The first Brit and third person to test positive for corona virus in the UK was confirmed on Thursday after the businessman returned from Singapore last week.
The man, presumably in his 40s or 50s, from Hove, Sussex, took Sunday night to A&E in the Royal Sussex in Brighton after flu-like symptoms before being rushed 55 miles to Guy’s Hospital in London this morning.
The businessman was taken to the specialist department of infectious diseases in the hospital where he will remain in quarantine at least two weeks. It is not assumed that health officials are “contact seekers” on a flight between Asia and the UK that the last patient has traveled on.
It comes almost a week after two Chinese nationals, a student from the University of York and his mother, have confirmed the deadly virus and have been quarantined at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 630 lives and infected more than 31,500 people in 28 countries and territories around the world, but 99 percent of infections have occurred in China.
The latter case raises the fear that the virus is now circulating in higher numbers than previously thought outside the mainland. NHS bosses are expected to warn GPs later today about patients with symptoms from other Asian countries.
The patient went to A&E in the Royal Sussex in Brighton on Sunday evening after suffering from flu-like symptoms before being rushed to Guy’s Hospital in London this morning. It comes almost a week after two Chinese nationals, a student from the University of York and his mother, have confirmed the deadly virus and have been quarantined in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Meanwhile, 93 others are quarantined on the Wirral after being evacuated from Wuhan – the epicenter of the virus – while another of them has been taken to a hospital in Oxford after becoming ill on the flight back to RAF Brize Norton on Sunday evening
The patient went to A&E in the Royal Sussex in Brighton on Sunday evening after flu-like symptoms before being transferred to Guy’s Hospital in London this morning (photo)
It comes almost a week after two Chinese subjects, a student from the University of York and his mother, confirmed the deadly virus in York (photo: the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where the patients were admitted)
The Brit – presumably a man in his forties or fifties – was diagnosed in the Royal Sussex in Brighton (photo) after he had flown in from Singapore
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 638 lives and infected more than 31,500 people in 29 countries and territories around the world – but 99 percent of infections have occurred in China
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN SINGAPORE LINKED TO THREE VIRUS CASES
At least three Asian businessmen who attended a meeting of more than 100 international delegates at a hotel in Singapore have contracted a corona virus while others show symptoms, the authorities said Wednesday.
The cases are further proof that the virus is now spreading through human contact between China and China.
Malaysia said on Tuesday that the first infected citizen – a 41-year-old man – had attended the meeting, including delegations from China where the virus came from, mid-January.
South Korea also reported two confirmed cases of its citizens who attended the same business conference in Singapore on Wednesday.
The cases are linked to a business meeting of 109 attendees at the Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel on January 20-22, with 94 overseas participants, the Singapore Health Ministry said.
Of the visitors in Singapore, four also reported symptoms and referred them to the National Center for Infectious Diseases.
Authorities did not comment on the company or industry involved.
A spokesperson for the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Gerald Kheng, said the hotel had been deeply cleaned after it was informed by the health ministry on Tuesday of the incident, but said it didn’t notice any other cases among guests or staff.
Singapore – one of the worst affected countries outside of China in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 – reported 28 cases of coronavirus, including some cases of local transmission.
The city state says there is no evidence of widespread spread of the community, but it has announced new precautions on Tuesday, including stopping group activities such as school meetings.
Several companies in Singapore have suspended corporate and media events, including a large travel grant, but the Singapore Airshow will continue next week, albeit on a smaller scale.
Downing Street gave updated travel advice tonight in which Britons fled from nine countries to call NHS 111 if they even feel somewhat unwell.
Passengers arriving from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau must call the NHS 111 service.
It is amid increasing pressure on ministers to ban all travelers from coronavirus-stricken China after 16 countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia, took the firm action.
The government’s new opinion added that the nine countries had been identified “due to the amount of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and the number of reported cases.”
The Chinese ambassador to the UK today criticized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advice for all 30,000 civilians in mainland China and urged the government to seek “professional advice” from the World Health Organization.
Liu Xiaoming said at a press conference today: “[There] should not be a panic, not an overreaction. We advise the British side to seek professional advice from the WHO. They told us that they will follow the advice of the WHO. It seems to me that the words do not match the actions.
“Life is still normal in most parts of China, so I say again in private and public. I hope the British government and the public have an objective, cold-blooded view of what’s going on. We must support each other instead of weakening the other’s efforts. “
Downing Street has been slammed for its “passive” response to the outbreak, with civil servants being torn apart for days behind other nations launching a mission to evacuate British expats trapped in Wuhan’s epicenter.
In the meantime, thousands of travelers from the country affected by disease flock into Britain every day without being properly tested for the infection, giving rise to a similar general ban.
Experts have warned the UK to hold more cases after images of paramedics in hazmat suits storming into a house in York.
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, told a press conference this afternoon that the patient contracted the virus somewhere in Asia, but “not in mainland China.”
He said the government was now advising people who have traveled to a number of Asian countries and returned to the UK with symptoms to immediately isolate themselves and call NHS 111 for advice.
The DoH will release a list of Asian countries where coronavirus risk is high tonight. Anyone who exhibits symptoms from these countries will now be tested for the disease, whereas previously it only applied to those who returned from Wuhan.
A specially designed tent with controlled ventilation can be placed around the patient’s bed to prevent the virus from spreading (similar to the Royal Free in London)
But the chief medical officer kept on knowing if the last patient was a British subject who was on vacation in Asia.
“In short, we are all doctors, we have a pretty strong vision of this and we’re not going to do anything that will identify people in any way … once you start, you don’t stop,” he said.
“What is in the public interest is, of course, for us to release the list of countries that we think may have a slightly higher risk than the rest of the world. And that is what we will do later today. ”
Dr. Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical teacher at the University of Exeter, suggested that the government should start expanding its coronavirus screening to other Asian countries, not just China.
He said: “According to the Chief Medical Officer, this new infection was acquired abroad and the patient then traveled to the UK. If the third case is travel related in the UK but not from China, it is as we would expect.
“It is a clear indication that this virus is now circulating in many countries. That tells us that our control policy needs to be revised because infected people may enter the UK from countries other than China.
“The fact that we have no additional cases that were in contact with the first two in the UK indicates that our control policy seems to be working, although it is still early days, so we must remain vigilant.”
Health employers around the world are alert to red outbreaks because the virus can spread through a simple cough or sneeze and can live on lifeless objects such as door handles and counter tops for short periods of time.
Direct flights from Beijing to London Gatwick are still available for purchase online. British airlines have all stopped flying to and from China, but Chinese airlines are still active
The number of confirmed deaths in China following the outbreak of the new coronavirus rose to at least 630 on Friday after the severely affected Hubei province reported 69 new fatalities. In its daily update, the Hubei Health Commission also confirmed 2,447 new cases in the province where the epidemic occurred.
The number of people infected with the corona virus has increased enormously since the end of January. The actual toll is expected to be considerably higher, as many may have such mild symptoms that they are never diagnosed
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE THREE CORONAVIRUS CASES IN THE UK?
THE FIRST TWO CASES
A student from the University of York and his mother became the first two confirmed cases of the deadly corona virus on British soil when they were diagnosed on January 31. But neither is mentioned.
Health officials repeatedly refused to give details about the two cases, citing “patient confidential”, and raised questions about where and when they entered Britain.
But MailOnline later revealed the same day that the couple had stayed in a budget hotel in York.
Sources at the Staycity apart-hotel say that the couple – who had been taken away by paramedics on January 31 – never returned their suitcases, clothing or toiletries.
Their toiletries are thought to remain sealed in their room. Officials have already paid for a sterilization company to disinfect the room the couple was staying in, as well as the surrounding rooms. It is not clear if they are open again, but the £ 49 per night hotel is still active.
Sources then confirmed that both infected patients had been taken to quarantine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, one of the four specialized centers in the UK to treat infectious airborne infections. The patients are still being treated there.
The University of York confirmed that one of the patients was a student on 1 February. Hoping to dispel the fears, the infected student said he did not step on campus before or after catching the virus. It was later revealed that the second patient was his mother.
THE THIRD CASE
The patient is thought to have been diagnosed in Brighton and taken to a specialist infectious disease department in a London hospital where they will be kept isolated for at least two weeks.
Only four hospitals in England are equipped with these departments, two of which are in the capital – the Royal Free and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The others are in Newcastle and Liverpool.
Public Health England said the patient did not contract the highly contagious disease in the UK, suggesting that they had recently returned from China. Officials have so far refused to provide more details about the patient.
But there have been no flights to the UK from Wuhan since January 22, when the Chinese authorities took the unprecedented decision to block the city and ground all flights to combat the outbreak.
London Gatwick, the closest airport to Brighton – just 27 miles (44 km) north of the seaside city, has direct flights from Shanghai, another Chinese city that has recorded cases of the killer virus.
The newest patient is currently being transferred to an Airborne High Consequence Infectious Disease (AHCID) unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London – where they will retain the incubation period of the disease for at least two weeks.
Only four hospitals in England are equipped with such departments in England. Access to these units is limited to a team of trained medical personnel who wear protective clothing, face masks, visors and gloves before they enter.
In some cases, a specially designed tent with a ventilator is placed around the patient’s bed to allow staff to treat and feed them without touching them physically.
Dr. Michael Head, a senior global health researcher at the University of Southampton, said it was “not surprising” to see a third case.
He added: “The UK was expected to see more than just the two previous cases. Therefore, public health and the NHS authorities will be well prepared to handle and follow this news.
