One of UK coronovirus cases is a student at the University of York


The University of York has moved to defuse fears that the deadly coronavirus is spreading throughout campus after one of their students was revealed as the first infection patient on British soil. 

Along with a relative, the unnamed student has been whisked into quarantine following their positive test yesterday.

Aware that the virus is infectious before a victim has even developed symptoms, university chiefs could not rule out person-to-person transmission over the past week.

News of the possible contagion risk which has killed 259 in China appeared to send a chill up the backs of some worried students who were pictured wearing protective masks as they trooped to classes.

To allay the sense of panic, the university established a hotline for anyone with coronavirus concerns while the Vice-Chancellor moved to squash the alarm.  

The pair of patients two members of the same family, are being treated at a specialist unit in Newcastle. They had checked into the Staycity apartment-hotel in York on Wednesday and were taken to hospital that evening. 

It comes as the number of confirmed cases in China rose to 11,791 today, surpassing the number in the 2002-03 outbreak of Sars.

In a statement today, a spokeswoman for the University of York said the risk of the infection being passed on to other people on campus is low. But she could not fully confirm whether the student had come into contact with anybody on campus while they had symptoms.

Those who have been in close contact with the student or their relative – within two metres of those infected for at least 15 minutes – will get advice provided officials are able to get in touch with them.

University of York Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery said he wished to provide reassurance for students and staff.

A student is picture at the University of York campus on Saturday afternoon wearing a face mask following the revelation that someone from the university was the first person to test positive for the coronavirus in the country

A student is picture at the University of York campus on Saturday afternoon wearing a face mask following the revelation that someone from the university was the first person to test positive for the coronavirus in the country

One of the first two people to test positive for coronavirus in the UK is a student at the University of York, it has been revealed

One of the first two people to test positive for coronavirus in the UK is a student at the University of York, it has been revealed

Students wear face masks around campus at the University of York today as fears heightened over the spread of coronavirus

Students wear face masks around campus at the University of York today as fears heightened over the spread of coronavirus 

Speaking on Saturday afternoon, he said: ‘I want to reassure our students, staff and the wider community that we’re working closely with the lead agency Public Health England and other agencies to manage this situation.’

He said the university, which is home to students and staff from more than 140 countries, is ‘very much an international community’.

Stressing that the university is open and will continue to operate as normal, he added: ‘I want to reiterate to students, staff, parents and visitors that we’re working with our partners across the city to ensure that York and the university remain a safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit.’

Elsewhere, the University of Derby was also isolating students that have returned from Wuhan for 14 days following advice from Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. The university would not reveal where the students are being isolated – whether it in halls or elsewhere.

And in Wirral, Merseyside, the 83 Britons repatriated from the crisis-hit Chinese city last night are beginning their first day in quarantine – where they will be holed up in the building at the side of Arrowe Park Hospital for 14 days.

Those in isolation have been sharing glimpses of life inside the quarantine zone, with one giving a guided tour of his apartment block – complete with television, food, oven and more – while another shared an image of himself with a surgical mask on while sitting inside his room.

A total of 201 tests for coronavirus in the UK have been confirmed negative, the Department of Health said in the latest figures released this afternoon.

Other developments in the outbreak today include:

  • China’s Premier Li Keqiang has asked the EU for medical supplies to help battle the major coronavirus outbreak
  • A British father stranded in coronavirus-stricken Wuhan with his four-week-old baby fears the food may run out
  • Spain confirmed its first case of coronavirus this morning as the worldwide death toll for the killer bug hit 259
  • The number of confirmed cases in China rose to 11,791, surpassing the number in the 2002-03 outbreak of Sars 
  • The US yesterday declared a public health emergency amid growing concern over the worldwide virus outbreak
  • Donald Trump signed an order barring entry to foreign nationals who have visited China within the last 14 days
  • Apple has said it will close all of its official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until February 9, 2020
  • China has asked couples to delay their nuptials from February 2 this year. It is being considered a lucky date for wedding ceremonies because the sequence of numbers ‘02022020’ reads the same backwards as forwards
  • Families in China have also been asked to scale down funeral services to help slow the spread of viral outbreak
University of York Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery (pictured) said he wished to provide reassurance for students and staff

University of York Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery (pictured) said he wished to provide reassurance for students and staff

In a statement on Saturday a spokesman for the university said the risk of the infection being passed on to other people on campus is low

In a statement on Saturday a spokesman for the university said the risk of the infection being passed on to other people on campus is low

Dramatic footage has emerged of hundreds of Chinese students queuing to get face masks from a chemist to protect themselves from the coronavirus

The students formed a line all day near the small chemist in Liverpool, near the Royal Liverpool Hospital yesterday afternoon

Dramatic footage has emerged of hundreds of Chinese students queuing to get face masks from a chemist to protect themselves from the coronavirus. The students formed a line all day near the small chemist in Liverpool, near the Royal Liverpool Hospital yesterday afternoon

Almost 12,000 people in 24 countries and territories have now been diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus and 259 people have died, all in China

Almost 12,000 people in 24 countries and territories have now been diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus and 259 people have died, all in China

People in the window of an apartment block at Arrowe Park Hospital this afternoon where British citizens flown in from Wuhan are being quarantined

People in the window of an apartment block at Arrowe Park Hospital this afternoon where British citizens flown in from Wuhan are being quarantined

