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On Friday, UK health officials said that two people had tested positive for the deadly and fast spreading virus, coronavirus, in Britain’s first cases since the deadly outbreak burst in China and spread worldwide.

This was revealed as about 83 British citizens arrived back on a UK government-chartered flight from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the virus which has so far killed more than 100 people.

The plane carrying the Britons and 27 other foreign nationals landed at the Brize Norton military airbase in south central England shortly today.

EU citizens on board will continue on to Spain while British families disembarking were set to be separated for 14 days at a medical facility in the country’s northwest.

With an increasing number of cases reported in at least 19 other countries, the World Health Organization on Thursday proclaimed an international public health emergency.

In a statement, Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty insisted the country was “extremely well-prepared” and that officials were working with the WHO and others “to ensure we are ready for all eventualities”.

“We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus,” he said.

Whitty added the patients were receiving specialist care, including “tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus”.

He added officials were working to identify any contacts the two patients had.

AFP understands both of them had travelled to China recently. UK health officials declined to reveal the location, citing patient confidentiality.

Reports said, they were being treated at a hospital in Newcastle, northeast England.

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