“It is clear that the outbreak is at a very important point, both globally and here in the UK. It appears at this stage that the infection is being imported into the UK instead of human-to-human transmission. ”
It comes hours after video of doctors in all-white protective suits and face masks loading a patient with an ambulance in York back.
The doctors were seen leaving the house, reportedly rented by students, on Tuesday at 7.30 p.m.
A neighbor claimed that she saw a young woman marching out of her house and loading in the back of the van.
The last incident occurred 1.5 km from the Staycity hotel, where the first two confirmed corona virus patients – a student from the University of York and his mother – were staying.
The witness who filmed the incident on Tuesday said that a dozen students from the University of York lived in the house where the woman was picked up.
They added that the ambulance arrived and took her without sounding the siren.
“It’s a student house with about four or five people living there, so she was probably a student,” they said.
“I imagine the people in the house were worried. I was just visiting someone on the street, but it was scary to see. The obvious concern is that it is another coronavirus case, which is worrying. “
Public Health England declined to comment and said it “will not provide ongoing updates on suspicious cases.”
A neighbor claimed that they marched a young woman outside the building at 7.30 pm and loaded her into the back of the van
Doctors in full white protective suits and face masks were filmed while leaving an York home in an ambulance on Tuesday evening
The video was filmed in York about a mile from the Staycity Hotel, from which the first two confirmed corona virus cases in the UK were taken away by paramedics
York Central MP Rachel Maskell attacked officials because they were not transparent with the panicky public during the outbreak.
She said: “It is crucial to keep the public informed of developments related to the Coronavirus infection.
“I raised this twice in the Lower House this week and await another meeting with the minister.”
Both York and York St John University said they did not know that new students were being treated for the corona virus.
The first confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the UK – an unnamed Chinese male student from York University and his mother – were diagnosed last Friday.
The couple stayed at the £ 50 per night Staycity hotel in the city when they fell ill last Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the University of York insisted that the student confirm that the deadly virus had not set foot on campus or in student halls after his return from China.
A statement was: “The affected student did not come into contact with the virus on campus or in the Vita accommodation … We understand that this update is a concern and we want to emphasize that the risk level remains negligible.”
Revealed: the ‘shambolic’ reaction of the British government to the outbreak so far
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been accused of poor organization during the corona virus outbreak and of leaving British citizens behind in China to “take care of themselves.”
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said: “From the very beginning of this outbreak, the government reacted in a total mess and now they seem to tell British subjects in China to take care of themselves in terms of getting out of the country.
“How on earth has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared plans and protocols for how these crises are managed?”
Her comment followed a whole series of shortcomings in the past two weeks, including:
Dragging his feet before he charters an airlift
When the epidemic started to spread at the end of January, the US, France and Japan all evacuated hundreds of civilians in chartered planes.
Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Australia and India have all announced plans to save expats before Britain did.
Only on January 30 was the first wave of British subjects flown home.
Only cancel two hours in advance before evacuating
When the vibrating government finally organized the airlift, it gave up the British just two hours in advance before they left.
This made it impossible for some citizens to arrive at the airport on time because Wuhan got stuck and public transport was forbidden.
Expats leave to find their own way to the airport
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not attempted to arrange buses or taxis to transport British citizens to Wuhan airport.
With the city completely closed, this allegedly made it impossible for Britons in the wider province of Hubei to take flight.
British nationals told to abandon their loved ones
Desperate expats were told that there were no guarantees that their Chinese partners or children would step into the rescue plane because Beijing prevented its own citizens from leaving.
Bus drivers did not wear masks
Coach riders who picked up the evacuated from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire when they landed from Wuhan were photographed without protective equipment.
It came despite the highly contagious virus that it could spread through a simple cough or sneeze, or by living on inanimate objects such as door handles and chairs.
The photos were even more shocking because doctors were seen in complete hazmat suits right next to the bus drivers.
Hotel with first confirmed cases allowed to work normally
The first two patients who confirmed the corona virus in the UK were staying at the Staycity hotel in York.
The budget hotel said it was “left in the dark” by the government, which refused to tell whether its customers were indeed infected with the disease.
The hotel was instructed to ‘work normally’, but to keep the room where the patients remained locked and their belongings in it.
This meant that dozens of ignorant customers remained and touched door knobs, cutlery and countertops that may have been treated by the infected couple.
The British government has so far been beaten for its approach to the epidemic because they have detained British nationals in China and have not conducted proper screening for travelers from the country affected by disease.
Dozens of passengers fleeing the country affected by coronavirus are pouring into Britain every day without being tested for the virus, giving rise to calls for a general travel ban similar to that of the US, Australia and New Zealand.
But the UK is still bound by EU immigration laws and is obliged to abide by all decisions on travel restrictions that the bloc has taken until the end of the year, despite technically leaving on January 31.
