Health officials have contacted more than 200 people who attended a conference in central London after it emerged one delegate is suffering from coronavirus.
Public Health England (PHE) sent a letter to those who were at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster on February 6, including several MPs, two of whom have now decided to stay mostly at home.
The person taken ill is one of the nine people diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK.
Dr Yimmy Chow, consultant in health protection at PHE, said: “One of our main priorities has been to identify any people who we think have been in close contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19 to provide public health advice, as they may be at slightly increased risk of catching the virus.
“While the degree of contact conference delegates may have had with the case is unlikely to have been significant, we have taken a precautionary approach and informed them of the situation.”
Sources told the PA news agency the bus summit case is not linked to the UK’s ninth case of coronavirus.
The Transport Times emailed delegates and enclosed a letter from PHE saying they should take no action if they were well but to stay indoors, avoid contact with others and call NHS 111 if they developed symptoms such as a fever or cough.
“While the degree of contact you may have had with the case at the summit is unlikely to have been significant, we are taking a precautionary approach and informing you,” the letter said.
The bus conference listed about 250 delegates from the nationwide bus and transport industry.
Among the speakers were buses minister Baroness Vere and former parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Nusrat Ghani.
Labour MP for Nottingham South Lilian Greenwood, who also spoke at the summit, tweeted that she had received PHE’s letter and had decided to cancel appointments.
She added: “I’m feeling completely well but to be extra-cautious I’m cancelling my public engagements until 20th February. Sorry for any inconvenience.”
Labour MP for Leeds North West Alex Sobel, who also attended the summit, said he was not unwell but had decided to stay at home as a precaution.
He has cancelled engagements until the end of next week.
His office told PA he had not undergone any coronavirus testing and was not due to be tested.
He said: “Public Health England gave the advice that I should take reasonable precautions.
“Right now I should be at surgeries with constituents. We thought it a reasonable caution to self-isolate until next Wednesday evening.
“I’m fine. I’ve got no fever. But as you can present after up to 14 days, I’ve taken these precautionary measures.”
Mr Sobel said he only found out about the risk through the media and was “concerned” other attendees may still not know.
Another attendee, who did not wish to be named, said: “We all received an email. The advice was ‘just carry on if you’re feeling fine, if you’re not, lock yourself up’.”
He said he had no symptoms.
It comes as United Airlines confirmed it offered assistance at Heathrow Airport on Friday after a passenger fell ill on one flight.
Reports on social media suggested the person involved may have had symptoms of coronavirus.
At least one more plane has been held at Heathrow for checks.
United Airlines said in a statement: “Our team at London Heathrow Airport is providing assistance related to United flight 901 (San Francisco-London Heathrow) today, following reports of an individual becoming unwell onboard.
“The safety of our customers and employees is our highest priority and we continue to work closely with local authorities.”
Andy West, from Henley-on-Thames, told PA that passengers were warned by the United plane’s captain that they could be on the tarmac for a while because “seven other planes” in the same situation had also landed at Heathrow.
He did not see the ill person or any medics enter the aircraft.
Passengers were allowed to disembark half-an-hour later after filling out forms asking for their contact details and to confirm they did not have any symptoms of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, a Channel 4 employee is among those being tested for coronavirus after feeling unwell following a trip to Asia.
A Channel 4 spokesman said: “On Thursday, a member of staff at Channel 4 who had travelled to Asia within the last month felt unwell.
“As a precautionary measure, they decided to seek medical advice and, in line with the latest public health advice regarding the coronavirus, they were taken to hospital for a precautionary test.
“We have informed our staff of this and continue to follow all the latest public health guidance.”
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said on Thursday that many more people in the UK may need to self-isolate to contain the illness, which has been officially named Covid-19.
It comes as it emerged that the woman who is the UK’s ninth case of coronavirus took an Uber to A&E after she developed symptoms.
Two staff from Lewisham Hospital in south London are now in isolation at home after coming into contact with the woman.
In mainland China, the death toll from Covid-19 has passed 1,500 after health authorities reported another 143 deaths early on Saturday morning.
That increase saw the total reach 1,523 deaths.
However authorities also said the latest 2,641 daily new cases of the virus represented a “major drop”, due to the widespread implementation of a new diagnostic method.
The total number of confirmed cases globally now stands at more than 67,000.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?