Manchester Royal Infirmary has shut its A&E unit after doctors diagnosed two patients as possibly suffering from Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus Infection (MERS-CoV) outbreak.

The Two patients have been isolated within the unit and the hospital have placed cordons and tents around the main entrance to the unit.

Patients are being diverted through the walk-in centre.

In a statement, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are currently investigating two patients for suspected Middle Eastern Respiratory Virus Syndrome – Coronavirus Infection (MERS-CoV).

“Both patients have been isolated for on-going clinical treatment and management of their condition.

“We would like to reassure our patients and the general public that there is no significant risk to public health.

“Manchester Royal Infirmary Accident and Emergency Department will be closed until further notice while further investigations take place.”

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present, and gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been reported.

Approximately 36% of reported patients with MERS have died, but according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as occurs when providing unprotected care to a patient.

Since May 2015, South Korea has been investigating an outbreak of MERS, the largest outside the Arabian Peninsula.

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