The government would consider imposing the ban, against the will of Brussels. But sources say that it would be pointless for the EU not to follow this example, since passengers can still enter Great Britain indirectly through another EU state because of the rules of free movement.
“What good is it if one of you forbids flights if none of the others do it?” told a high government source to MailOnline. “Because you just come in via an indirect route.”
Brexit party leader Nigel Farage said last night: “We can follow flights from China landing in the UK, but we cannot follow those countries from China in the rest of Europe. The free movement of the EU makes us more vulnerable. “
Meanwhile, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth attacked the government for being “irresponsible” and demanded that all civilians return home without assistance.
He said: “If Dominic Raab says that everyone must return to the UK, I am afraid the government must do more to get those nationals home. You cannot just make those announcements and not offer serious help.
“The government can make plans to get them on flights, they can charter more flights if they think this is important, probably because Mr. Raab has said they should come home.”
When asked whether the government should pay for people returning to the UK, he said: “The Foreign Minister cannot make these statements and support them with any action.”
Professor Qing Wang, a Chinese expert at Warwick Business School, said the epidemic had “many of the shortcomings of the Chinese crisis response system. “
“There will be a period of reflection by the government and the public about why the lessons of SARS were not learned and the same mistake happened again.
“In particular, there must be a more proactive, rational and scientific approach to face challenges, rather than relying entirely on the political will and centralized power of government.
‘The close focus on scientific research on publications, rather than solving real-life challenges, must also be examined.
“Apart from the rising death toll, the negative effect of the corona virus on the Chinese and global economy is probably much greater than the outbreak of SARS in 2003.
“The global economy depends on China, not just as an export country, but as an increasingly important consumer market.”
Saudi Arabia today became the 16th nation to ban coronavirus-stricken travelers from entering the country – increasing pressure on the UK to increase security.
Patients infected with the coronavirus are pictured arriving at an improvised hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city in the middle of the outbreak
A medical worker in East Java, Indonesia, is investigating an isolation room that can be used to contain people with the infectious corona virus
An improvised hospital in Wuhan has begun to accept patients infected with the corona virus
20 CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS DIAGNOSED WITH VIRUS
At least 20 people on a cruise ship moored off the coast of Japan have been diagnosed with the corona virus.
Despite the deadly contagion that spread on board and passengers were unable to leave, many people were seen chatting across their balconies today.
Another 10 people tested positive on Thursday for the deadly virus on the Diamond Princess after the same number was taken Wednesday from the moored ship to hospitals on mainland Japan.
Some of the 3,700 passengers on the ship have complained about ‘prison-like’ quarantine conditions because those who look healthy are stuck on the deck.
Passengers stare at the port on Thursday as the ship returns to the port to collect supplies
Japanese authorities tested 273 people among passengers and crew after a man who left Hong Kong last month tested positive for the new species.
Among the passengers in Yokohama Bay, near Tokyo, are 78 Britons, including David Abel, 74, and his wife Sally, who has described that he must trust Facebook to communicate with his fellow passengers.
The cruise operator, Princess Cruises, said the infected passengers included three Americans, two Australians, seven Japanese, one from Taiwan, two Canadians, one New Zealander and three Hong Kong citizens, as well as one Filipino crew member.
The new cases were reported as the Diamond Princess, which was instructed to stay in the port for 14 days, docked to allow supplies and removal of sick passengers this morning.
In the harbor, civil servants could be seen dressed in white hazmat suits, complete with face masks and helmets. A retractable passage with a white tent was driven to a door on the side of the huge cruise ship, apparently to protect the identity of people evacuated from the boat.
The kingdom has denied its citizens access to mainland China and suggested that it would tear up the passports of anyone who defied the ban.
De immigratieafdeling van Saudi-Arabië beweerde dat ‘wettelijke bepalingen inzake reisdocumenten zouden worden toegepast’ op burgers die naar de Aziatische natie reizen. Er zijn geen verdere details verstrekt.
Het virus is nog niet ontdekt in Saoedi-Arabië, maar vijf gevallen, waaronder een gezin van vier uit Wuhan, zijn bevestigd in de aangrenzende Verenigde Arabische Emiraten.
Vijftien andere landen en gebieden hebben een vorm van reisbeperkingen opgelegd, waaronder de VS, Australië, Nieuw-Zeeland en Japan.
Per 5 februari zijn in totaal 566 VK-tests afgerond, waarvan 563 negatief en drie positief zijn bevestigd.
York Central MP Rachel Maskell viel ambtenaren aan omdat ze niet transparant waren met het paniekerige publiek tijdens de uitbraak.
Ze zei: ‘Het is van cruciaal belang dat het publiek op de hoogte wordt gehouden van ontwikkelingen in verband met de Coronavirus-infectie.
