Local health authorities were tonight monitoring the potential risk of the new strain of coronavirus, the high-profile virus reaching Bermuda.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said: “The current threat to Bermuda residents is low.

“However due to the significant travel into and out of Bermuda, the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU) considers the threat level to the island to be ‘guarded’.

“The situation is quite dynamic and could raise the threat to ‘elevated’ in a short span of time.

“Bermuda’s routine public health surveillance activities have been increased through the well-established collaborations between the ESU and the hospital, physician offices, Customs and Immigration departments,” she added.

“Enhanced monitoring of patients presenting with respiratory illnesses will continue, guided by recommendations from World Health Organisation and our regional authorities, Pan American Health Organization and Caribbean Public Health Agency.”

This new virus has been found in 13 Chinese provinces in addition to Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan and Washington State.

To date, China has reported 440 cases of the virus and nine deaths.

Meanwhile the ESU “continues to monitor global developments through these sources as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US”.

The spokeswoman added: “It is important to note that the risk of the new coronavirus is for those travelling to affected areas.  Currently, only Wuhan, China is known to have ongoing spread of the infection.”