The UK’s first case of the deadly coronavirus originated in York, officials have confirmed. Public Health England, who had earlier refused to comment on where the UK outbreak occurred, said the victims were staying at the hotel in the city when they tested positive for the disease.
A statement said: ‘Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the confirmed cases. ‘The two cases were staying in York when they became unwell. Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed cases.
‘This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.’ The patients, who are members of the same family, were staying at the StayCity apart hotel when they fell ill and were taken to a specialist centre in Newcastle.
Suspicions were raised last night when the building was cordoned off and a man was rushed to hospital. It is understood that they travelled to the UK from China recently and are undergoing treatment at the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary.
A StayCity spokesman insisted there was a minimal risk of infection and the apartment concerned would be undergoing a deep-clean by specialists.
The full statement said: ‘As of 4pm today we have now received confirmation that the two guests staying in one of our apartments in York have been tested positive for the Coronavirus.
‘We have been advised by Public Health England that there is minimal on-going risk of infection to either guests or staff and as such our York property remains open for business.
‘In due course the apartment concerned will undergo a thorough environmental clean and disinfection by a specialist contractor. ‘We would like to reassure all our guests that we are following official advice on this matter that the health and safety of everyone working and staying in our properties remain of paramount importance to us.’