‘Ik heb dit deze week twee keer aan de orde gesteld in het Lagerhuis en wacht op een volgende ontmoeting met de minister.’
De eerste bevestigde gevallen van coronavirusinfectie in het VK – een niet nader genoemde Chinese mannelijke student van York University en zijn moeder – werden afgelopen vrijdag gediagnosticeerd.
Het paar verbleef in het Staycity Aparthotel van £ 50 per nacht toen ze afgelopen woensdag ziek werden.
Een woordvoerder van de Universiteit van York stond erop dat de student had bevestigd dat het dodelijke virus geen voet op de campus of in studentenhallen had gezet na zijn terugkeer uit China.
Een verklaring luidde: ‘De getroffen student is niet in contact gekomen met het virus op de campus of in de Vita-accommodatie … We begrijpen dat deze update zorgen baart en we willen benadrukken dat het risiconiveau te verwaarlozen blijft.’
Het komt nadat wetenschappers hebben onthuld dat ze het coronavirus bijna een officiële naam geven.
Hoewel het onderwerp van nieuwsartikelen, posts op sociale media en politieke discussies de afgelopen maand is, heeft het virus nog geen goedgekeurde naam.
Het is 2019-nCoV genoemd, wat betekent dat het een nieuw (nieuw) type coronavirus is dat in 2019 is ontdekt, maar dit is slechts een tijdelijke tijdelijke aanduiding.
Er zijn andere onofficiële, mogelijk onnauwkeurige namen voor ontstaan, waaronder het China coronavirus, Wuhan coronavirus en zelfs ‘slangengriep’.
Maar wetenschappers van het Internationaal Comité voor Taxonomie van Virussen (ICTV) zeggen dat ze een naam voor de bug hebben gekozen en deze ter goedkeuring hebben voorgelegd.
De onderzoekers hebben de naam waarop ze zich hebben gevestigd niet onthuld, maar zeggen dat deze binnen enkele dagen kan worden aangekondigd.
Dr. Jarman zei dat duizenden meer mensen naar verwachting zullen sterven in de uitbraak voordat de maand voorbij is
Dr. Brian Jarman voorspelde dat de gevallen eind februari tot bijna 200.000 zouden kunnen stijgen als de uitbraak doorgaat zoals die de afgelopen weken heeft plaatsgevonden
WUHAN CORONAVIRUS: WAT WE WEER WETEN
Wat is dit virus?
Het virus is geïdentificeerd als een nieuw type coronavirus. Coronavirussen zijn een grote familie van pathogenen, waarvan de meeste milde longinfecties veroorzaken, zoals verkoudheid.
Maar coronavirussen kunnen ook dodelijk zijn. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Can the Wuhan coronavirus kill?
Yes – 638 people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Some people who catch the Wuhan coronavirus may not have any symptoms at all, or only very mild ones like a sore throat or a headache.
Others may suffer from a fever, cough or trouble breathing.
And a small proportion of patients will go on to develop severe infection which can damage the lungs or cause pneumonia, a life-threatening condition which causes swelling and fluid build-up in the lungs.
How is it detected?
The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China and countries around the world have used this to create lab tests, which must be carried out to confirm an infection.
Delays to these tests, to test results and to people getting to hospitals in China, mean the number of confirmed cases is expected to be just a fraction of the true scale of the outbreak.
How did it start and spread?
The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Cases have since been identified around China and are known to have spread from person to person.
What are countries doing to prevent the spread?
Countries in Asia have stepped up airport surveillance. They include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.
Australia and the US are also screening patients for a high temperature, and the UK announced it will screen passengers returning from Wuhan.
Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?
Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE MAILONLINE’S FULL Q&A ON THE CORONAVIRUS
It must not contain geography, human names or cultural references, they said, to avoid abusive backlash or potential racism, and it should avoid animal or food names because they could be inaccurate.
Meanwhile, an email was leaked between Boris Johnson’s father Stanley Johnson and China’s ambassador to the UK that appeared to show Beijing moaning that the Prime Minister had praised it for its response to the outbreak.
The Prime Minister’s father accidentally included someone at the BBC in the list of officials he sent an email to after meeting the Chinese ambassador to discuss environmental matters.
The BBC reported that Mr Johnson Snr wrote: ‘Re the outbreak of coronavirus, Mr Liu obviously was concerned that there had not yet – so he asserted – been direct contact between the PM and Chinese head of state or government in terms of a personal message or telephone call.’
Downing Street said Mr Johnson Snr is a private citizen and was not acting for the Government in any official or unofficial capacity.
In other developments, more than 80 UK citizens and family members who were the first to be quarantined at Arrow Park Hospital on the Wirral have been told they can leave next Thursday.
The group are spending 14 days in isolation but will be released next week as long as they remain symptom-free.
Meanwhile, 78 people with British passports – including crew – are currently in quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, sources told the PA news agency.
