Public Health Wales statement on Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China

This news story will be updated with our latest statement daily at 3pm

Updated: Friday, 21 February 2020 - No changes

Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:

“We are working closely with the other UK nations, the Welsh Government, the wider NHS in Wales, and others to monitor the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China, and have implemented our planned response.  We are well prepared, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.

“All Welsh residents who meet the current testing criteria for Novel Coronavirus are being offered testing.  We will be publishing the number of people tested in Wales every Thursday at 3pm.

“As of Thursday 20 February, 209 people in Wales have been tested for Novel Coronavirus.  There are no confirmed cases in Wales, although it is likely that Wales will see cases at some point.  Nine patients in the UK have so far tested positive for coronavirus. 

“Over 90 per cent of the individuals who have been tested in Wales have been offered testing in their own home, making it as convenient as possible for them, as well as protecting our ambulance and hospital resources for those who need it most.  We are not able to comment on individual cases for reasons of patient confidentiality.

“The Novel Coronavirus diagnostic test has now been developed in the Public Health Wales’ specialist virology laboratory at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. Public Health Wales’ trained scientists are now conducting the specialist test in Wales – ensuring we are well prepared should we see cases in Wales.

“Members of the public can help protect themselves and others by always carrying tissues, and using them to catch coughs or sneezes. They should bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash their hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to slow the spread of most germs, including Coronavirus.

 “The UK Department for Health and Social Care has issued advice for returning travellers.  We would encourage travellers to check the guidance, especially those returning from China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days.

“The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised UK nationals to leave China where possible.” 

Coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.

Advice for travellers

If you get a cough, high temperature or feel short of breath within 14 days of returning from:

  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau

You should:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people
  • call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647 or 111 Wales in your area to inform them of your recent travel to the area

Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.

If you have travelled from Wuhan or Hubei Province to the UK in the last 14 days you should immediately:

  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
  • Call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647 or 111 Wales, if available in your area, to inform them of your recent travel to the area.

Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.

The latest information and travel advice is available from:


More information on our Novel coronavirus page