Supplies including fresh milk, bread and crisps are wheeled into the accommodation block housing the quarantined Brits from coronavirus hit China at the Arrowe Park Hospital site

Supplies including fresh milk, bread and crisps are wheeled into the accommodation block housing the quarantined Brits from coronavirus hit China at the Arrowe Park Hospital site

Members of the public spotted wearing face protection masks in Newcastle today the day after it was revealed that two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus are being treated at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary

Members of the public spotted wearing face protection masks in Newcastle today the day after it was revealed that two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus are being treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary

Members of the public spotted wearing face protection masks in Newcastle today the day after it was revealed that two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus are being treated at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital

Members of the public spotted wearing face protection masks in Newcastle today the day after it was revealed that two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus are being treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital

A man wears a mask in Newcastle upon Tyne, near where two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus elsewhere in England are bring treated in the city's Royal Victoria Infirmary's high consequence infectious disease unit

A man wears a mask in Newcastle upon Tyne, near where two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus elsewhere in England are bring treated in the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary’s high consequence infectious disease unit

A woman wears a mask in Newcastle upon Tyne, near where two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus this week

A woman wears a mask in Newcastle upon Tyne, near where two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus this week

Heidi Fraser-Krauss, Deputy Registrar and Director of Corporate and Information Services at the University of York, said: ‘Public Health England (PHE) have informed us that one of the two individuals to have tested positive for coronavirus is a student at the University of York.

‘We understand this development will cause concern and anxiety among our students, staff, and the wider community.

‘PHE has advised us that the risk of infection being passed to others on campus is low.

‘Current information from PHE suggests that the student did not come into contact with anybody on campus whilst they had symptoms, but investigations are ongoing to fully establish this.’

She added: ‘Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and family, along with the health and continued wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors.

‘We are working closely with NHS services and Public Health England who are taking the lead in responding to the case. The University is required to follow their direction in all matters related to this situation.

‘The University continues to operate normally. We are monitoring the situation closely and we continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our University community.

‘If people have any concerns about their health in relation to suspected coronavirus we ask that they follow current PHE advice and contact NHS 111.

‘The University has set up a call centre over the weekend for anyone who has any further concerns or inquiries. The telephone number is 01904 809571.’ 

What should students at the University of York do? 

A student at the University of York has tested positive for coronavirus – so what is their advice to students?

The University said it has been advised by Public Health England (PHE) that the risk of infection on campus is low, because it is not thought the student came into contact with anyone there while they had symptoms.

But, recognising the ‘concern and anxiety’ the news will cause, the university has set up a special helpline.

Anyone with concern about their health in relation to coronavirus is advised to follow current advice from the PHE and call the NHS non-emergency line on 111.

The university said it continues to operate normally while monitoring the situation closely.

A spokesman said: ‘We understand this development will cause concern and anxiety among our students, staff, and the wider community.

‘PHE has advised us that the risk of infection being passed to others on campus is low.

‘Current information from PHE suggests that the student did not come into contact with anybody on campus whilst they had symptoms, but investigations are ongoing to fully establish this.

‘Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and family, along with the health and continued wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors.

‘We are working closely with NHS services and Public Health England who are taking the lead in responding to the case. ‘

  • Concerned students can call the special helpline this weekend on 01904 809571.

Students said the outbreak of the virus had resulted in racism towards Chinese students in York.

Nick Lunn, 23, a physics student from Skipton, North Yorkshire, said: ‘If you go through university pages on Facebook there is a clear racial sentiment.

‘People don’t feel comfortable around them [Chinese students] and it’s not right.

‘I’ve seen some people look genuinely scared around a Chinese student wearing a mask.’

Chay Quinn, 21, from Dartford, Kent, who is the editor of the York Vision student paper, said: ‘I hope this isn’t used a platform to marginalise Chinese students.

‘They already feel like they can’t engage with the rest of the student population.’

He added he felt the university didn’t inform students as quickly as they could.

He said: ‘I wish they would have told us sooner because we needed to know.

‘PHE need to let us know why it’s a low risk so we can understand and calm down.’

A student at York, who asked to remain anonymous, told MailOnline: ‘The university have been sending out the occasional email and informed us this morning about the infected student who attended York. But they told us the risk of it spreading was very low.

‘I highly doubt this though and feel like the university are trying to downplay everything going on for our own sanity.

‘We’ve barely been informed about anything that will happen to protect us. My seminars and lectures are all still running where hundreds of students gather in small lecture rooms. A very likely place to spread diseases. I feel like no one is really addressing the matter with us properly either and we are being left in the dark about what is happening.’

At the University of Derby, a spokeswoman confirmed to MailOnline a number of students had been ‘self-isolating’ for 14 days but noted all were ‘currently fit and well.

She said: ‘We have a very small number of students who travelled back from Wuhan before the travel restrictions were put in place. They are self-isolating for the required 14 day period and are being supported by our student living and wellbeing teams. All are currently fit and well.

‘Our Student Wellbeing team is in regular contact with Public Health England. We are ensuring that all our staff and students are aware of their advice and are providing frequent updates.

‘In common with all other UK universities, we are in close contact with our Chinese students both here in the UK and those who remain in China due to the travel restrictions.’

The hotel firm where the two confirmed British coronavirus patients were staying has said the apartment involved has been thoroughly disinfected and PHE has been providing support.

