A desperate hunt is underway for an unknown coronavirus spreader in Surrey who gave the deadly illness to the UK’s 20th victim and the first Briton to catch it in the country – amid fears of an explosion of cases in the county. The victim, revealed last night, is understood to be a man who was treated at Haslemere Health Centre before being transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London. Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt today confirmed a GP, thought to work at the health centre where the latest person fell ill, is showing symptoms of the infection and spoke of a ‘worrying time’ for those in the county.It comes after another UK coronavirus patient was confirmed in Surrey on Thursday – having returned from virus-hit Milan – and schools in the area were closed after pupils and staff begun showing mild flu-like symptoms. Authorities are now racing to track down the spreader to avoid them contaminating more people. It is not known whether they had arrived in the country from abroad, where many countries including Italy, South Korea, Japan and Iran are firefighting major outbreaks.There are now concerns the county could become a disease hotspot should the GP showing symptoms be confirmed to have coronavirus – amid fears he could have also infected others. The GP, whose wife is also a GP, would have seen scores of patients before falling ill, according to The Guardian.His diagnosis has yet to be publicly confirmed by Public Health England, NHS England or the Department of Health and Social Care. But Mr Hunt, the MP for Farnham, this morning tweeted: ‘Thinking of clinicians, staff and patients at the Haslemere Health Centre…worrying time but I know local NHS and @SurreyCouncil working tirelessly to keep everyone as safe as possible. Thoughts today with new Covid19 patient and local GP with symptoms alongside their families.’ Shocked locals yesterday spoke of how, when visiting the Surrey surgery, staff suddenly told them the medical centre needed to close for an urgent deep clean.One told Surrey Live: ‘I was waiting on my own, keeping my distance from others. At about 8.50am, they announced that someone had been taken unwell and they were shutting for a deep clean.’There were about 10 of us in there at the time. I phoned them and they said no appointments are being made until Monday. I spoke to a GP and they said not to worry about air exposure, but there is a chance they may clean it.’All Hallows Catholic School in Farnham and St Peter’s C Of E Middle School in Old Windsor, near Runnymede, were among the schools to close last week amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak. The patient, from Surrey, is understood to be a man who was treated at Haslemere Health Centre before being transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London. The health centre has opened today following a deep cleanThe UK’s 20th coronavirus patient has been confirmed, marking the first case to have caught the infection on British soil. He came from Surrey People wearing face masks in Trafalgar Square, London, as the first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Wales and two more were identified in England – bringing the total number in the UK to 20The news comes as: Emergency laws are being rushed in to ensure public services and the transport network can keep on operatingScientists fear coronavirus could be 1,000 times more infectious than SARS which killed almost 800 worldwideOne in ten Britons could be hospitalised with coronavirus according to NHS officials who are preparing for worstThe Guardian reported on fears a GP may also have been infected with the virus but this has yet to be confirmed More than 1,000 workers at the London offices of law firm Baker McKenzie, based in the heart of London’s financial district, were sent home after an employee returning home from northern Italy fell illBaker McKenzie sent staff home after two other firms shut down their offices in the capital on Wednesday Last night’s 20th confirmed diagnosis came after a flurry of cases sprouted up in the UK within 24 hours, including in Northern Ireland and Wales. This morning, health minister Edward Argar refused to comment on reports that the first person to contract coronavirus in the UK also passed it on to their doctor.He said: ‘It is a new development but the chief medical officer has also said we are still doing the contact tracing around that and we are still looking into the details of that case, so it is probably a bit premature to say more than that at the moment.’ Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt today confirmed a GP, thought to work at the health centre where the latest person fell ill, is also showing symptoms of the infection and spoke of a ‘worrying time’ for those in the countyMr Argar also defended the Prime Minister against criticism that he had been slow to act on coronavirus, having delayed chairing his first emergency Cobra meeting on the outbreak until Monday.It comes as the Government prepares to bring in new emergency powers to help stop the virus spreading.It is understood that this will give schools, councils and other parts of the public sector powers to suspend laws – including health and safety measures – to cope with a pandemic.Nobody in the UK has so far died from coronavirus, but yesterday a British man quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship passed away in Japan. This first British fatality is understood to be a man in his 70s who did not live in the UK. Boris Johnson yesterday insisted he had a grip on the health crisis and said preventing a major British outbreak was the government’s ‘top priority’. All Hallows Catholic School in Farnham (pictured) and St Peter’s C Of E Middle School in Old Windsor, near Runnymede, were among the schools to close last week amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak St Peter’s C Of E Middle School