A DESPERATE hunt is on to find 438 people who flew in to the UK from coronavirus epicentre Wuhan before travel was locked down.
It comes after two people were confirmed to have been struck down with the killer bug at a York hotel.
The pair, thought to be Chinese tourists, fell ill at the the Staycity aparthotel in the city centre on Wednesday.
It emerged yesterday, as 83 Brits were flown home from Wuhan, the members of the same family had been quarantined.
Authorities are now desperately scrambling to contain the spiralling epidemic with fears almost 2,000 could be infected in the country.
The Department of Health confirmed they still need to check more than 400 people who arrived on direct flights from Wuhan earlier this month.
Yesterday they said 162 of the 1,466 people have already left the UK, while 760 are now outside of the bug’s two-week incubation period.
Dramatic video footage showed hazmat paramedics swooping on the hotel after a man travelling with two others reported feeling unwell.
Last night, after the government kept the public in the dark for hours, Staycity aparthotel finally confirmed it was at the centre of the UK’s outbreak.
A hotel spokesperson said: “We have now received confirmation that two guests staying in one of our apartments in York have been tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We have been advised by Public Health England that there is minimal ongoing risk of infection to either guests or staff, and as such our York property remains open for business.”
The pair were dramatically evacuated by hazmat medics from the £70-a-night York hotel three days ago.
Despite this, the 220-bedroom hotel has continued to take bookings, sparking grave fears more could be infected or come into contact with workers exposed to the deadly bug.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, slammed the government after the hotel stayed open following the outbreak, insisting the Department of Health (DoH) had a “duty” to warn the public of any risks.
“Why didn’t the Department of Health say something sooner?”
As the crisis built passengers travelling from China to the UK two weeks ago were not screened when they arrived into London.
Holidaymakers who touched down at London Heathrow from Wuhan, where the outbreak is thought to have begun, were shocked as they were simply handed a leaflet and told to call NHS 111 if they felt ill.
One arrival said: “All we got was a leaflet, that’s it.
“It seems odd because I knew American cities were screening. I was not screened leaving Wahun, or in the UK. I didn’t see anybody get screened. It would have made sense.”
The Public Health England definition of close contact is being within two metres of the infected person for 15 minutes.
A convoy of coaches carrying 83 Brits rescued from coronavirus-hit China arrived at a Wirral hospital last night, where they will be quarantined for two weeks.
The evacuees landed from the ground zero epicentre of Wuhan this afternoon to be treated at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, Merseyside.