UK facing 'major outbreak' of coronavirus as disease spreads, expert warns

Chinese medical workers treating patients for coronavirus. (PA)

Experts have warned the UK is facing a “major outbreak” of coronavirus in the coming weeks as it continues to spread across the globe.

Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the outbreak is likely to become a pandemic, adding he was becoming “increasingly alarmed” about the rate of infection.

The death toll in China from the coronavirus has risen to 811, surpassing SARS fatalities in the 2002-2003 outbreak.

Outside China there are 288 cases in 24 countries, with one death, according to the World Health Organisation.

Passengers disembarking an aircraft repatriating British and other nationalities to the UK from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Professor Piot, who co-discovered ebola and the presence of Aids in Africa, warned that coronavirus is more dangerous than ebola.

“It’s a greater threat because of the mode of transmission. The potential for spread is much, much higher,” he told The Times.

“If the number of people who get infected is huge, then that will also kill a number of people.”

On Sunday the last plane carrying British citizens evacuated from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan landed in Oxfordshire.


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The flight, with more than 200 people on board, including some foreign nationals, arrived at RAF Brize Norton shortly before 7.30am.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was the second and final flight to be chartered by the Government and had British Government staff and military medics on board.

The passengers will now be taken to the Kents Hill Park hotel and conference centre in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

The ambulance service said the presence of the group in Milton Keynes would not present a risk to local people.

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