in Old Windsor, near Runnymede in Surrey, was also closed last week for a ‘deep clean’ amid coronavirus fears They contracted the illness in England before being rushed for treatment at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London, the chief medical officer revealed last nightUS law firm Baker McKenzie orders 1,100 staff at its London office to work from home after employee falls ill with suspected coronavirus A US law firm has ordered 1,100 staff members at its London headquarters to work from home today after an employee returning from Northern Italy fell ill. Baker McKenzie, based in the heart of the capital’s financial district, has ordered staff to work remotely. Baker McKenzie, based in the heart of London’s financial district, has ordered staff to work remotelyAnd while staff work from home, the London HQ will undergo a deep clean before updating workers on Sunday evening if the staff member has tested positive for the virus.Italy is the site of Europe’s worst outbreak so far, with 889 people infected and 21 dead, but authorities in some less-affected areas have re-opened schools and museums in an effort to bring daily life back to normal. A Baker McKenzie spokesman said: ‘Our priority is the health and well being of our clients and we have asked out London office employees to work from home.’We continue to closely monitor the situation and are following the advice and guidance issued by the government and Public Health England,’ the spokesman added. The government has drawn up a ‘worst case scenario’ strategy blueprint, which involves deploying military medics to hospitals.And emergency laws include the ability to suspend maximum class sizes to allow teachers to take on pupils when colleagues are off sick.After being branded a ‘part-time prime minister’ for his slow response, he reassured the public that he had held meetings with the health secretary and chief medical officer, who broke the news of the country’s 20th case. Professor Chris Whitty said in a statement: ‘One further patient in England has tested positive for COVID-19.’The virus was passed on in the UK. It is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad. ‘This is being investigated and contact tracing has begun. The patient has been transferred to a specialist NHS infection centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’. Elsewhere, schools across the country have closed or forced children and staff to self-isolate amid reports of flu-like symptoms. Since the flu-like virus spawned in Wuhan, China, late last year, it has infected more than 84,000 and killed at least 2,800. Experts reacted to last night’s announcement by warning it ‘marked a new chapter’ in the UK’s battle against the global epidemic.Prof Jonathan Ball, of Molecular Virology, University of Nottingham, said: ‘This case – a person testing positive for novel coronavirus with no known link to an affected area or known case – marks a new chapter for the UK, and it will be crucial to understand where the infection came from to try and prevent more extensive spread.”This was always a concern – this is a virus that frequently causes symptoms very similar to mild flu or a common cold, and it’s easily transmitted from person to person. This means it can easily go under the radar.’ Dr Alison Barnett, centre director for PHE South East, said: ‘One of the latest cases is a resident of Surrey and we’re working closely with NHS colleagues in that area as well as Surrey County Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.’Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case.’This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.’Although Dr Barnett said ‘one of the latest cases’ is from Surrey, MailOnline understands this refers to the 20th patient announced tonight. Signs were posted today at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, where staff will test patients for coronavirus A sheet of paper was taped to a sign at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh today amid coronavirus testing of patientsThis Surrey patient has not been identified, however the BBC reported he was a man and had been treated at the Haslemere clinic.A father-of-two in his 40s, from Swansea, was confirmed to be the first case in Wales on Friday after he returned from the Italian ski resort, Passo del Tonale, and fell ill. He was helicoptered to hospital and around a dozen of his friends are now in quarantine at home. Ministers rush in coronavirus emergency laws Boris Johnson speaking yesterdayEmergency laws to tackle coronavirus are being rushed in after the outbreak claimed its first British life yesterday.The measures will be announced next week to ensure public services and the transport network can keep operating if the crisis worsens.The unnamed British victim died in Japan after contracting the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. He was one of 78 UK citizens on the vessel moored in Yokohama.Four more British cases were announced yesterday, bringing the total to 20.The new laws will include the ability to suspend maximum class sizes to allow teachers to take on pupils when colleagues are off sick. Lessons could take place outside schools.Ministers are also considering suspending laws that limit lorry drivers to 56 hours a week to stop supply chains collapsing if sickness levels rise. In a ‘worst case scenario’, military doctors could help in NHS hospitals.Mr Johnson last night took personal charge of Britain’s response to the crisis, as critics urged him to ‘get a grip’.He convened a meeting in No 10 last night to discuss contingency plans and will chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee on Monday.Military doctors, the British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance medics will be deployed to hospitals in the government’s ‘worst case scenario’ blueprint. Another one of the recent confirmed cases is also thought to