The two patients are being treated by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in its specialist Airborne High Consequences Infectious Disease Centre (HCID). 

Hubei province residents, disembarking a chartered Xiamen Airline plane, arrive at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China today

Hubei province residents, disembarking a chartered Xiamen Airline plane, arrive at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China today

People arrive from the Hubei province at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 1

People arrive from the Hubei province at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 1

Customers queue up to buy masks amid the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong. Across the globe people have been buying up masks in a bid to protect themselves from the virus

Customers queue up to buy masks amid the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong. Across the globe people have been buying up masks in a bid to protect themselves from the virus

An employee uses a thermometer to check the temperature of a customer at a restaurant following the outbreak of coronavirus in Hong Kong

An employee uses a thermometer to check the temperature of a customer at a restaurant following the outbreak of coronavirus in Hong Kong

French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, get off the plane at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, France yesterday (images were released by French officials today)

French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, get off the plane at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, France yesterday (images were released by French officials today)

Notices referring to the coronavirus are pinned to the door of the Family Practice Western College in Hampton Road in Bristol. The surgery appears to be closed despite the sign saying it is open on Saturday mornings

Notices referring to the coronavirus are pinned to the door of the Family Practice Western College in Hampton Road in Bristol. The surgery appears to be closed despite the sign saying it is open on Saturday mornings

This is the moment two medics wearing heavy-duty hazmat suits sweep through the lobby of a York hotel where a couple of Chinese coronavirus victims were staying

This is the moment two medics wearing heavy-duty hazmat suits sweep through the lobby of a York hotel where a couple of Chinese coronavirus victims were staying

The pair - two members of the same family - are being treated at a specialist unit in Newcastle

The pair – two members of the same family – are being treated at a specialist unit in Newcastle

Wuhan evacuee Ben Kavanagh last night shared an image from inside the quarantine as he and 82 others spend their first night locked in a nurses' accommodation block

Wuhan evacuee Ben Kavanagh last night shared an image from inside the quarantine as he and 82 others spend their first night locked in a nurses’ accommodation block

Workmen move a fencing panel at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, outside the block where British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China are being quarantined

Workmen move a fencing panel at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, outside the block where British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China are being quarantined

Police officers patrol at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, outside the block where British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China are being quarantined

Police officers patrol at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, outside the block where British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China are being quarantined

Supplies, including fresh milk, bread & crisps, are wheeled into the accommodation block housing the quarantined Brits from coronavirus hit China at the Arrowe Park Hospital site in Merseyside today

Supplies, including fresh milk, bread & crisps, are wheeled into the accommodation block housing the quarantined Brits from coronavirus hit China at the Arrowe Park Hospital site in Merseyside today

It comes after dramatic footage emerged yesterday showing medics in hazmat suits entering the Staycity hotel in York where the two Chinese tourists were.

It is believed the medics were deployed to the hotel as part of a cranked-up manhunt to find anyone who came into contact with the two coronavirus patients.

Separately, the Department of Health confirmed it was still trying to contact 438 travellers who have arrived here from Wuhan in the past three weeks.  An appeal went out this week urging them to self-isolate for 14 days.

British family stranded in Wuhan with four-week-old baby say food is running out after they failed to catch escape flight to UK 

Adam Bridgeman, 33, his Chinese wife Su and son Austin are stuck in the quarantined city after they were given just two hours notice to escape on Thursday.

He had pledged to stay after he was told seats on a plane to RAF Brize Norton were only for British citizens – meaning his spouse and child would have to stay behind.

But he received a call at 11.15pm Thursday saying the family could fly back to the UK – but only had until 1am Friday to get to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.

Adam Bridgeman, 33, his Chinese wife Su and son Austin are stuck in the quarantined city after they were given just two hours notice to escape

 Adam Bridgeman, 33, his Chinese wife Su and son Austin are stuck in the quarantined city after they were given just two hours notice to escape

Mr Bridgeman said it was impossible to clear their flat in time – but the Foreign Office called again saying the rescue flight was delayed and sent a taxi for them.

By the time the car turned up it was too late for check-in, leaving them stranded.

The father, whose son was born two days before the coronavirus outbreak, is now worried about the health of his baby boy.

He told the Times: ‘The main concern then is that Austin will need some medical attention.

‘We don’t want to go to a hospital because of the virus. Most shops are shut. The variety of food we have access to is noticeably reducing.’

Ben Williams, who had been in Wuhan getting married and on honeymoon, said he had to leave his new Chinese wife behind after being given short notice to get to the plane.

He told the BBC there had been delays in getting paperwork and mistakes in communication between embassies.

He said: ‘By the time we got out the door it was very much a close call to get to the meeting point to get on this flight and sadly my wife has nothing prepared and it wasn’t right for her to enter the UK with essentially nothing.’

The hotel remained open on Friday because officials reportedly refused to tell the owners their guests were the coronavirus patients.

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, blasted the Government’s ‘worrying’ response after it emerged the hotel has remained open since a Chinese man fell ill there on Wednesday night and rooms can still be booked.

Fris Ilfifi, 30, who recently arrived from Saudi Arabia to study for a chemistry PhD at York University, was among those staying at the hotel when medics rushed in.

She told the Sun: ‘I saw the man. He was sitting at reception. Two medics went to his room and tested him.

‘When I checked at reception, they told me it was normal flu. Guests were not in masks. Everything was carrying on as normal. 

