Coronavirus: Fears intensify over European spread

PA
Coronavirus: Fears intensify over European spread

Fears are intensifying over the spread of coronavirus in Europe as France reported its second death and the number of people in Italy with the virus continues to climb.

Authorities in Italy have reported that the number of people infected in the country grew to 322, or up 45% in 24 hours, and 11 people have now died.

Austria, Croatia and Switzerland also reported their first cases linked to the outbreak in Italy, while Spain and France recorded new ones, also involving people who had been to northern Italy.

【ギャラリー】Coronavirus continues to spread across globe164

France recorded its second death, a 60-year-old Frenchman who died in a Paris hospital.

The first positive test in South America has also been recorded in a 61-year-old Brazilian man who had recently been to northern Italy.

For the first time, the number of new cases officially reported outside China has exceeded new cases reported by Beijing, Reuters has reported.

It said figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed there were 427 new cases reported in 37 countries on Tuesday, compared with 411 reported by Beijing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs on Wednesday that 7,132 people in the UK have so far been tested.

Of these, 13 have tested positive, of whom eight have been discharged from hospital.

He said the NHS is looking to extend home testing while a new public information campaign will be launched.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock suggested that home testing will be rolled out more widely to complement existing hospital testing and the "isolation pods" which have been sited at hospitals in England for people who turn up at A&E with symptoms.

He said: "We now have testing sites at all A&E facilities, as far as we know, across England.

"But we're also planning to introduce home testing and some of this has started already so that people don't have to go to the pods in front of A&E which have been put there to ensure that people don't actually go into A&E where they might infect others.

"Home testing is the safest place to be tested because then you don't have to go anywhere, and that will allow us to roll out testing to a much larger number of people as well."

A number of schools in the UK have told staff and pupils to stay at home after returning from ski trips to northern Italy, where several towns in the Lombardy and Veneto regions remain on lockdown.

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At least eight schools have closed despite national guidance urging them to stay open.

But Mr Hancock urged schools not to close unless they had a confirmed case of the virus.

He added: "There is no need to close the school or send other students or staff home."

The Foreign Office in the UK has updated its guidance on travel to Italy, advising against all but essential travel to 10 towns in Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d'Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo' Euganeo).

Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4 presenter Nick Robinson has said he is in self-isolation at home after returning from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, where cases have been recorded.

Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow is also in self-isolation after travelling to Iran, where at least 12 people have died amid an outbreak there.

In London, energy firm Chevron asked about 300 British employees to work temporarily from home after an employee in its Canary Wharf office reported a flu-like illness.

A statement from the firm added: "Chevron continues to monitor the situation very closely, utilising the guidance of international and local health authorities."

Twenty-two Britons at a coronavirus-hit hotel in Tenerife have been told to take their own temperatures and said there is confusion over whether they should stay in their rooms.

Guests have been handed thermometers and told to write down their own readings, while some people are moving around the hotel and going to the pool and restaurant.

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The Foreign Office is in touch with around 160 Britons from the hotel, who have been told it is likely they will have to stay put for 14 days.

It is understood that guests without symptoms are able to move around the hotel grounds, although some guests say they are still being told to stay in their rooms.

An Italian man and his wife were diagnosed with coronavirus during their stay at the four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace in the south-west of the Spanish island, and there are reports of two more cases.

Airport staff check the temperatures of passengers returning from Milan at Debrecen airport, Hungary (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI/AP)

The Italian doctor and his wife tested positive and were placed in isolation in hospital, the Canary Islands government confirmed.

It said the couple had travelled with eight other Italians who were showing no symptoms.

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The Canary Islands government added that more than 100 tourists at the hotel who are believed to have not had any contact with the couple will be allowed to leave, but it is not known if they include any Britons.

China, where the outbreak began, has reported 78,064 cases and 2,715 deaths, while South Korea has the second-highest number of cases with 1,261 and 11 deaths.