Health workers in the port city of Yokohama said on Thursday that 10 more people on the Princess Cruises vessel had tested positive for the disease, in addition to 10 others on Wednesday when the ship was ordered to be isolated.
As those 20 people received treatment at nearby hospitals and the remaining passengers were confined to their cabins, Briton David Abel said medical examinations aimed at detecting new cases on board had seemed to have stopped over the past few days.
Mr Abel, who is on board with his wife, added: ‘And what happens at the end of this quarantine period? There’s no guarantee it’s going to be 14 days now. It could be longer.
‘And what happens when we finally get back to the UK? Are we going to be put in quarantine yet again for another 14 days?
‘These are questions I need answered. I’m going to be contacting the UK Government … to find out.’ Sources say no British people on the ship have tested positive for coronavirus so far. There are no plans to fly anyone off the ship and back to the UK at the moment.
A separate ship in Hong Kong, the World Dream, has about 66 British passport-holders on board, officials say. Nobody on that ship – of any nationality – has tested positive for the virus.
MailOnline understands that passengers are unable to leave the ship but are not in quarantine and can move around freely on board.
The World Health Organization today called for countries around the world to pull together more than half a billion pounds to stop China’s coronavirus.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director of the organisation, yesterday held a conference at which he called for donations totalling £521million ($675m).
Saudi Arabia today became the 16th nation to ban travellers from coronavirus-hit China from entering the country. A total of 31 countries have imposed some form of travel ban or to have suspended all flights to the mainland
Which countries have banned people from China entering?
The US has temporarily banned all non-US citizens who have been to China in the last two weeks from entering America.
Australia has banned access for Chinese travelers or foreign passengers who have been to China in the last 14 days or have even passed the mainland during a stopover.
New Zealand has closed its borders to foreigners arriving from China after 2 February, including passengers who are in transit.
Japan has barred entry for anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus and no travellers from Wuhan are allowed to enter – even if they don’t have symptoms.
Mongolian citizens have until 6 February to return to their home country if they wish. Travelers from China – whether they are Chinese or not – are not allowed to enter the country.
North Korea was one of the first countries to completely close its borders to travelers and flights from China and to implement the measure on January 21.
Officials have suspended all forms of passenger travel to and from neighboring China. The country has also suspended the issuance of visas to Chinese citizens.
Authorities have decided to prohibit entry for all aliens who have visited China in the last two weeks.
Singapore has banned travelers who have been to mainland China in the last 14 days.
South Korea has banned all foreign travelers who have passed Wuhan in the last 14 days.
Authorities have banned all travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau – except Filipino citizens and holders of permanent residence permits.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Papua New Guinea has closed its airports and seaports for all foreign travelers from Asia. The land border with West Papua is also closed.
Iraq has forbidden entry for all aliens traveling from China.
Guatemala has banned non-resident travelers who had been to China in the last two weeks.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Trinidad and Tobago have banned non-resident travelers who have been to China in the last two weeks.
Announced today it was barring anyone coming into the country from China. Any citizens who leave for the disease-ridden country will have their passports torn up.
More than 28,000 people have now been infected with the coronavirus in China, as well as 260 in other countries, and 565 have died.
The WHO money will be used for ‘frontline efforts’ to help countries contain the virus and to fund scientists trying to create a vaccine, as well as helping poor countries – potentially African nations – to prepare for possible infections.
Dr Ghebreyesus’s rallying call comes as a leading statistician in the UK predicts another 3,000 people in China could die of the virus by the end of the month.
Dr Brian Jarman, a retired doctor and former president of the British Medical Association, said 199,000 people could have been infected by February 29.
Dr Jarman, whose statistics work helped expose the NHS Mid-Staffordshire scandal which found death rates were higher than official figures showed, said he found the rate of the coronavirus spreading ‘very worrying’ because people appear not to know they are infecting others.
‘We are requesting 675 million US dollars to fund the plan for the next three months,’ Dr Ghebreyesus said.
‘Sixty million of that is to fund WHO’s operations; the rest is for the countries that are especially at risk and who need our support.
‘Our message to the international community is ‘invest today or pay more later’. Invest today or pay more later.’
It is not clear which countries Dr Ghebreyesus was referring to, but the WHO has in the recent past suggested African nations could be devastated if the virus were to spread to the continent.
There have not yet been any confirmed cases in any African countries.
He added: ‘My biggest worry is that there are countries today who do not have the systems in place to detect people who have contracted with the virus, even if it were to emerge.
‘Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human to human transmission and protect health workers.’
Although international spread has been very limited so far – accounting for just one per cent of all cases – there is still a risk of numbers surging outside of China.
Inside China the outbreak is continue to spread rapidly and thousands more people are being diagnosed with the coronavirus every day, most of them in the city of Wuhan and the Hubei province.
