Here's how likely it is that the coronavirus will come to Scotland - and what you can do to avoid it

Monday, 10th February 2020, 2:50 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 2:56 pm

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK are so far up to eight, but so far, Scotland has avoided it.

The Scottish Government confirmed they are establishing new testing facilities for possible cases of novel coronavirus as another person in the UK tested positive.

So just how likely is it that the virus could move north of the border Scotland?

How likely is it that the virus comes to Scotland?

“Although all Scottish tests have so far been negative, we are prepared for the high likelihood that we will also see a positive case in Scotland,” said Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, who welcomed the introduction of testing facilities north of the border.

“Ever since the beginning of this global outbreak we have been working hard to develop a testing facility within Scotland.

"I am pleased that we will now have two Scottish facilities, greatly reducing the time it takes to confirm negative results.”

Dr Calderwood told Good Morning Scotland that it was "just a matter of time" before a positive case of coronavirus was confirmed in Scotland.

"We are asking people who have returned from those areas of south-east Asia to be aware of symptoms - shortness of breath or a cough or a fever," she added. "And, if they have symptoms, to self-isolate and ring either a GP or NHS 24 and we will give instructions on what to do."

These areas include mainland China, Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Macao.

What measures are in place?

(Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

“Our NHS is well equipped to deal with infections of this kind,” said Dr Calderwood. “We have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues, and have been preparing for this possibility since the beginning of the outbreak.”

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs MSP said: “Given the likelihood of a positive test in Scotland for the Coronavirus, it’s only right that these facilities are set up.

“Many Scots will undoubtedly be concerned about the spread of the virus, so it’s important that the Scottish Government does all it can to combat it.

“Being able to process tests quickly and efficiently is a huge part of this, and setting up these two laboratories will undoubtedly help.”

From Monday 10 February two laboratories – one in Edinburgh and the other in Glasgow – will begin to process all coronavirus tests from Scotland.

Previously all samples have been sent to London for testing, but the new Scottish facilities will mean test results can be returned quicker.

The plan is for existing NHS laboratories based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh are being equipped with the technology to test for novel coronavirus.

Should a test result come back positive, the sample will be sent to Public Health England’s Colindale laboratory in London for a confirmatory test.

Should I be worried?

(Photo: Getty Images)

If the coronavirus does make its way to Scotland, the chances of you being infected – let along dying from the virus – are very low indeed.

Comparing infection rates In China, where the virus remains most widespread, there have been 40,171 confirmed cases among a population of close to 1.5 billion people.

That means just 0.003 per cent of the Chinese population are currently confirmed to have been infected with coronavirus.

Then there's the fatality rate. If you do catch coronavirus, just how likely are you to succumb to its effects?

At the time of writing, of the 40,625 confirmed cases across the world, 910 people have died.

That’s a percentage of just 2.2 per cent, which means you have a one in 50 chance of dying from the coronavirus.

How can I help?

“There are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading,” says the NHS’ website.

“Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.

“Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

“Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

“Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

“If you have arrived back from China or specified areas in the last 14 days, follow the advice on this page for returning travellers.”

This article first appeared on The Scotsman