United Kingdom

Coronavirus fears shuts two UK police stations

Two police stations in Bristol were shut down last night amid fears that a Chinese detainee was carrying the deadly Coronavirus which has killed 25 people.

Stations in Patchway and Trinity Road were placed under quarantine on the guidance of the NHS after the detainee was said to display 'flu-like' symptoms.

Officers had concerns the detainee may have had contact with people who had travelled from the Chinese Wuhan area - where the coronavirus first originated.

An investigation by Public Health England revealed the man had not contracted the deadly disease and both stations were declared safe by midnight.

One member of the public was forced to stay at the Trinity Road station during the quarantine but was cheered up by officers who bought them a takeaway pizza.

Stations in Patchway and Trinity Road, Bristol (pictured) were placed under quarantine on the guidance of the NHS after the detainee was said to display 'flu-like' symptoms

The man, who was due to give a witness statement, said: 'After I gave the statement and I went to the toilet. When I came out I was told "we have some bad news".

'They told me to stay after a Chinese national had been arrested at Patchway and the officers had come to Trinity. The stations were under quarantine.'

He added: 'I was well looked after; the officers even managed to get a Dominos ordered.'

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: 'Staff at the custody unit at Patchway Police Centre became aware of a detainee displaying flu-like symptoms.

'There were initial concerns that the detainee, a Chinese national, may have had contact with people who had recently travelled from the Wuhan area of China.

'Following precautionary advice from the NHS and health practitioners, Patchway Police Centre was temporarily closed along with Trinity Road Police Station in Bristol, where officers involved in the arrest had travelled to.

'As well as the officers and members of police staff, there was one member of the public at Trinity Road Police Station, who was asked to remain in the building as a precaution while we sought further advice.

'Following expert advice from Public Health England, it was established this was not a case of the much-publicised novel coronavirus and both stations were fully re-opened at just after midnight.

'The detainee has been given the appropriate medical attention and remains in custody at this time.'

He added: 'We'd like to assure our communities there is no risk to the public.' 

Risk of the virus in the UK has recently been upgraded from 'very low' to 'low' by Public Health England.

The unknown virus causes cold-like symptoms including a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and a fever. So far, in Wuhan, the virus has killed 17 people. 

What do we know about the deadly coronavirus outbreak so far?

A total of 532 people are confirmed to have caught the unnamed coronavirus, which has never been seen before. Seventeen patients have died.

Most of the cases have occurred in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province home to 11million people. But patients have been diagnosed across China, including in Beijing and Shanghai.

The coronavirus, which is from the same family as SARS, has also spread to South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan.

Chinese officials yesterday confirmed the virus has spread between humans, suggesting it can be passed through coughs and sneezes.

The outbreak is believed to have started late last month among people connected to a seafood market in Wuhan, which has since been shut.

China is entering its busiest travel period due to the Lunar New Year, which sees many people travelling back to their home town or village.

Virologists fear the increased travel that will happen over the holidays will cause a surge in cases.