‘I was scared then, and now. I’m trying to find somewhere else to stay.’ 

York’s rich history makes it a hugely popular stop for visitors on tours of Britain and Europe.

Concerned guests began to check out yesterday afternoon after learning of the coronavirus link at the aparthotel, just outside the Roman walls of the tourist hotspot.

Michiela Saunders, 26, of Bishop Auckland, demanded a refund and checked out and has spoke of her fury that no-one warned her of the cases.

Other experts have warned ministers need to carry out ‘detective work’ in order to track down people who have been in contact with the confirmed cases.

The World Health Organisation has warned the never-before-seen virus – mainly spread through coughs and sneezes – can survive on surfaces such as tables and cutlery.

Around 2,000 people are thought to have jetted into Britain from Wuhan – the deserted city at the heart of the crisis – in the past three weeks, with hundreds still believed to be in the country.

It came as the UK Government’s evacuation flight landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire yesterday afternoon containing 83 Britons.

One of the evacuees from coronavirus-hit Wuhan today shared a glimpse of what life is like inside quarantine as he and 82 others spend their first day inside a nurses’ accommodation block in the Wirral. 

Matt Raw, who was part of a group flown in from China on Friday over the coronavirus outbreak, revealed that he and others staying in the building can ‘go outside for fresh air’ and are treated to ‘anything we ask for’.    

The Briton, who is staying in the block alongside his wife, will be holed up in the building at the side of Arrowe Park Hospital for 14 days – after which they will be allowed to leave provided they are clear of the virus. 

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Mr Raw said: ‘Every single thing that we have asked for we get. There is an army of people here who are looking after us extremely well. They are running out and buying everything. 

‘They’ve bought us televisions, radios. You name it. Anything we’ve asked for, they’ve bought for us.’

Also staying in Mr Raw’s four-bedroom apartment is his mother, who has her own room, and a mother and her daughter, who also have another room – leaving one empty room in the flat.

‘There is a another room, I think it is a quarantine bedroom, in the event that somebody does become sick,’ Mr Raw added.

‘We are allowed to have contact with anybody within the facility as long as we’re wearing face masks. We can go outside and get some fresh air. 

‘We can open the windows and get some fresh air. We’re being looked after to the absolute maximum that anyone can possibly expect.’ 

Matt Raw, who was part of a group flown in from China on Friday over the coronavirus outbreak, revealed that he and other quarantined passengers can 'go outside for fresh air' and are treated to 'anything we ask for'

Matt Raw, who was part of a group flown in from China on Friday over the coronavirus outbreak, revealed that he and other quarantined passengers can ‘go outside for fresh air’ and are treated to ‘anything we ask for’

The Briton shared images of inside the quarantined room, showing toiletries and a brand new television left on a chest of drawers in the building

The Briton shared images of inside the quarantined room, showing toiletries and a brand new television left on a chest of drawers in the building

Mr Raw revealed that he can cook for himself inside the apartment, which he shares with his wife, mother and a woman and her daughter. There is a dishwasher, toaster and oven included in the apartment

Mr Raw revealed that he can cook for himself inside the apartment, which he shares with his wife, mother and a woman and her daughter. There is a dishwasher, toaster and oven included in the apartment

A woman and her daughter are also staying alongside Mr Raw in the hospital accommodation block. The woman asked to say hello to her husband live on the show

A woman and her daughter are also staying alongside Mr Raw in the hospital accommodation block. The woman asked to say hello to her husband live on the show

Workmen clean dirty apartment blocks at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral this morning, where British citizens flown out of Wuhan will be quarantined for at least a fortnight

Workmen clean dirty apartment blocks at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral this morning, where British citizens flown out of Wuhan will be quarantined for at least a fortnight

Cleaners use a jet wash to clean the outside of a block at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside today. The outside of the building appears as if it hasn't been washed in some time - but is now suddenly getting a sprucing up as British evacuees from Wuhan are set to stay for 14 days

Cleaners use a jet wash to clean the outside of a block at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside today. The outside of the building appears as if it hasn’t been washed in some time – but is now suddenly getting a sprucing up as British evacuees from Wuhan are set to stay for 14 days

Coaches used to transport British nationals from RAF Brize Norton to Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside sit parked in the hospital's staff car park today. The coaches where used to transport Britons who are now under quarantine following their return from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

Coaches used to transport British nationals from RAF Brize Norton to Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside sit parked in the hospital’s staff car park today. The coaches where used to transport Britons who are now under quarantine following their return from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

Number of Chinese students at UK universities has soared in recent years

The number of Chinese students at UK universities has soared in recent years, and they are of increasing importance to the nation’s higher education system.

In 2018/19, China sent more students to study at UK institutions than any other overseas country, according to data published earlier this month by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa).

Overall, a third of all international students, from countries outside the EU, are now from the Asian nation.

Chinese students are of ‘phenomenal importance’ to UK higher education, second only to British students, one expert said.

Unlike tuition fees for UK and EU undergraduates, which are capped at a maximum of £9,250, charges for those coming from nations outside the EU – including China – vary, and are typically considerably higher, as are those for post-graduate study.

An analysis of official data, published by the Times Higher Education magazine, found that in 2017/18, Chinese student fees were worth around £1.7 billion to UK higher education.

At five institutions, the analysis calculated more than 10% of all income came from these students.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said: ‘Chinese students are phenomenally important, second only to British students in terms of importance.’

During Theresa May’s tenure as Home Secretary and then Prime Minister, overall demand from international students for a UK university education fell, Mr Hillman said, in part due to visa rules.

But while numbers from many places, including the Indian sub-continent, stalled, demand from China bucked the trend, with numbers growing, he added.

‘We are now more reliant on Chinese students because they are a bigger proportion of all students coming here,’ Mr Hillman said, adding that the expectation was that the numbers would continue to grow.

The latest Hesa data showed that in 2018/19, 35% of all non-EU students were from China.

This proportion had increased by a third over a five-year period.

In 2018/19, 120,385 Chinese students came to the UK to study, up from 89,540 in 2014/15.

A number of UK institutions now have close links with China and its universities.

Both Nottingham University and Liverpool University have set up campuses in the country, while Birmingham University now accepts the Chinese national college entrance exam, known as Gaokao, for top Chinese students who want to join its undergraduate courses.

 

In a video blog from inside his room Mr Raw also told the Guardian: ‘They’ve actually put a bag here containing various essentials that we might need – underwear and things that people might not have had time to pack.

‘It’s a perfectly nice room. We’ve got all the essentials that we need.’

The evacuees have been supplied with food, and laundry facilities, and have access to the internet and a team of medical staff who will closely monitor their conditions.

Kitchens are available for those who wish to self-cater, and families are being kept together, with games consoles, toys and cots provided.

Coaches which transported the evacuees were seen parked in a fenced-off area of the staff car park at the hospital on Saturday morning. It is understood they will be taken away to be decontaminated later.

In another development on Saturday the Foreign Office announced it is withdrawing some staff from China.

It said essential staff will remain to continue ‘critical work’ but warned that its ability to provide help to Britons in the country may be ‘limited’.

UK ministers have said the Government will send another plane to Wuhan to rescue British citizens if needed and the PA news agency understands that the Foreign Office (FCO) is working with EU countries to add British passengers to any rescue flights they may charter back from the city.

One Briton in Wuhan has told of his fears of being left stranded after deciding he could not leave his wife behind.

Chris Hill, 38, from Sunderland said: ‘My wife is a nurse and is not able to get the time off and will not abandon her parents. I am not willing to leave her behind and take my daughter. It’s either we all go or we all stay in Wuhan.’

He added: ‘I had to make a choice which I did. My only worry now is after everybody pulls out the FCO will forget about those who are staying and not give any support for us.’

He said the departure of embassy staff was ‘not a good sight to see really, is it?’

Some reports on social media raised concerns that Paddington station had been cordoned off on Friday night due to a suspected coronavirus case.

But while the London Ambulance Service said two people had been taken to hospital from the station, it is understood the patients are not suspected of having the virus and the station was operational as normal on Saturday. 

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed that of the Sars epidemic, although death rates are lower.

Qatar Airways has announced the suspension of flights to mainland China from February 3, following in the footsteps of other major airlines including British Airways.

This photo taken on January 31, 2020 shows people disembarking from a Xiamen Airlines plane after arriving from the Thai capital Bangkok at Tianhe airport in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province

This photo taken on January 31, 2020 shows people disembarking from a Xiamen Airlines plane after arriving from the Thai capital Bangkok at Tianhe airport in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province

People coming from the Hubei province walk into Jiujiang after passing through a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus

People coming from the Hubei province walk into Jiujiang after passing through a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus

French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, get off the plane at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, France yesterday in images released by officials today

French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, get off the plane at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, France yesterday in images released by officials today

Staff members, wearing protective suits, watch as a plane carrying 32 Mongolian citizens for their evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan arrives in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia today

Staff members, wearing protective suits, watch as a plane carrying 32 Mongolian citizens for their evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan arrives in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia today

Foreign travellers wearing masks check their flight's departure information at Beijing International Airport in Beijing, China as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus

Foreign travellers wearing masks check their flight’s departure information at Beijing International Airport in Beijing, China as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus

Security guards walk in formation after changing shift at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus

Security guards walk in formation after changing shift at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus

A plane carrying French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, lands at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, China in a handout picture released today

A plane carrying French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, lands at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, China in a handout picture released today

Passengers wearing masks, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, are checked by Iraqi Health Ministry employees upon their arrival at Basra airport, in Basra, Iraq

Passengers wearing masks, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, are checked by Iraqi Health Ministry employees upon their arrival at Basra airport, in Basra, Iraq

Chinese couples are BANNED from getting married on lucky date tomorrow 

China has asked couples to delay wedding ceremonies tomorrow and scale down funerals to prevent the spread of infection. 

February 2 is considered a lucky date for wedding ceremonies this year because the sequence of numbers ‘02022020’ is a palindrome, meaning it reads the same backwards as forwards.     

The appeal came after the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak soared to 259 with the total number of cases at 11,946 worldwide.

‘Where marriage registrations have been announced or promised for February 2 this year, you are advised to cancel it and explain the situation to others,’ a civil affairs ministry statement said. 

Beijing, Shanghai and other cities had earlier decided to offer wedding registry services on the date, despite it falling on a Sunday when offices are usually closed.

The ministry said it would temporarily halt marriage counselling services and asked the public not to hold wedding banquets.

It also said funerals should be held in a ‘simple and expeditious manner to avoid gatherings of people’ and the bodies of any victims of the coronavirus should be cremated as soon as possible.

