/Fears of Britains third coronavirus case are dashed as false alarm

Fears of Britains third coronavirus case are dashed as false alarm

Reports of a third patient testing positive for the coronavirus in the UK have turned out to be a false alarm.

A Chinese soldier from Shanghai was reportedly being cared for at the Manor Hospital, Walsall, West Midlands.

It was thought he had arrived at the hospital on Friday or in the early hours of Saturday, with a source claiming he had coronavirus.

But the Department of Health said the claims were untrue.

The man would have been the third person in the UK to test positive for the coronavirus, after two people from York.

A Chinese soldier from Shanghai was reportedly being cared for at the Manor Hospital, Walsall, West Midlands (pictured). But the Department of Health said the claims were untrue

A Chinese soldier from Shanghai was reportedly being cared for at the Manor Hospital, Walsall, West Midlands (pictured). But the Department of Health said the claims were untrue

A Chinese soldier from Shanghai was reportedly being cared for at the Manor Hospital, Walsall, West Midlands (pictured). But the Department of Health said the claims were untrue

Students at the University of York found themselves under the shadow of the global outbreak last night after one tested positive for the virus.

A male student and his mother – both Chinese – became the first two cases to be confirmed in Britain, leaving students and staff at the University of York, part of the elite Russell Group, feeling ‘very, very frightened’. 

The pair were taken ill at a budget hotel in the city centre on Wednesday night and were last night being cared for in a special NHS isolation unit in Newcastle.

The University of York emailed students telling them that while the news would cause ‘concern and anxiety’, the risk of infection was low. 

But tensions on the campus were evident in a Facebook post and email from ten days ago that raised concerns about a Chinese student with ‘a fever’.

The university said that incident had been investigated and was not connected with the recent case.

As the official death toll in China from the virus rose to 294, the UK Government launched an urgent public information campaign. 

People were advised to ‘carry tissues’ to cover coughs or sneezes in nationwide advertisements.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Our world-class NHS is well prepared to manage these types of incidents. We are doing everything we can to protect the public.’

His attempt to reassure the public came as:

It emerged there are fewer than 30 special isolation beds in hospitals across the UK designed for quarantines such as the coronavirus;

  • The Foreign Office said it was withdrawing staff from China and its ability to provide help to Britons in the country may be ‘limited’;
  • A second airlift evacuation of Britons trapped in Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the virus, was imminent
  • The US government declared a ‘public health emergency’, banning foreign nationals who have travelled to China from entering;
  • Australia and Israel followed suit, flouting World Health Organisation advice that such measures were not necessary;
  • Vietnam halted all air travel to China while Italy became the first EU country to ban incoming flights.

A spokesman for York University said the student diagnosed with coronavirus – who had been with his mother at the £71-a-night Staycity apartment-hotel – was not believed to have come into contact with anyone on campus while they had symptoms. Health chiefs confirmed on Friday that both had both tested positive.

The university advised people concerned about their health to call 111. It also set up its own call centre. A spokesman said: ‘Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and family, along with the health and continued wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors.’ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

University coronavirus email to York students

Dear student,

You may have heard through media reports that two cases of coronavirus have been identified in York.

Public Health England (PHE) has now confirmed that one of the two individuals to have tested positive for coronavirus is a student at the University of York. 

We recognise that this will cause concern to our community.

We want to reassure you that PHE has advised us that the risk of infection being passed to others on campus is extremely 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.

Additional information and any updates, as they are made available from PHE or any other health service, will be posted on our coronavirus updates webpage here: https://www.york.ac.uk/alert/. 

This web page also contains a set of FAQs regarding coronavirus and you are advised to check this page if you have any queries.

We are working closely with NHS services and Public Health England who are taking the lead in responding to the case and we will take direction from them in all aspects of this situation.

Yours sincerely

Heidi Fraser-Krauss Deputy Registrar and Director of Corporate and Information Services 

But The Mail on Sunday yesterday found that students – many wearing surgical facemasks – were extremely concerned. One 19-year-old undergraduate said: ‘I cannot stop thinking about this and it is totally freaking me out.’

Students had recently celebrated the Chinese New Year at a special gala event held at York’s Barbican centre, close to the Staycity hotel.

A male student said: ‘This is all anyone has been talking about. We are very worried.’

Public Health England (PHE) was continuing to seek people who had close contact – defined as being within two metres for 15 minutes – with the infected pair.

Staff at the Staycity said the mother and student checked in on Wednesday, but the man had fallen ill and called an ambulance. Hotel manager Nasser Shaher sought to calm guests, including one who recently underwent chemotherapy and was worried about her weakened immune system. Mr Shaher said he had been told by PHE that the risk was ‘minimal’ and the apartment involved had been thoroughly disinfected.

Meanwhile, Oxford University mathematician Dr Robin Thompson, who specialises in infectious diseases, forecast a one-in-three chance of a coronavirus outbreak in the UK. 

His calculations are based on an estimate that 20 per cent of new Wuhan coronavirus infections are passed on by those not exhibiting symptoms. The other factor is how long the two diagnosed here were symptomatic before seeking medical help.

In China it has typically been a couple of days and Dr Thompson said that in those circumstances, the risk of a ‘sustained transmission chain’ arising from the pair was around 37 per cent.

The Foreign Office yesterday announced it was withdrawing some staff from China and warned its ability to provide help to Britons in the country may be ‘limited’. UK Ministers said another plane will be sent to Wuhan to rescue British citizens if needed.

Chris Hill, 38, from Sunderland who remained in Wuhan instead of leaving his Chinese wife behind, said: ‘She 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.’

Adam Bridgeman, 33, and his Chinese wife Su and son Austin missed Friday’s flight out of Wuhan. He fears food may soon run out. ‘The main concern then is that Austin will need some medical attention,’ he said. ‘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.’

Tough measures to insulate students and staff were also imposed at the University of Derby, which began isolating anyone who returned from Wuhan, where the virus spawned, in the last 14 days.

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

The spread of this grave global health emergency has also sent alarm bells ringing in British boarding schools which are banning their Chinese pupils from returning home in the upcoming half-term holidays.

Hereford Cathedral School was one of the first to declare all planned visits home have been scrapped, while a senior source at a top boarding school told MailOnline: ‘I doubt many, if any, schools will be sending pupils back at half term. 

‘All of ours are not returning, including some from Thailand. They added: ‘As this spreads worldwide do we try to limit movement of anyone, anywhere?’ 

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

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

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

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. 

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.

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. 

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 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'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 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

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

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.  

 

Original Source