A man is being treated in Belfast after showing symptoms of the deadly coronavirus, which has killed at least 17 people in Asia, it has emerged.

He is now the fifth patient to display signs of the condition in the UK, with all five believed to have travelled from the Wuhan area of China.

Prof Juergen Haas, head of infection medicine at Edinburgh University, said he believes there will be many more cases from other cities in the UK.

The latest patient is in an isolation ward at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency said in a statement that medics are “keeping abreast of the changing situation around the Wuhan novel Coronavirus, and is liaising with partners across the UK including Public Health England and our local Health Trusts on this issue”.

The statement continued: “As part of this, the health service here is monitoring for any potential cases of Wuhan novel Coronavirus. Currently no cases have been diagnosed in Northern Ireland.

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“The risk to the UK population has been assessed as low. The risk to visitors to Wuhan is moderate, reflecting an increase in the number of cases being identified in China and evidence that the virus has limited spread from person to person.

"Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK.

"They should phone ahead before attending any health services and mention their recent travel to the city.”

Authorities have suspended planes and trains in and out of the affected Chinese city of Wuhan.

The virus has spread to the US, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan.

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Wuhan – a city of 11million people – has become a "ghost town" as it is cut off from the outside world in a desperate bid to prevent the deadly SARS-like virus from spreading even further.

Flights from Wuhan to London are among those halted.

A second Chinese city, neighbouring Huanggang, which is home to seven million, has also been locked down as health authorities in China and around the world scramble to prevent a global pandemic.

The Prime Minister is being kept updated on the situation, a Number 10 spokesman said.

The patients in Scotland were suffering flu-like symptoms after arriving Britain and it is understood they travelled to the UK on a flight to London Heathrow Airport.

Infection outbreak and control measures are in place around a ward at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where one of the patients was being treated, the Daily Record reports.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "There are currently no confirmed cases of Coronavirus (WN Co-V) in the UK and the risk to the Scottish public remains low.

"Following travel to Wuhan, China, two people confirmed as diagnosed with influenza are now being tested for Wuhan Novel Coronavirus as a precautionary measure only.

"A third person is also currently undergoing testing on a similar precautionary basis.

"We are co-orientating with Health Protection Scotland a daily Incident Management Team to continue to monitor the situation as it develops, including on the number of any potential cases going forward."

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