York is safe to visit, says council leader after two confirmed coronavirus patients were staying in the city

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The leader of York Council says the city is “safe to visit” – after the first two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK were revealed to originate in York.

Following the news that the first people to be diagnosed with coronavirus in the country were staying at a hotel in York, Cllr Keith Aspden has sought to reassure residents and visitors.

The two affected patients of coronavirus were staying in this hotel in York. Credit: PA

The two affected patients of coronavirus were staying in this hotel in York. Credit: PA

He said: “First and foremost, I would like to update residents and visitors that the council has received guidance from specialist services and we are working with our partners to ensure that York remains a safe place for everyone to live, work and visit.

“The council has been in close contact with Public Health England, the Department for Health and Social Care and local NHS partners.

“We are confident that all the relevant services in the city are well-equipped and ready to respond if appropriate.”

The patients were staying at the Staycity Aparthotel on Paragon Street in the city centre.

The Foreign Office is withdrawing staff from China just hours after flying dozens of UK nationals home from coronavirus-hit Wuhan.

READ MORE: Two confirmed coronavirus cases were staying in York hotel - Public Health England statement in full
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Essential staff will remain to continue "critical work" but the FCO has warned that its ability to provide help to Britons in the country may be "limited".

The rescued UK nationals were taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral in a convoy of six coaches, arriving shortly after 7.15pm on Friday.

They will spend the next 14 days in quarantine.

The evacuation flight from the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak carried 83 Britons and 27 non-UK nationals and landed at the Brize Norton RAF base in Oxfordshire at around 1.30pm on Friday.

Their arrival comes as health officials urgently try to trace those who came into contact with two people diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK.

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at PHE, said: "Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the confirmed cases.

"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."

Prof Peacock previously said that, while staff were working to trace people who have been in contact with the pair, they do not currently have "any idea" of how high that number might be.

The PHE definition of close contact is being within two metres of the infected person for 15 minutes.