be a 43-year-old mother from Buxton, Derbyshire. Amid the growing crisis, Mr Johnson finally stepped in to take charge of the spiralling crisis by agreeing to chair a Cobra emergency meeting arranged for Monday. In a signal the government was cranking up its response, emergency laws have been drafted to tackle a possible outbreak.The new laws will include the ability to suspend maximum class sizes to allow teachers to take on pupils when colleagues are off sick. Lessons could take place outside schools.Ministers are also considering suspending laws that limit lorry drivers to 56 hours a week to stop supply chains collapsing if sickness levels rise. In a ‘worst case scenario’, military doctors could be deployed with Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance staff to help in NHS hospitals. But furious politicians slammed the ‘part-time’ Prime Minister, saying it shouldn’t take three days for the meeting to take place, while former chancellor George Osborne demanded that the government go on a ‘war footing’ to reassure the ‘fearful’ public with regular Cobra meetings and daily press briefings. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday warned Britain was at a ‘tipping point’, saying the NHS would struggle with a pandemic and that hundreds of thousands of lives could be at risk if this outbreak escalates.Health Minister Helen Whately said it was ‘likely’ more people in the UK would contract coronavirus and that plans were in place should it become a pandemic.The Conservative MP told BBC Newsnight: ‘I can’t reiterate enough that we are well prepared but we do have to recognise that it is likely we will see more cases in the UK.’We have plans in place and have carried out exercises so in the event of something like a ‘flu pandemic, we are ready.’Asked whether that meant mass gatherings could be banned and schools closed, such as in parts of Italy, she said such measures were ‘being considered’.Coronavirus is already taking its toll on everyday British life, with some schools and businesses closed and fears growing that major events such as Ascot, the Grand National and the Premier League football season could be shelved. The crisis, which is escalating outside of China, has rocked world financial markets – £250billion has been wiped off of London’s FTSE100 this week. Globally, shares are down about $6trillion (£4.7trillion) overall this week and Wall Street is also bracing itself after Dow Jones plunged another 1,000 points for the third day this week. A British man who was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship (pictured in Yokohama) has died after being infected with coronavirus, Japanese authorities confirmed yesterday. He was the first Briton to die in the crisis London’s Hyde Park (pictured) would be turned into a morgue if the killer coronavirus outbreak escalates in the UK, under worst-case scenario plans One in ten Britons could end up in hospital with coronavirus, warns NHS A bus passenger wears a protective mask in LondonOne in ten Britons could end up in hospital with coronavirus according to NHS officials who are drawing up a ‘battle plan’ to tackle the deadly outbreak. The latest case is the first time a patient has caught the infection on British soil, marking a ‘new chapter’ in the country’s spiralling health crisis.Procedures to dispose of corpses would be sped up in a desperate move that would save thousands of lives.Nickie Aiken, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, confirmed that London’s Hyde Park would be turned into a morgue if the killer outbreak continues to escalate. A massive 70 per cent of Britons could catch the killer bug and 15 per cent of those may be hospitalized, The Daily Telegraph reports. Health Minister Helen Whately said it was ‘likely’ more people in the UK would contract coronavirus and that plans were in place should it become a pandemic. Public Health England’s attempt to trace people who have been in contact with him is believed to include patients who had appointments this week.Details have now emerged about Wales’s first coronavirus patient, who is a businessman and father-of-two and caught the killer illness on a family skiing holiday in northern Italy.He has ‘has been out drinking and socialising’ since flying home and was rushed to hospital in a helicopter on Thursday night, neighbours said. At least a dozen people who came into close contact with the patient have been forced to self-isolate and are waiting on test results to see if they also have the deadly disease. ‘A helicopter landed in the park outside and two ambulances arrived in the street outside his front door. I think the ambulance was there to transport him to the helicopter,’ one neighbour told The Sun.Another family friend said: ‘I can’t believe it, we are all very worried for them and it’s worrying for us too. They’re such a lovely family and have two teenage children and they went skiing for half term. Now we know he has been infected everybody is getting advice on what to do.’ The Japanese Ministry of Health said the first Briton to die of coronavirus was the sixth person to succumb to the illness after travelling on the Diamond Princess. A total of 705 of the ship’s 3,711 passengers and crew were found to be infected during the lockdown, sparking severe criticism of how Japanese authorities had handled the case. Passengers were confined to their cabins on board the ship in what scientists described as an ideal breeding ground for the virus, with tourists also voicing concerns about the conditions on board. The UK government eventually chartered a flight to airlift 32 people home from the cruise ship, but dozens of Britons remained in Japan. Four of them were in hospital after testing positive, while others chose not to join the flight. The four known British patients included honeymooner Alan Steele, who has since recovered and flown back to Britain where he is under quarantine