Nicola Sturgeon has chaired a Scottish Government resilience meeting as preparations for a coronavirus outbreak in Scotland accelerate.

The First Minister led the meeting on Tuesday night to discuss preparedness in Scotland, following outbreaks in northern Italy and elsewhere.

Health Minister Jeane Freeman was among those in attendance and said those present are "expecting an outbreak and are working hard to ensure we have plans in place to contain it as best we can".

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Her comments came after Scotland's Chief Medical Officer said people could be banned from gathering in large numbers to contain the spread of the virus, known as Covid-19, if it hits Scotland.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 412 people had been tested for the virus in Scotland, and all returned negative results.

Across the UK, 13 people have been confirmed to have the virus from 6,795 patients tested.

Ms Freeman said: "Though the risk to individuals remains low, and all test results have come back negative so far, the Chief Medical Officer has advised that it is highly likely that we will see a positive case in Scotland as coronavirus continues to spread.

"We are expecting an outbreak and are working hard to ensure we have plans in place to contain it as best we can. The NHS and Health Protection Scotland have an established plan to respond to anyone who becomes unwell.

"Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but there is currently no treatment or vaccine."

She said the public would play a vital role by adhering to basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

It came as Scotland's CMO Dr Catherine Calderwood said in the event of an outbreak Scotland should follow the example set by Italy, where Serie A football matches are being played behind closed doors, church services in the affected regions have been cancelled and Milan’s famous opera house, La Scala, has temporarily shut down.

She said: “If we do have a cluster, as has happened in Italy, then we move into delaying the spread.

“Delaying the spread would mean some of the measures that have happened already in Italy – stopping people coming together in large groups so that one or a few individuals do not spread to many, many more around them.”

More than 300 people in Italy have tested positive for the virus – an increase of 100 in 24 hours – and 10 have died. In the north, 11 towns worst affected by the outbreak have been placed in quarantine with police manning checkpoints. Health officials confirmed the virus had spread as far south as Sicily.

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Rugby Six Nations organisers, meanwhile, said they were monitoring the situation “very closely”.

The Scotland women’s match against Italy has already been postponed due to a spike in cases in the Lombardy region, but the England men’s side is also due to face the Italians in Rome on March 14.

The Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy, due to take place on Saturday in Dublin, has been cancelled.

Ireland’s health minister Simon Harris said: “The very clear view of the public health emergency team was that this game should not go ahead and that it would constitute a significant risk, because a very large number of people will be travelling from what is now an affected region.”

The Scottish Government said anyone returning to Scotland from quarantined areas of Italy should self-isolate “even if they do not have symptoms”.

A spokesman for the SPFL, which oversees Scotland’s domestic football fixtures, said it had received “no specific instructions” about cancelling matches in the event of an outbreak, but added that it would “comply with any instructions issued” by Dr Calderwood.

Travellers returning from parts of Italy north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini in the past week are also asked to monitor their health, and stay at home if they develop symptoms.

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Cases of the virus have also been reported for the first time in Switzerland, Austria and Croatia, while in Tenerife hundreds of hotel guests at the four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace were confined to their rooms after an Italian tourist was hospitalised with suspected coronavirus.

Karen McQuade, a nurse from Blantyre in Lanarkshire, was among those affected. She said: “We have to stay in the room. The airline we’re travelling with do know we’re here but have asked us to ‘sit tight’ at the moment. It’s a nightmare not knowing what’s going on.”

Deaths from the new strain of coronavirus, known as Covid-19, appear to be more common in elderly people and those with conditions such as asthma or cancer.

The World Health Organisation said cases had now peaked in China, the origin of the outbreak, with 77,666 cases and 2,664 deaths recorded so far.

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom said the number of new of diagnoses in the country has been “declining steadily” since February 2.

However, he said the rapid increase in cases outside of China is “deeply concerning” and indicates that the virus has “pandemic potential”.