As many as four Chinese nationals who arrived in Scotland within the last two weeks are being tested for coronavirus, according to multiple reports. Though the numbers are varying between outlets, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Edinburg told BBC Scotland that three of the suspected cases are located in Edinburgh, with the fourth located in Glasgow.
“In any European countries there is a danger that these cases occur,” Professor Juergen Haas told BBC Scotland. “Here at the University of Edinburgh we have more than 2,000 students from China and they are always coming and going back to China so we are relatively sure we will have cases in the U.K. from travelers coming back from China.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the ongoing situation in China, where the number of cases has surpassed 500 with at least 17 fatalities, is being closely monitored.
“I should say, that the risk to the public here in Scotland – and indeed the U.K. – is currently classified as low but that is kept under review,” Sturgeon said, according to BBC Scotland.
Fox News could not immediately reach an official to confirm the number.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the outbreak is not yet a global health emergency. The health agency had spent two days assessing information about the outbreak and decided that it did not qualify as an event that requires a coordinated international response.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said after the decision that the outbreak is an emergency in China, and may later become one on a global level.
Elsewhere, countries reported testing suspected patients for the coronavirus, which has been found to be transmissible between humans and is believed to cause fever, cough and shortness of breath. In Quebec, at least five people who recently returned from China were being kept at Montreal hospitals, while the U.S. officials said a patient in Seattle who had traveled through the Wuhan region tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Thursday denied reports that a nurse working in the southwestern region had contracted the virus, while Vietnam said a Chinese father and son who were hospitalized with symptoms tested positive for the illness. Officials in Singapore also confirmed its first case.
In an effort to contain the spread, officials in China shut down travel in three cities including Wuhan, which is considered the epicenter of the outbreak. Beijing also canceled all major public celebrations relating to the Lunar New Year in an effort to contain the spread.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.