January 31, 2020 / 12:00 PM / in 22 days

UK well prepared to deal with virus: PM Johnson's spokesman

A woman wearing face masks is pictured on Parliament Square, on Brexit day, in London, Britain January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is very well prepared to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Friday.

Earlier, the health ministry said the first two people in the UK to be diagnosed with the new virus were being treated in a hospital in Newcastle, northeast England.

“The NHS is extremely well prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient has had,” Johnson’s spokesman said.

“We will work with international partners on further assistance for those who remain in (China’s) Hubai province. We are confident we have the resources in place to return any British nationals who need assistance,” he said, adding that the issue will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Friday.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by James Davey; editing by Stephen Addison

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