in the Wirral. Only two of the other three British patients were named: David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, who are in hospital in Japan. Mr Abel yesterday posted footage of himself dancing in his hospital ward. Health bosses never named the fourth British patient, who was left behind for treatment in Japan. Japanese media said that the British victim was one of the 705 people who tested positive during the quarantine, apparently excluding the possibility that he was infected after leaving the ship. A bus carrying passengers from the Diamond Princess – in this case passengers who were about to be flown home by the Israeli government – drives away from the cruise ship in Yokohama last week More than £250billion is wiped off top UK firms’ shares in a week More than £250billion has been wiped off top UK firms this week, as the FTSE 100 drops to its lowest level since July 2016 amid global coronavirus panic. The top-flight of London’s Stock Exchange tanked 13 per cent since Monday, the sharpest slump since the global crash of 2008. An eye-watering £210billion was slashed from the value of shares – including £58billion Friday as blue chip companies watched as their share prices went into free fall.The biggest casualty yesterday was travel giant TUI, which saw shares plunge 9.5 per cent.The weekly rout on the FTSE 100 is the third biggest on record, after the credit crunch in 2008 and the Black Wednesday crash in 1987. The spiralling health crisis, which has spooked investors, also pounded the FTSE 250, which dropped another 2.29 per cent, or £8.2billion. It has shed £44.4billion – or 11.3 per cent Shortly after the news of the man’s death broke yesterday, health minister Jo Churchill said she was aware a British man who had been on board the Diamond Princess was ‘very poorly’.She told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: ‘The Foreign Office are supporting the family of a British man who has been very poorly and was a passenger on board the Diamond Princess.’I haven’t had confirmation, because obviously I’m on the telephone to you, but I was aware there was a gentleman who was very, very poorly, and I’m sure like me your thoughts and sympathies go out to his family at this time.’ She added: ‘It is my understanding this British national doesn’t in fact reside in the UK, but lives elsewhere in the world. That makes absolutely no difference to his family. Our sympathies and thoughts are with them at this difficult time.’ Earlier today, a Japanese woman in her 70s who had also been on the Diamond Princess was revealed as the fifth cruise ship passenger to die from the virus. The British man is the sixth, and the first foreigner. Cruise operator Princess Cruises acknowledged the man’s death today and offered ‘sincere condolences’ to the passenger’s family and friends. A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Japan and are in contact with local authorities. Our sympathies and thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.’ Twenty patients have now been confirmed in the UK, after England confirmed two travellers had tested positive yesterday and Northern Ireland on Thursday announced its first case. Scotland has yet to be struck down.One of the English cases yesterday is thought to be a 43-year-old mother in Buxton who caught the virus at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife, where hundreds of British holidaymakers have been quarantined. The other is thought to be a man in Surrey who was infected in Italy and flew to Britain from Milan, raising fears the COVID-19 disease is spreading outside of the 11 towns locked down in the north of the country. Questions are now being asked as to why passengers on flights from the Italian city, which is the closest airport to the locked-down area of northern Italy, are sailing through British airports without any health checks. Italy is the site of Europe’s worst outbreak so far, with 650 people infected and 17 dead, but authorities in some less-affected areas were today re-opening schools and museums in an effort to bring daily life back to normal. It comes as emergency plans are being drawn up by British health officials to contain the coronavirus. Schools could be closed for at least two months, major gigs and music festivals cancelled. The entire British football season could even be declared ‘null and void’, with Liverpool potentially missing out on the Premier League title if matches are scrapped. A woman enters Buxton’s Burbage Primary School, which has been closed until Monday due to a confirmed case of coronavirus amongst the school’s ‘parent population’ Both new cases in England were infected in Iran and were rushed to the Royal Free Hospital in London for urgent NHS treatment More than 800 cases of the killer coronavirus have now been recorded across Europe, with 655 of them in Italy – which has locked down 11 towns in a desperate attempt to contain the crisis Switzerland bans all events involving more than 1,000 people Switzerland has banned all events involving more than 1,000 people in a drastic bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. The Swiss government announced the emergency measure and said it will last until at least March 15. Officials say the ban on ‘public and private events’ is intended to ‘prevent or delay the spread of the disease in Switzerland, thus reducing its momentum’.The move will affect events including concerts, the Basel Carnival, the Geneva Motor Show and matches in the Swiss Football League. Switzerland has already confirmed 15 cases of the virus, and officials expect the outbreak to get worse because of the crisis over the border in northern Italy. The Swiss ban on ‘large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people’ will take effect immediately. ‘In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1,000 people would gather, event