Coronavirus: Fears deadly illness may have reached UK after paramedics in hazmat suits seen treating hotel guest

Man reported to be Chinese rushed to hospital while staying in York

Coronavirus cases: The spread outside China

Coronavirus fears have been sparked in York after a hotel guest reported to be Chinese was rushed to hospital by paramedics said to be wearing hazmat suits and face masks.

The visitor was staying at the tourist hotspot’s Staycity apart-hotel complex when witnesses saw him being treated by medics in protective gear on Wednesday night.

His room has since been sealed off and marked for a deep environmental clean, the hotel has said.

The man’s condition and diagnosis remained unclear early Thursday afternoon with both Public Health England and York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust refusing to provide information.

But the sight of paramedics taking such precautionary measures in a UK city centre has sparked concerns that the deadly coronavirus – which originated in China – may have reached the UK for the first time.

In a statement, the Staycity hotel group said it had been in close consultation with PHE.

Keith Freeman, chief executive, said: “We have been advised that the risk is absolutely minimal and that nothing has been confirmed thus far.

“The health and safety of our guests and staff are paramount and as such the apartment containing the group’s belongings has been sealed off, after which it will undergo a thorough environmental clean and disinfection, as is company policy.”

Staff initially believed he was Chinese because he appeared to speak the language with fellow guests, a spokesperson said – although his nationality has not yet been confirmed

Coronavirus originated in the city of Wuhan and has now spread across the country, with more than 7,700 confirmed cases and some 170 deaths.

In the last week it has also been reported in 15 other countries including France and Germany.

There have been no confirmed cases in the UK so far but 130 people have been tested for coronavirus, most of them travellers who had recently returned from Wuhan.

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