Staff handling funerals should wear protective gear and carry out temperature checks to avoid risking infection, the statement added.

Many other countries, including Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand have said they plan to quarantine evacuees for two weeks to avoid spread of the virus.

Russia, Mongolia and North Korea have also announced that they will close their land borders with China to guard against the spread of the virus. 

The virus emerged in early December and has been traced to a market in Hubei’s capital Wuhan that sold wild animals. It spread globally on the wings of a Lunar New Year holiday rush that sees hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel domestically and overseas.

Yesterday, Britain confirmed its first two cases – on the same day dozens of British evacuees from Wuhan arrived in the country – at a York hotel where both members of the same family fell ill.   

Dramatic footage from the budget Staycity showed medics in hazmat suits marching through an eerily deserted reception area, despite the £49-a-night tourist spot remaining open to guests. 

Officials are trying to trace 438 other air passengers who’ve recently arrived from Wuhan as medics in hazmat suits were seen entering the York hotel where the two people with confirmed cases were staying. 

One of the two coronovirus patients has now been revealed to be a student at the University of York. In a statement today, a spokesman for the university said the risk of the infection being passed on to other people on campus is low.

The virus’s rapid spread in two months prompted the World Health Organization on Thursday to declare it a global emergency. Most cases reported so far have been people who visited China or their family members. 

On Friday, the United States declared a public health emergency and President Donald Trump signed an order barring entry to foreign nationals, other than immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents, who visited China within the last 14 days, which scientists say is the virus’s longest incubation period.  

A woman wears a protective mask in light of the coronavirus outbreak in China as she walks at the Trocadero esplanade in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France today

A woman wears a protective mask in light of the coronavirus outbreak in China as she walks at the Trocadero esplanade in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France today

Chinese policemen wear masks and eyewears as they patrol at Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, China today

Chinese policemen wear masks and eyewears as they patrol at Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, China today

A soldier closes the gate at the entrance of a military base in Germersheim, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany today where German citizens evacuated from Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, will be held in quarantine

A soldier closes the gate at the entrance of a military base in Germersheim, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany today where German citizens evacuated from Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, will be held in quarantine

At an entrance of a shopping mall, a consumer is required to have his body temperature checked before entering in Beijing, China

At an entrance of a shopping mall, a consumer is required to have his body temperature checked before entering in Beijing, China

A room is pictured at the military base in Germersheim, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany today where German citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, will be held in quarantine

A room is pictured at the military base in Germersheim, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany today where German citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, will be held in quarantine

A journalist takes a photo of a bathroom at the military base in Germersheim, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany where German citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, will be held in quarantine

A journalist takes a photo of a bathroom at the military base in Germersheim, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany where German citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, will be held in quarantine

A plane carrying French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, lands at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, France today

A plane carrying French nationals repatriated from Wuhan, China, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, lands at Istres Air Base, near Marseille, France today

Coronavirus panic at London’s Paddington station as staff don masks ‘and cordon off station as two people are taken ill’ 

Two passengers were taken ill at London’s Paddington Station last night sparking fears that coronavirus has hit the capital. 

A woman was seen sitting on a row of seats in the station where she was surrounded by masked rail workers.

Staff appeared to be standing at a safe distance from the passenger who fell ill shortly before 11pm. 

A passenger tweeted this photograph last night of a woman sitting on a row of seats surrounded by masked rail workers

A passenger tweeted this photograph last night of a woman sitting on a row of seats surrounded by masked rail workers

The incident has raised concerns that the virus has reached London just hours after two Chinese tourists tested positive for Wuhan coronavirus during a holiday to York. 

Paddington Station remained open while the passengers were treated by paramedics. 

Emergency services confirmed two people were taken to hospital but refused comment on fears of coronavirus. 

Mack Grenfell tweeted: ‘London Paddington station being cordoned off due to a suspected #coronavirus case; what looks like a solo Asian traveller.’    

China has also flown two planeloads of its citizens back home to Hubei, the locked-down province at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak where they were greeted by authorities in full-body protective suits.

A Xiamen Airlines charter flight from Bangkok touched down late Friday in the provincial capital Wuhan, where the infection is believed to have originated in a market that sold wild animals.

And today Spanish authorities confirmed that a German tourist was taken ill with the infection while on holiday in the Canary Islands. 

Britain and France are among 20 countries outside of mainland China to confirm cases of the virus as tech giant Apple has confirmed closure of all major stores and offices in the country.    

British evacuee Mr Raw is just one of a number to have shared their experiences inside the quarantine zone, after others last night posted images of themselves on social media wearing face masks. 

Accommodation for the quarantined Britons – who are separate to the two confirmed coronavirus cases in Britain – was yesterday kitted out with bedding, games consoles and Barbies ahead of their 14 days in quarantine. 

The evacuees were driven to the NHS staff accommodation blocks at the side of Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral just after 7.15pm after travelling 180 miles from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. 

Ben Kavanagh was among those taking to social media last night to share their experiences of arriving at the hospital. 

He posted a picture of himself wearing a mask to Instagram with the caption: ‘We are all now safe in quarantine. Everyone has been fantastic, the airline, the stewards/stewardesses, the bus drivers, the NHS. Been travelling for 40 hours. I am mostly grease at this point. I will try to reply to everyone’s kind messages tomorrow.’     

