A Holiday Inn hotel near Heathrow airport has been closed to the public and designated a potential quarantine centre ready to receive future potential cases of coronavirus arriving in the UK.
Guests booked at the three-star Holiday Inn Heathrow Ariel hotel, on Bath Road, have been transferred to sister hotels and will not be opening for public bookings until March at the earliest.
NHS staff accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral and a hotel and conference centre at Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes have previously been used to quarantine people evacuated from Wuhan – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The UK is under pressure to evacuate 74 Britons quarantined on the cruise liner, the Diamond Princess, after passengers from several other countries, including the US, have been repatriated by their governments. The liner is moored in Japan and 454 passengers have now tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
Nine people have tested positive for the virus in the UK, with only one remaining in hospital. In total 3,109 tests have been carried out in the UK so far.
Worldwide more than 71,000 people have now caught the virus, and nearly 1,800 have died. However, experts believe the true number of cases may be far higher with many mild infections not coming to the attention of health services.
Public Health England is expected to release updated guidance shortly on how coronavirus would be managed in the light of more cases being identified in the UK. This is expected to recommend people with flu like symptoms self-isolate for two weeks and that schools remain open even in the event of a pupil or staff member being suspected to have the virus.