Rumours of a case of coronavirus at Northwick Park Hospital have been debunked.

Social media reports are circulating, suggesting that Elgar ward in Northwick Park Hospital was shut due to a case of coronavirus.

Speculation spread further through Whatsapp chain messages, giving fake warnings of the virus at the hospital.

However, the Department of Health says it will only comment on confirmed coronavirus cases.

The London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) have also announced that there are no confirmed cases at the hospital.

A spokesperson said: “At present, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at Northwick Park.

“We are testing for the virus like many other hospitals at the moment.

“No hospital wards have been closed. We appreciate people’s concern, but it is important to keep things in perspective and not react adversely to rumours.

“If anyone has concerns about their health, they should remain at home, self-isolate and ring 111 for advice.

“Please do not come into A&E or Urgent Care Centre.”

The disease, known as novel coronavirus, was first identified in Wuhan City in China.

Coronavirus is a term for a range of illnesses that usually cause mild to moderate respiratory tract illnesses such as the common cold.

There have been more than 42,000 cases of the new strain in China so far, with 1,017 deaths.

The death rate of around 2.4 per cent is similar to some strains of flu, and it seems to be serious in people with underlying health conditions.

Each day at 2pm, the Department of Health is posting updates on its twitter page as to how many people have tested for coronavirus, as well as the number of people tested positive so far.

The total number of people infected in the UK is eight – from 1,358 tests conducted.

Five of the UK cases are linked to one man, who caught the virus in Singapore and is thought to have infected 11 others at a French ski resort.

He lives in Hove in East Sussex, and two of the new cases are understood to be GPs, one of whom works at a medical centre in nearby Brighton.

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

British Airways recently said that following the outbreak it has grounded planes flying into China until April.

Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty said: “Four further patients in England have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.

“The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France.

“Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.

“The patients have been transferred to specialist NHS centres at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and The Royal Free hospitals, and we are now using robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus. The NHS is extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them, and we are working quickly to identify any further contacts these patients have had.”

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