wait and see what the UK government and World Health Organisation advice for travellers is, and act accordingly.”
The Links Travel & Tours owner, Helen Li, added: “We are keen to reassure our travel agent partners that we are constantly monitoring the situation in China and the other countries in Asia that have been affected.
“We don’t have anyone booked to travel to, or through, Wuhan province, and can report that all travellers are safe and well. We will act on the advice of the UK Government, but for the moment all travellers should continue with their planned holidays to China.”
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