A British man who flew home from China suffering from coronavirus – like symptoms is expecting to receive results within hours telling him whether he has the illness.
Anthony May-Smith, who was put into isolation after landing, said later he felt fine and attributed his cough and sore throat to the stress of returning to the UK.
The number of deaths from the epidemic has risen to 439 as the outbreak spreads around the world, with new infections in China – where all but one of the victims have died – increased by 2, 1999 on Sunday to a total to , .
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
At least another 362 cases – including two in Britain – have been reported in countries including Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, spain and Thailand.
Matt Hancock , the UK’s health secretary said on Monday the number of cases of the virus worldwide was doubling roughly every five days,.
Announcing £ m of investment to help develop a vaccine, he said Public Health England scientists had sequenced the virus genome and were making it available to scientists.
They discovered the virus had not changed over the past four weeks but the outbreak would be “with us for some months”, Mr Hancock warned, adding: “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Britain has 64 specialist beds, and potentially more to isolate victims, and the government was working on plans to provide more beds should they be needed, he said.
The UK’s chief medical officer has raised the risk from low to medium, while officials continue to try to trace People who traveled from Wuhan to the UK before travel restrictions began.
Two people, a university of York student and a relative, are being treated for the virus at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Chinese scientists say they have more evidence that the new coronavirus is likely to have originated in bats – as the Sars virus was thought to have done.
Mr May-Smith had been on an evacuation flight from Wuhan carrying Europeans – of whom were British – to France, and then continued his journey to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
He said he was put in a quarantine area with about 44 others on the flight to France.
He told Sky News: “We went through a load of checks at the airport in Wuhan … Then there was of us on that flight to France that were put in a quarantine section .
“When we boarded the plane in France to come to the UK, the nurse asked if any of us had had any sort of symptoms in china.”
He was told to sit away from anybody else.
“There were people with babies on the flight and I obviously just didn’t want to be anywhere near them, just in case,” Mr May-Smith.
“I feel fine now, I think it’s probably the stress of getting back and being run down more than anything.”
The other British people on the flight joined others already in isolation at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, although health chiefs said they will be kept entirely separate.
The first coronavirus death outside China was reported on Sunday, that of a – year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines
after going there from Wuhan.
In the US , five new patients include a second case of person-to-person transmission within the country.
The British Embassy in Beijing said the last flights from China for UK nationals would leave this week and will be run by “partner countries”.
UK officials insist there are no plans to introduce a US-style ban on foreigners who have recently been in China from entering the country. The World Health Organization does not advocate such bans, which have also been implemented by other nations such as New Zealand and Australia.
Mr Hancock said anyone who suspected they had symptoms should not go to hospital as they risked spreading the virus but instead should call the NHS on
(Read More ) ()
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings