A man is being treated in an isolation ward in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital for symptoms consistent with coronavirus, which has so far caused 18 deaths in China.

The BBC reports that he travelled to Northern Ireland from the city of Wuhan where the infection outbreak began.

It is understood that the patient arrived from Wuhan at the weekend.

The city is one of two in China which are currently in lockdown to halt the spread of the virus.

Health authorities said that anyone who developed flu-like symptoms within two week of coming back from China should not panic but contact their GP by phone.

Any patients presenting with a suspected case of the coronavirus must be isolated, and staff must wear protective clothes including gloves, masks and goggles when treating them.

Elderly people and those with underlying health conditions are particularly at risk, public health officials said.

Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Chiona, has gone into lockdown, with planes, trains and public transport in the city suspended, and smiliar measures are expected in a neighbouring city, Huanggang.