Coronavirus: Recently returned travellers told to ‘self-isolate’

People who have returned to the UK from coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China should "self-isolate" even if they have no symptoms, the Health Secretary has said.

In a significant ramping up of the precautions in the UK around the virus, Matt Hancock said officials could not be 100% certain that the virus is not spread by people who are not displaying symptoms.

The move means around 1,500 people who have returned from Wuhan since January 10 should isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of leaving China for the UK.

Ministers have said they are working to get Britons out of coronavirus-hit Hubei province in China, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the Government is doing "everything we can".

Officials estimate that up to 200 UK citizens currently there will want to return to the UK.

If these Britons are flown home by the Foreign Office, health officials will also tell them to "self-isolate" for 14 days.

Mr Hancock told MPs in the Commons: "Coronaviruses do not usually spread if people don't have symptoms – but we cannot be 100% certain.

"From today, we are therefore asking anyone in the UK who has returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days to self-isolate.

"Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people – and to contact NHS 111.

"If you are in Northern Ireland, you should phone your GP.

"If you develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel to the area, and are now in the UK, call your GP or ring 111 informing them of your symptoms and your recent travel to the city.

"Do not leave your home until you have been given advice by a clinician."