The coronavirus, which has infected nearly 12,000 people and killed 259 – all in China – is known to spread easily through coughs and sneezes and close contact, and people may be contagious even if they feel well.  

**Are you a student at the University of York? Get in touch using [email protected]**

Desperate to get TO Wuhan: Chinese flights full of locals land back in virus lockdown zone where people are queuing for two days to see a doctor

China has flown two planeloads of its citizens back home to Hubei, the locked-down province at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak where they were greeted by authorities in full-body protective suits.

A Xiamen Airlines charter flight from Bangkok touched down late Friday in the provincial capital Wuhan, where the infection is believed to have originated in a market that sold wild animals.

Health authorities in white, full-body protective gear stood by the cabin door as the plane’s 73 passengers disembarked, smiling through face masks and waving to news photographers.

Health officials wearing full protective clothing greeted passengers arriving on a Xiamen Airlines flight from Thailand to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport

Health officials wearing full protective clothing greeted passengers arriving on a Xiamen Airlines flight from Thailand to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport 

The Chinese residents were evacuated from Thailand on a specially chartered jet

The Chinese residents were evacuated from Thailand on a specially chartered jet

The people on board the charter flight arrived in an area which has been locked down by Chinese authorities in an effort to prevent a further spread of the Coronavirus

The people on board the charter flight arrived in an area which has been locked down by Chinese authorities in an effort to prevent a further spread of the Coronavirus 

A second Xiamen flight landed soon afterwards carrying Hubei residents from Kota Kinabalu, a popular coastal tourist destination in Malaysia.

China’s foreign ministry said earlier on Friday that the country would bring Wuhan residents back from overseas ‘as soon as possible’ due to ‘the practical difficulties that Chinese citizens from Hubei, especially Wuhan, have faced overseas’.

The move came after a more than 30 airlines worldwide announced they were halting or reducing flights to China as the country struggles to contain the spread of the epidemic.

China’s aviation agency had said there were 117 nationals from Hubei province in Bangkok and 100 in Kota Kinabalu who are ‘willing to take the chartered flights back to Wuhan as soon as possible’.

More than 30 airlines worldwide announced they were halting or reducing flights to China as the country struggles to contain the spread of the epidemic

More than 30 airlines worldwide announced they were halting or reducing flights to China as the country struggles to contain the spread of the epidemic

This woman seems to be happy that she has returned home - despite the threat posed by the virus

This woman seems to be happy that she has returned home – despite the threat posed by the virus 

This was despite the fact that Wuhan and surrounding cities have been locked down by authorities for more than a week, effectively trapping more than 50 million people in their homes after a near-blanket transport ban.

Nearly all of the 259 people killed in the outbreak so far were in Hubei.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed in Wuhan. AFP reporters saw long queues, with some patients saying they lined up for two days to see a doctor.

The charter flights prompted a flurry of discussion on Chinese social media.

‘These people probably don’t want to go back,’ said one, while another questioned if residents should be returned to Hubei if they were not infected.

China has advised its citizens to postpone trips abroad and cancelled overseas group tours

China has advised its citizens to postpone trips abroad and cancelled overseas group tours

Several other countries have advised against all travel to China because of the threat involved

Several other countries have advised against all travel to China because of the threat involved 

China has advised its citizens to postpone trips abroad and cancelled overseas group tours.

Several countries including the United States, Germany, Britain and Japan have urged their citizens to avoid travel there.

The US has also declared a national emergency, temporarily barring entry to foreigners who had been in China within the past two weeks.

Neighbouring Myanmar turned a plane back to China on Friday with most passengers still on board – including French and American citizens – after one man suspected of contracting the coronavirus was taken to hospital. 

Inside the lungs of a coronavirus victim: Shocking X-rays show effect that killer virus had on 33-year-old’s vital organs

Shocking X-ray scans of 33-year-old show the effect that coronavirus has had on her lungs.

The woman arrived at hospital in Lanzhou, China, with a temperature of 102F and ‘coarse’ breathing after suffering from a cough for five days. 

She had travelled to Lanzhou a day before her symptoms had started and works in Wuhan.   

Doctors diagnosed her with the new strain of coronavirus after her white blood cell count was low which determined an infection. 

The white patches appear more pronounced in the second X-ray, labelled B, which was taken three days after the first and further into her treatment

The white patches appear more pronounced in the second X-ray, labelled B, which was taken three days after the first and further into her treatment

The scans show white patches in the lower corners of the lungs which indicates what radiologists call ground glass opacity – the partial filling of air spaces in the lungs. 

The white patches appear more pronounced in the second X-ray, labelled B, which was taken three days after the first and further into her treatment.   

The images were presented by a group of researchers at The First Hospital of Lanzhou University to the journal Radiology. 

Radiologist Paras Lakhani from the Thomas Jefferson University, who was not involved in the study but examined the images, said: ‘If you zoom in on the image, it kind of looks like faint glass that has been ground up.’ 

A World Health Organisation official said other governments need to prepare for a ‘domestic outbreak control’ if the disease spreads in their countries

‘What it represents is fluid in the lung spaces,’ he told Business Insider

The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild lung infections such as the common cold.

But coronaviruses can also be deadly. 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.

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.

The woman was treated by inhaling a protein used to treat viral infections called interferon.