Dr Brian Jarman, an retired professor from Imperial College London, has used statistics to predict how the outbreak could progress over the next three weeks.
He worked out how many new cases are being diagnosed each day and the rate at which this is increasing, then applied it as a formula to the next 22 days.
Dr Jarman found that there could be 31,810 cases and 636 deaths by the end of today, February 6.
By February 13, this could rise to 67,409 cases and 1,304 deaths.
By February 20, 116,444 cases and 2,214 deaths and, by February 29, 199,230 cases and 3,741 deaths.
The calculations assume that the outbreak will continue to escalate at its current rate. He said predicting any further ahead in the same way would be inaccurate because the virus should soon start to slow down naturally.
Dr Jarman said: ‘I find it very worrying both medically, because the infection seems to have a relatively long incubation period and therefore people are infective for a longer time before they realise they may have the disease, and financially because China is so important to the world economy.’
At the World Health Organization conference yesterday, officials also appeared to take a stab at the UK Government’s advice for citizens to leave China, but not to screen those who return to Britain.
Speaking in Geneva, Dr Michael Ryan, executive director at WHO, said: ‘A situation where many individuals are potentially leaving the country [China] – we don’t believe those individuals are necessarily at the highest risk.
‘But an unplanned measure like that needs to be accompanied with the necessary screening and the necessary public health measures to ensure that.’
And WHO director general Dr Ghebreyesus scoffed at the idea of a blanket travel ban, saying it was unnecessary.
He added: ‘We call on all countries to make their decision based on evidence, not just a blanket coverage.
‘Even in China there are provinces with very few cases, like other countries neighbouring [China] and beyond. I think that is very important to consider.’
How will coronavirus patients be treated in the UK?
The first two patients are treated in a specialized infectious disease unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
CORONAVIRUS COULD SPREAD ON SURFACES, WARNS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
Coronavirus could spread on surfaces, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.
There is evidence that the coronavirus ‘can also be spread via fomites – when the virus survives on inanimate surfaces for a short period of time,’ said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, a member of the WHO’s emergency committee on the outbreak.
If the possibility becomes a certainty, it’s a worrying revelation for hospital settings, where patients coming to be diagnosed and treated for coronavirus may touch chairs, tables, beds, railings and much more.
WHO officials are careful to note that it’s not yet clear how contagious the new virus is, but its ability to be transferred from surfaces to people could speed its already alarming spread.
Experts estimate that the virus has an incubation between two and 14 days – although a small subset of cases suggest that it may be transmissible even before symptoms begin.
The third is thought to be receiving care in either the Royal Free or Guy’s and St Thomas’, both of which are in London.
Access to these units is restricted to the team of specially trained medical staff who are made to wear protective gowns, face masks, visors and gloves before entering. This must all be disposed of and put into a decontamination facility as soon as they leave.
There are various facilities in place in these wards, including a laboratory for carrying out tests on infectious patients and dedicated waste units to avoid contamination with regular rubbish.
The air in the ward is funneled through its own filter to remove the risk of infection spreading through the air inside the hospital.
Professor Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline the treatment the patients get will depend on their condition. No official information has emerged about how severely ill they are.
Mild symptoms could be treated with paracetamol, whereas more serious patients may need oxygen supplies or intensive care.
He said the patients would have throat swabs each day to test whether they are still infectious. It is not clear what the conditions of their release will be.
How do I know if I have the virus? What are the symptoms and how is it spread?
Once someone has caught the virus it may take between two and 14 days for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.
If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.
In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms. It is believed that it travels in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing and parts of cutlery or utensils are all risky.
Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.
There is now evidence that it can spread third hand – to someone from a person who caught it from another person.
Is the British public at risk of catching the virus? Should I be worried?
The general consensus is that the British public is not at risk.
In China, a country of around 1.4billion people, only around 10,000 people were infected to an extent which made them ill enough to get diagnosed in the first month of the outbreak.
That is a rate of 0.0007 per cent. Although the true number of cases is believed to be much higher, scientists say that many people would get such mild symptoms they wouldn’t notice or wouldn’t consider going to a doctor.
As of 31 January, a total of 177 UK tests have concluded, of which 175 were confirmed negative and two positive.
The RVI (pictured) is only one of two hospitals in England with the specialised ward, the other being the Royal Free Hospital in London
Public Health England said on Thursday, January 30: ‘We are advising an increase of the UK risk level from low to moderate.
‘This does not mean we think the risk to individuals in the UK has changed at this stage, but that government should plan for all eventualities.
‘As we have previously said, it is likely there will be individual cases and we are confident in the ability of the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales and HSC in Northern Ireland to manage these in a way that protects the public and provides high quality care.’
The risk of infection is too low for people in the UK to do anything proactive other than practice good hygiene at all times.
If I catch the virus, will it kill me?