organisers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent [regional] authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held,’ authorities said. Health minister Alain Berset said that similar measures had proved ‘effective’ in other countries. The government said it was ‘aware that this measure will have a significant impact on public life in Switzerland’ but added that ‘it should prevent or delay the spread of the disease, thus reducing its momentum’. The health minister told reporters that the number of cases in Switzerland was ‘not a surprise for us’, adding: ‘We have to expect an increase in cases in the next few days’. The measure will affect the annual Geneva Motor Show, which was due to take place from March 5-15 and draws tens of thousands of visitors every year.Football fixtures are also affected. The five teams due to play at home this weekend all had more than 1,000 spectators in their last home games. The matches have now been postponed. Taking a different approach, the national Swiss hockey league said all games this weekend will be played in front of empty stadiums. The traditional Carnival procession in Basel will also have to be called off. Dr Frank Atherton, the chief medical officer for Wales, confirmed the country’s first coronavirus case this morning, in a patient who caught the virus in Italy. He said ‘all appropriate measures are being taken’, to prevent the spread of the virus on British soil. It is unclear which hospital they were taken to but Wales Online reports that the patient has links to Swansea.Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, confirmed both new cases in the country had caught the killer SARS-CoV-2 virus in Iran. Both were taken to the Royal Free Hospital in London. The Northern Ireland case confirmed on Thursday evening was a woman who caught the virus in Italy and travelled back via Dublin with her child in the past two days. Aer Lingus confirmed that the patient had travelled with the airline from northern Italy to Dublin. ‘Aer Lingus is co-operating fully with the HSE in relation to the Covid-19 developments and is liaising with the Department of Foreign Affairs, other government departments and the relevant authorities as required,’ a statement said. Authorities have admitted that people who may have come into contact with her have been contacted. Ireland’s health minister has also met with the environmental health officers at Dublin Airport who are providing information on coronavirus to people flying into the country. The first 13 coronavirus cases in the UK had links to the Far East, with the latest wave of cases around the world centred outside of China. Two recent cases caught the virus in Iran, which has been battered by its own outbreak which has seen its own its vice president Masoumeh Ebtekar – known as Screaming Mary for her role as a spokeswoman for the 1979 hostage-takers during the US embassy crisis – become infected, while the Islamic republic’s former ambassador to the Vatican, Hadi Khosroshahi, has died. A World Health Organization spokesperson said the virus could eventually infect every country on the planet and that it ‘has pandemic potential’. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that the UK was approaching a ‘tipping point’ in its attempts to fend off the disease.He said that in a worst case scenario seven out of 10 people in the UK could catch the illness and that hundreds of thousands of lives were at stake. Mr Hunt told Sky News: ‘Our worst case scenario is 70 per cent becoming affected. Hundreds of thousands of lives could depend whether we could keep the infection levels down to 10 per cent, or five per cent.’He said he believed most members of the public would co-operate with containment measures – which in recent days have emerged as school and office closures, sporting event cancellations, and the stopping of large public gatherings, if an outbreak takes hold – but hoped drastic steps wouldn’t be necessary. A Good Morning Britain correspondent shared video of himself and fellow passengers from Milan, the closest airport to Italy’s coronavirus crisis, passing through Heathrow without any health checks The coronavirus outbreak has devastated markets around the world with London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Hong Kong all hit hard overnight and this morning Traders leaving the London Stock Exchange this morning after the FTSE 100 plummeted because of coronavirus panic ‘Slightly unwell’: Pope Francis, pictured on Ash Wednesday this week when he appeared to have a cold, has scrapped his official audiences SCHOOLS IN THE UK COULD BE CLOSED FOR TWO MONTHS TO CONTAIN THE KILLER CORONAVIRUS Emergency plans are being drawn up by health officials to contain the coronavirus, which could see schools closed for at least two months.England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty revealed an unprecedented ban on large public gatherings could be required to fight a global pandemic.The most extreme measure could be to mirror the decision to shut Japan’s entire school system, which will close from Monday for a month until April. A shutdown would see millions of parents, including key workers such as surgeons, nurses and paramedics, forced to stay at home to care for their children.Professor Whitty admitted it is ‘just a matter of time’ until coronavirus spreads more widely and quicker through the UK.The fightback could include ‘reducing mass gatherings and school closures’, with Premier League matches either under threat or played behind closed doors.The London Marathon and the Grand National in April could also be at risk because of the large number of spectators.And this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, which is being played in cities across the continent including London, Glasgow and Rome is under review.Theatre performances, gigs and music festivals such as Glastonbury could also be banned or pared back if the UK fails to get a grip on the crisis. The UK is at a ‘critical’ moment, Mr Hunt said, and he added: ‘we do need to prepare ourselves for what might happen.’ Labour accused Mr Johnson of acting as a ‘part-time prime minister’, saying he should be taking action immediately to take control of the situation after he announced he would chair a Cobra meeting on Monday.Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘Our part-time prime minister needs to get a grip of this escalating situation quickly. It shouldn’t take another three days for this meeting to take place.’Former chancellor George Osborne said Mr Johnson should be chairing a daily Cobra meeting, saying the public needed to know that ministers had the situation under control.’The British Government now needs to go onto a ‘war footing’ with the coronavirus: daily NHS press briefings, regular Cobra meetings chaired by the PM, ministers on all major media shows,’ Mr Osborne, who now edits the London Evening Standard, tweeted.Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘With the NHS already so stretched, it’s gobsmacking that the Prime Minister has delayed chairing Cobra for so long.’Johnson seems like he’d rather bury his head in the sand than hear for himself what the experts are saying and what his ministers are doing.’Downing Street said officials from the Department of Health, Public Health England and other relevant departments were meeting on a daily basis to discuss the crisis, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been chairing a weekly Cobra meeting. Those will now be stepped up to take place twice weekly.’The Prime Minister is keen to chair Cobra on Monday to ensure that everything that can be done is being done,’ the spokesman said. It is thought one of the two cases confirmed yesterday is a a 43-year-old administrative assistant in Buxton, a Derbyshire town which yesterday went into lockdown because of a confirmed case. The mother – reportedly whisked off to a hospital in Liverpool by medics in hazmat suits alongside her boyfriend – has a child at the Burbage Primary School, which was shut until Monday to undergo a deep clean. A BBC reporter who has a son at the school was told the parent’s child did not go to Tenerife but that they did attend classes on Monday and Tuesday. Elderly residents in Buxton, 30miles (48km) south of Manchester, on Thursday spoke of being scared about going to the shops because of the coronavirus. Health personnel wearing protection clothing check the temperature of a guest at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife Health personnel check the temperatures of a guest leaving the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, Tenerife Medical professionals and representatives from TUI assist families after they were released from lockdown at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in La Caleta, Tenerife today In a picture of what could be to come, Inter Milan’s San Siro stadium was empty for the team’s Europa League match as sporting fixtures could be played behind closed doors or even cancelled to avoid spreading illness SO WHY ARE PASSENGERS FROM NORTHERN ITALY SAILING THROUGH HEATHROW WITHOUT ANY HEALTH CHECKS? A correspondent for ITV’s Good Morning Britain shared a video of him walking through Heathrow arrivals from a Milan flight without going through any special checksOne of England’s coronavirus patients managed to fly into the UK from Milan without going through any health checks, according to reports.A case confirmed yesterday was believed to be in a Surrey man who had flown home without visiting any of the towns at the centre of Italy’s quarantine zone.Flights from the Italian city, which is the closest airport to the locked-down area of northern Italy, land in the UK dozens of times a day.But a correspondent for ITV’s Good Morning Britain shared a video of him walking through Heathrow arrivals from a Milan flight without going through any special checks. More than 650 people have now been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Italy, with almost all of the cases declared in a devastating surge which started last weekend.There are now fears that many more people will have become infected with the virus while on half-term trips to the Alps and brought it in through British airports, and that people continue to travel into the UK from the disease-hit region. Health officials admitted the parent caught the virus in Tenerife. They are thought to have stayed at the quarantined H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel – a four-star seafront resort paralysed by the killer coronavirus after four Italian holidaymakers tested positive for the infection. Spanish officials imposed a two-week quarantine on Monday, in a desperate attempt to contain the deadly virus.A total of 168 British holidaymakers are still trapped in the 500-room hotel alongside at least 100 guests from other countries.Before they will be cleared to go, British guests voiced their frustration at the ‘awful’ situation and begged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to rescue them. The global crisis has rocked world financial markets and London’s FTSE100 has had dropped to the lowest level since the 2008 financial crash.More than £250billion has been wiped off top UK firms this week, as the FTSE 100 drops to its lowest level since July 2016 amid global coronavirus panic. Bank of England boss Mark Carney warned that Britain could be set for an economic growth downgrade. A growing list of major companies are issuing profit warnings and say factory shutdowns in China are disrupting supply chains. British airlines easyJet and British Airways announced they will start cancelling flights because of a fall in demand triggered by the global coronavirus crisis.easyJet said flights to and from Italy were most likely to be affected and that it was too early to say whether this year’s summer holidays would be affected.The owners of British Airways said the virus, which is now surging in South Korea, Iran and Europe more than it is in China, will mean it earns less money this year. Airlines are reported to be flying blind into a crisis of unknown severity and duration as people cancel holidays or avoid travel for fear of catching the virus abroad. Emergency plans are being drawn up by health officials to contain the coronavirus, which could see schools closed for at least two months.England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty revealed an unprecedented ban on large public gatherings could be required to fight a global pandemic.The most extreme measure could be to mirror the decision to shut Japan’s entire school system, which will close from Monday for a month until April. Across the UK, at least a dozen schools have closed over fears of the virus spreading while at least 20 more – including Harrow School and Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s private school in southwest London – have sent pupils and teachers home for a fortnight after coming down with colds and coughs after ski trips to coronavirus-hit Italy over half term. A shutdown would see millions of parents, including key workers such as surgeons, nurses and paramedics, forced to stay at home to care for their children. Boris Johnson posed for pictures with doctors on his surprise visit to Kettering General Hospital last night Former Chancellor George Osborne today called for the Government to adopt a ‘war footing’ with the coronavirus, urging for daily NHS press briefings and regular COBRA meetings chaired by Prime Minister Boris JohnsonOne of the English cases yesterday is thought to be a 43-year-old mother in Buxton who caught the virus at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife, where hundreds of British holidaymakers have been quarantined. She has a child at the Burbage Primary School (pictured) The Buxton mother was reportedly whisked off to a hospital in Liverpool by medics in hazmat suits alongside her boyfriend – health officials confirmed one of the two cases in England that were confirmed had been taken to the Liverpool hospitalA medic in protective clothes walks to a house close to the scene of the Buxton case yesterday, after one coronavirus case was confirmed in the Derbyshire town WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS IN THE UK? Newcastle: Two Chinese nationals who came to the UK with coronavirus and fell ill while at a hotel in York. One was a student in the city and the other was his mother. They were the first two cases on British soil and were confirmed on January 31. They were treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and have since been released.Steve Walsh: The first British coronavirus victim became known as a super-spreader . He picked up the virus in Singapore and flew for a ski break in France afterwards where he appears to have infected at least 11 people. He was taken to St Thomas’ Hospital in London from Brighton on February 6 – but was released on February 12 after recovering.Dr Catriona Saynor, who went on holiday with Mr Walsh and her husband, Bob, and their three children, is thought to be the fourth patient in the UK diagnosed with coronavirus. Her husband and nine-year-old son were also diagnosed but remained in France. She was taken to a hospital in London on February 9 from Brighton. She was thought to be at the Royal Free in Camden, but has since been released.Four more people in Brighton were diagnosed and were all ‘known contacts’ of the super-spreader and are thought to have stayed in the same French resort. One is known to be an A&E doctor and is believed to have worked at Worthing Hospital. Another attended a bus conference in Westminster on February 6. They were all treated in London and have now been sent home.London: The first case of the coronavirus in London brought the total number of cases in the UK to nine. The woman was diagnosed on February 12, after going to A&E in an Uber. She was then taken to St Thomas’ Hospital. She is thought to have flown into the UK from China the weekend before, with officials confirming she caught the virus there.Merseyside: Four out of 32 people who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were diagnosed with the virus when they got home, on Sunday February 23. They are thought to have been taken to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, which is close to Arrowe Park Hospital where the other 28 passengers are in quarantine.Derbyshire: Mother from Buxton thought to have picked it up in Tenerife. She is believed to be the parent of a child at Burbage Primary School in Buxton, which closed after news of her diagnosis. It was confirmed on February 27.Surrey: A man is thought to have tested positive after returning from a trip to Milan. The case was also announced on February 27.Northern Ireland: A woman who travelled to NI from northern Italy via Dublin. The case was the first in NI and was announced on the night of February 27.Wales: Its first case is thought to be a patient with links to Swansea. It was announced on February 28 but details are scarce.Two more cases were taken to the Royal Free Hospital in London. The Department of Health confirmed the cases on February 28, saying both had caught the virus in Iran. Professor Whitty admitted it is ‘just a matter of time’ until coronavirus spreads more widely and quicker through the UK. Speaking at a Nuffield Trust summit earlier this week, he said: ‘If this becomes a global epidemic then the UK will get it.’And if it does not become a global epidemic, the UK is perfectly capable of containing and getting rid of individual cases leading to onward transmission.’ But he said onward transmission was likely, adding: ‘If it is something which is containable, the UK can contain it. ‘If it is not containable, it will be non-containable everywhere and then it is coming our way.’The fightback could include ‘reducing mass gatherings and school closures’, with Premier League matches either under threat or played behind closed doors.The London Marathon and the Grand National in April could also be at risk because of the large number of spectators.And this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, which is being played in cities across the continent including London, Glasgow and Rome is under review.Theatre performances, gigs and music festivals such as Glastonbury could also be banned or pared back if the UK fails to get a grip on the crisis. The NHS has said it is well prepared for the growing threat but senior doctors have admitted that they could have to ration care. Under protocol dubbed ‘Three Wise Men’, a hospital’s most senior consultants would meet daily and decide which patients would get beds and ventilators.It means that vulnerable people such as the elderly and already seriously ill would be given less priority than younger and healthier patients.It comes as a London teacher who caught the coronavirus has revealed both her parents, who lived in Wuhan, have died since the outbreak began.Muying Shi, 37, was visiting her parents in the Chinese city at the centre of the epidemic, which is her hometown, when the virus started to spread.She was trapped in the lockdown and then caught COVID-19 herself and was taken into isolation in a hospital after a CT scan revealed signs of infection in her lungs.Her father, Xianging, has since died from the illness, which causes severe pneumonia and can be particularly deadly for old people.And her mother, Liping, who had end-stage cancer, could not get proper medical treatment because Wuhan’s hospitals were so overloaded with coronavirus patients.Ms Shi is still in Wuhan, where authorities are still preventing people from leaving the city, and said she is recovered and just waiting to return home to the UK. It comes as one of England’s coronavirus patients managed to fly into the UK from Milan without going through any health checks, according to reports.A case confirmed yesterday was believed to be in a Surrey man who had flown home without visiting any of the towns at the centre of Italy’s quarantine zone.Flights from the Italian city, which is the closest airport to the locked-down area of northern Italy, land in the UK dozens of times a day.But a correspondent for ITV’s Good Morning Britain shared a video of him walking through Heathrow arrivals from a Milan flight without going through any special checks.More than 650 people have now been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Italy, with almost all of the cases declared in a devastating surge which started last weekend.There are now fears that many more people will have become infected with the virus while on half-term trips to the Alps and brought it in through British airports, and that people continue to travel into the UK from the disease-hit region. Workers stop preparations for the upcoming 90th Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland after it was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak A view of cars inside an exhibition hall as workers stopped preparations for the 90th Geneva International Motor Show, which was scheduled to begin on March 5WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE DEADLY CORONAVIRUS IN CHINA?Someone who is infected with the coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.Nearly 3,000 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 83,000 have been infected. Here’s what we know so far:What is the coronavirus? A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. ‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). ‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died. By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000. By February 5, there were more than 24,000 cases and 492 deaths.By February 11, this had risen to more than 43,000 cases and 1,000 deaths. A change in the way cases are confirmed on February 13 – doctors decided to start using lung scans as a formal diagnosis, as well as laboratory tests – caused a spike in the number of cases, to more than 60,000 and to 1,369 deaths.By February 25, around 80,000 people had been infected and some 2,700 had died. February 25 was the first day in the outbreak when fewer cases were diagnosed within China than in the rest of the world. Where does the virus come from?According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.’We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’ So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.’Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. ‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.’Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’How does the virus spread?The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.There is now evidence that it can spread third hand – to someone from a person who caught it from another person.What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause. Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it. More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.How dangerous is the virus? The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.Can the virus be cured? The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic? The outbreak is an epidemic, which is when a disease takes hold of one community such as a country or region. Although it has spread to dozens of countries, the outbreak is not yet classed as a pandemic, which is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’.The head of WHO’s global infectious hazard preparedness, Dr Sylvie Briand, said: ‘Currently we are not in a pandemic. We are at the phase where it is an epidemic with multiple foci, and we try to extinguish the transmission in each of these foci,’ the Guardian reported.She said that most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.