Great Britain

Coronavirus news – live: Deadly virus reaches Europe as UK 'hunting for 2,000 people who arrived from Wuhan' and China puts 41m under lockdown

Jitters in the stock market over the potential economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak intensified Friday as the tally of confirmed cases continued to climb.

Health care companies led a broad slide in US stocks amid increased fears over the spread of the deadly outbreak's effects on growth.

"It really is a reaction to the widening nature of what's going on with the coronavirus," said Lisa Erickson, head of traditional investments at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "People are concerned about, ultimately, the impact on Chinese growth and perhaps global growth."

Donald Trump has sent support to China's president Xi Jinping in a tweet commending Beijing's attempts to contain the virus.

It comes after the US confirmed its second case of the Coronavirus in Chicago, Illinois. Meanwhile in China some 916 cases have been confirmed, prompting widespread travel bans on cities affected by the outbreak.

France searching for people who had contact with coronavirus patients

France’s health minister Agnès Buzyn has said authorities are working to get in touch with anyone who had contact with the two patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus in recent days.

“We are in the process of reassembling the history of these positive patients so as to get in touch with the people they have met,” Ms Buzyn said, according to Le Monde.

“Today we have the first European cases, probably because we developed the test very quickly and are able to identify them,” she added.

“You have to treat an epidemic like you treat a fire - quickly locate the source.”

The minister added that she was unable to give details about a patient who has been hospitalised with the virus in Paris.

Source: EPA

Nearly 1,000 virus cases confirmed globally

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has risen to 939 after France announced two cases earlier this evening, according to CNBC’s Eunice Yoon.

After emerging in Asia, the outbreak has now spread across the world to Europe and North America.

China has placed travel restrictions on another two cities, bringing the total to 16 and putting nearly 46 million people on lock-down, over the coronavirus outbreak.

The Independent understands that public health officials are making attempts to trace as many as 2,000 people who have arrived in the UK from Wuhan - the Chinese city where the virus was first identified - over the past fortnight.

When asked about the figure, Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service for Public Health England, told The Independent:

“As an additional precaution, we are endeavouring to ensure that all passengers that have arrived from Wuhan in the last fortnight have the information they require to seek help if they begin to experience symptoms.”

Russia’s tourism watchdog has recommended travel operators stop sales of packages to China over concerns about the spread of coronavirus, according to Reuters.

Teacher held in quarantine praises medical staff who 'looked like spacemen'

An art teacher who spent 27 hours in quarantine for suspected coronavirus in a British hospital has praised medics who treated him.

Michael Hope has been given the all-clear after he was placed in quarantine when he reported feeling unwell following his return home from teaching in Wuhan, China.

“The care was exceptional. It was scary being there but they made me feel quite relaxed,” Mr Hope said.

“They were very human even though they looked like spacemen.”

The teacher commented that he felt like the film character ET while he was being treated by the medics, who wore masks to prevent the suspected virus from spreading.

Mr Hope said his thoughts were also with his colleagues in China, who have been stuck in the locked-down city.

“I was lucky to get out,” he added.
Undated picture of art teacher Michael Hope, who spent 27 hours in quarantine with suspected coronavirus (Source: PA)

Additional reporting by PA

China has restricted travel to a 14th city, Yichang, in the province of Hubei where the virus was first identified.

Yichang has a population of more than 4 million people and is the one of the largest city in the province.

More details from chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty on the outbreak

When asked if checks would be upscaled to include people who have arrived on any flights from China, Mr Whitty said: “We're trying to get ourselves to a place where we can provide a sustainable system that can be scaled to whatever the outbreak looks like. 

“It may be that this spreads, it may be that this goes down over time and we need to be ready to respond to either of those.”

The medical officer has also encouraged anyone who arrives in the UK from Wuhan to seek advice if they feel ill.

However, Mr Whitty added that the virus is currently looking less dangerous than other outbreaks in recent years.

“At the minute, it definitely looks like this is a lot less dangerous if you get it than Ebola, and a lot less dangerous than the recent coronavirus MERS, and it's probably less dangerous if you get it than SARS virus,” he said.

“What we don't know is how far it's going to spread, that really is something we need to plan for all eventualities.”

Additional reporting by PA

A woman who travelled to France from Wuhan has been tracked down after boasting about evading a health check at the airport, Zoe Tidman writes:

Chinese ambassador reportedly got in contact, spokesperson says

A second confirmed case of the coronavirus has been identified in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

The case was diagnosed in Chicago, Illinois.

The agency said it has 63 patients under investigation from 22 states, with two confirmed positive cases and 11 negative, so far.

Coronavirus potentially capable of spreading from person to person and between cities

Coronavirus appears to be capable of spreading from person to person and between cities, according to new findings in the journal Lancet.

In two studies, scientists have reported the virus can cause symptoms similar to SARS, such as fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath.

However, one study has noted key differences, such as the absence of upper respiratory tract symptoms (e.g. sneezing or a sore throat) and a lack of intestinal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea).

Researchers came to the findings by analysing the first 41 patients infected by the virus.

All patients admitted to hospital had pneumonia and most had a fever (98 per cent), cough (76 per cent) and fatigue (44 per cent), the researchers said.

The original source of infection remains unknown, but researchers noted that many of the cases have been linked to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China.

“Controlling the epidemic will also rely on isolating patients, tracing and quarantining contacts as early as possible, educating the public on both food and personal hygiene, and ensuring healthcare workers comply with infection control,” Professor Kwok-Yung Yuen, who led the second study, said.

Additional reporting by PA