The virus has so far killed 2 per cent of everyone it has officially infected. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.
However, experts say the true number of patients is likely considerably higher and therefore the death rate considerably lower.
Experts say it is likely only the most seriously ill patients are seeking help and are therefore recorded – the vast majority will have only mild, cold-like symptoms. For those whose conditions do become more severe, there is a risk of developing pneumonia which can destroy the lungs and kill you.
Imperial College London researchers estimate that there were 4,000 (up to 9,700) cases in Wuhan city alone up to January 18 – officially there were only 444 there to date. If cases are in fact 100 times more common than the official figures, the virus may be far less dangerous than currently believed.
Can the virus be cured?
The Wuhan coronavirus cannot currently be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
Experts say that the problem of containing the corona virus is that so many patients have mild, cold-like symptoms and do not realize that they have the infection – but it can quickly kill
No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above. Scientists across the world are desperately trying to make one.
What even is a coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.
The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It is currently named 2019-nCoV, and does not have a more detailed name because so little is known about it. It is not a type of flu.
WHY ARE EXPERTS SO WORRIED ABOUT THE VIRUS?
Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.
It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs.
Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.
Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.
‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’
What can I do to protect myself?
Currently, only people who have travelled to Wuhan in China or been in contact with somebody travelling from there are considered to be at a high risk of catching the virus.
To avoid catching the virus people should simply avoid close contact with people who have been to Wuhan and practice good hygiene at all times.
Good hygiene includes washing your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol gel, keeping food preparation surfaces and cutlery clean, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze – and make sure others don’t cough or sneeze on you – and avoid contact with people who have cold- or flu-like symptoms.
If you feel ill and have reason to suspect it might be the coronavirus – that is, you have been to China or been in contact with someone who has – you should phone NHS 111 or your local GP surgery. Do not go outside and interact with anyone else, and do not go to a GP surgery or hospital in person unless told to do so.
What do I do if I fear a loved one has the virus?
If you fear a loved one has the virus, you should not take them to the GP. Instead, you should call NHS 111 and tell them of any symptoms.
Doctors are unlikely to send out paramedics in hazmat suits for anyone who is poorly but patients who have travel history that puts them at risk may get rushed to hospital for tests.
Make sure you practice good hygiene and keep them isolated as much as possible to prevent the virus spreading.
Stop them from coming with anyone else – especially patients who have weakened immune systems, such as your elderly relatives and those with chronic conditions.
Photos from the runway at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire show paramedics, coach drivers and other staff greeting and even shaking hands with the passengers, who are on their way to be quarantined for two weeks
Passengers are greeted by workers on the runway – one of the British workers appears to shake hands with a passenger while another is not wearing a mask
What do we know about the evacuees?
The UK Government sent a chartered flight to Wuhan Tianhe Airport on on the night of January 30/31 and brought back 83 citizens who were stranded there. The airport is closed to commercial flights, there is no public transport and there are roadblocks around the city, preventing people from leaving.
According to reports from the people who had booked seats on the flight, the Foreign Office gave them around two hours’ notice to get to a meeting point near the airport by 11pm local time on Thursday night (3pm UK time).
Some of them said they were unable to make it to the airport in time so they stayed behind in Wuhan.
They then had medical checks and were told to sign a waiver agreeing to allow the Government to place them in forced isolation for a fortnight when they arrived.
They then boarded a plane which later left at 9.45am on Friday (1.45am Friday UK time). The flight was on a plane chartered from Spanish airline Wamos, whose crew operated the flight alongside RAF personnel and Army medics.
It landed at RAF Brize Norton, a military airfield in Oxfordshire, at 1.30pm UK time on Friday, after a 12-hour journey.
The Britons shared the flight with 27 people of other nationalities, reportedly mostly Spanish citizens, who were taken onwards to Madrid on the same plane.
What will happen to the British evacuees?
After arriving at the airfield in Oxfordshire, the evacuees were loaded onto coaches hired from Berkshire company, Horseman. They were driven to Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral Merseyside, where they will be kept in isolation for two weeks.
Scientists believe the coronavirus has an incubation period – the time between it entering the body and the last point at which it could cause symptoms – of around 14 days. This means anyone who does not get ill within two weeks of being exposed to the virus can be considered infection-free.
The evacuees will spend this incubation period cut off from the general public. British crew members from the plane will also be put in quarantine. They will spend the time in an accommodation block which is separated from the main Arrowe Park hospital and will be constantly monitored for signs of infection.
If anyone is found to be infected with the coronavirus they will be taken to a specialist hospital – likely the Royal Liverpool – which has the facilities to contain and treat them.
During their incubation time they will be allowed to live normally, with contact with the outside world, access to outdoor space and internet access, but they will not be allowed to physically meet with anyone who was not on the flightIf they make it through the two weeks without showing signs of infection they will be free to go.