A shop assistant re stocks boxes of surgical masks as many people queue to purchase protective items

A shop assistant re stocks boxes of surgical masks as many people queue to purchase protective items  

Radiologist Paras Lakhani told how doctors at Lanzhou would have likely administered fluids, steroids or a medication to open the woman’s airways.  

However pneumonia was ruled out after symptoms persisted and white patches extended to the edges of her lungs. 

Lakhari said pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics and doesn’t usually ‘rapidly progress’.  

He added how ground glass on its own is not ‘particularly helpful’ in identifying coronavirus as bacterial, viral or even vaping can cause it to appear on X-rays. 

Customers queue in a store in Hong Kong to buy surgical masks. Employees in China are being urged to work from home and cease non-essential business travel in the first week of February

Customers queue in a store in Hong Kong to buy surgical masks. Employees in China are being urged to work from home and cease non-essential business travel in the first week of February

People queue up to buy face masks in Hong Kong. Apple has said it will close all of its official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until February 9 as fears over the coronavirus outbreak have mounted

People queue up to buy face masks in Hong Kong. Apple has said it will close all of its official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until February 9 as fears over the coronavirus outbreak have mounted

The extended white patches were also identified with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). 

Both are also coronaviruses and SARS resulted in 8,000 cases and 774 deaths in China from November 2002 to July 2003.  

The radiologist said the scans of those viruses bear ‘a lot of similar features’ to that of the 33-year-old from Wuhan.            

However the best way to identify coronavirus is to take swabs of saliva or mucus from a patient’s nose or mouth or alternatively testing phlegm they produce. 

Yet the test is only effective when the patient is showing symptoms.   

Foreign Office pulls remaining staff out of China as it warns Brits remaining in the country they can only expect ‘limited’ help

The Foreign Office has announced plans to pull staff from China after warning its ability to help Britons in the country may be ‘limited’.       

Essential staff will remain to continue ‘critical work’ as UK ministers said the Government will send another plane to coronavirus-hit Wuhan to rescue British citizens if needed. 

However the FCO has warned that its ability to provide help to Britons in the country may be ‘limited’. 

It comes as the Foreign Office is working with EU countries to add British passengers to any rescue flights they may charter back from Wuhan.

More than 80 Britons flown in from China over the coronavirus outbreak have arrived at their accommodation that was on Friday kitted out with bedding, games consoles and Barbies ahead of their 14 days in quarantine. Pictured: Buses carrying the British nationals arrive last night

More than 80 Britons flown in from China over the coronavirus outbreak have arrived at their accommodation that was on Friday kitted out with bedding, games consoles and Barbies ahead of their 14 days in quarantine. Pictured: Buses carrying the British nationals arrive last night

Medical staff wear masks as British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China arrive at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside

Medical staff wear masks as British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China arrive at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside

Families had been told that relatives with Chinese passports would be unable to join them after Chinese officials denied them permission to leave the country.

That decision was reversed hours before the plane was due to depart, but some people did not have time to get to the airport. 

Chinese health officials said early on Saturday that the death toll in the country from the virus had risen to 259, with the number of known cases rising from 9,962 to 11,791.

No deaths have occurred outside China, although cases have been confirmed across at least 23 countries.

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed that of the Sars epidemic, although death rates are lower.

Many other countries, including Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand, have said they plan to quarantine evacuees for two weeks to avoid spread of the virus.

Russia, Mongolia and North Korea have also announced that they will close their land borders with China to guard against the spread of the virus.

Rescued UK nationals were taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral in a convoy of six coaches, arriving shortly after 7.15pm yesterday where they will spend the next 14 days in quarantine.

The evacuation flight from the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak carried 83 Britons and 27 non-UK nationals and landed at the Brize Norton RAF base in Oxfordshire at around 1.30pm. 

Their arrival comes as health officials urgently try to trace those who came into contact with two people diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK.

The UK passengers were taken to the Merseyside hospital to be housed in an NHS staff accommodation block with access to the internet.

A medic wearing a white specialist suit sat next to the driver of each coach.

The vehicles were led by a police escort to the rear of the hospital and on to a side road leading to the accommodation block.

Patients disembarked from behind barriers covering the accommodation entrance, but some could be seen inside wearing masks as they walked upstairs to their rooms for the next fortnight.

They are being given fully-furnished rooms, food, and laundry facilities, and have access to a team of medical staff who will closely monitor their condition.

Kitchens are available for those who wish to self-cater, and families are being kept together, with games consoles, toys and cots provided.

The evacuation flight came as the first two cases of coronavirus in the UK were confirmed by Public Health England (PHE).

PHE confirmed that the two people taken ill – who are members of the same family – had been staying at the Staycity apartment-hotel in York when they became unwell.

The firm has said the apartment involved has been thoroughly disinfected and PHE has been providing support.

The two people diagnosed with the virus are being treated by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in its specialist Airborne High Consequences Infectious Disease Centre (HCID).

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at PHE, said: ‘Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the confirmed cases.

‘Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed cases.’

Prof Peacock previously said that, while staff were working to trace people who have been in contact with the pair, they do not currently have ‘any idea’ of how high that number might be.

The PHE definition of close contact is being within two metres of the infected person for 15 minutes.

On Thursday, the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers raised the risk level of the illness from low to moderate and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an international public health emergency.

The US declared a public health emergency on Friday night, with President Donald Trump signing an order which will temporarily bar entry for most foreign nationals who have travelled in China within the last 14 days.



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