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Number of UK patients tested for coronavirus jumps to 52

epa08159761 People wearing face masks arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, 24 January 2020. The UK is to begin monitoring direct flights from China to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Britain. EPA/ANDY RAIN

People wearing face masks arrive at Heathrow Airport in London (Picture: EPA)

All the people tested for the coronavirus in the UK have come back as not having the deadly virus.

Around 52 people across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been tested for the flu-like illness.

The current risk to the public remains low, the Department of Health (DoH) said, adding the Government is continuing to monitor the situation closely.

In China, where coronavirus originated, there have been 56 deaths, and 1,975 infections, as a result of the infection.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 26: A woman wears a respirator mask during Chinese New Year Celebration in Chinatown in London, England on January 26, 2020. London Chinatown entered the Chinese new year ("year of the rat") in the shadow of coronavirus with pedestrians covering their faces with sanitary masks but celebrations went on in London. Until now nobody has been diagnosed as infected with coronavirus in United Kingdom. China officially announced the Wuhan's virus outbreak can be transmitted human-to-human and implemented a public transportation and airport lockdown to slow down the spread of the virus. (Photo by Ilyas Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A woman wears a respirator mask during Chinese New Year Celebration in Chinatown in London (Picture: Getty)

epa08166995 Onlookers watch a Chinese traditional Lion parade during the Chinese New Year celebrations in London, Britain, 26 January 2020. The Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China and Tet in Vietnam, fell on 25 January 2020 this year, marking the beginning of the Year of the Rat. EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Onlookers watch a Chinese traditional Lion parade during the Chinese New Year celebrations in London (Picture: EPA)

Health officials are continuing to track down around 2,000 people who have recently flown into the UK from Wuhan, the area of China worst affected by the outbreak.

The DoH confirmed it is trying to find ‘as many passengers as we can’ who arrived from the region in the past two weeks to check on their wellbeing.

It is understood Border Force officers have been recruited to help speed up the search for passengers as testing for the virus continues in the UK.

A public health hub has been set up in Heathrow, staffed by a rotating team of seven clinicians working in shifts to support patients on arrival.

NHS staff have also been given an 11-page guide on how to handle coronavirus.

The Public Health England booklet, which was seen by the Sunday Times, advised GPs to keep anyone they suspected of having the virus in a closed and room and to not examine them.

Anyone looking at a suspected coronavirus patient was also told to wear full-face visors.

The guide adds: ‘The act of moving a recently deceased patient on to a hospital trolley for transportation to the mortuary might be sufficient to expel small amounts of air from the lungs and thereby present a minor risk.

‘A body bag should be used for transferring the body and those handling the body at this point should use full PPE [personal protective equipment].’

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FILE PHOTO: Medical staff carry a box as they walk at the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

Medical staff at the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan (Picture: Reuters)

epa08149198 Passengers wearing protective masks walk inside Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 21 January 2020 (issued 22 January 2020). A new type of coronavirus has infected hundreds of people in the city. EPA/YUAN ZHENG CHINA OUT

Passengers wearing protective masks walk inside Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, Hubei (Picture: EPA)

TOPSHOT - Medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 25, 2020. - The Chinese army deployed medical specialists on January 25 to the epicentre of a spiralling viral outbreak that has killed 41 people and spread around the world, as millions spent their normally festive Lunar New Year holiday under lockdown. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

A patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan (Picture: Getty)

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said there was a “fair chance” cases would emerge in Britain as the overall number reported around the world climbed to around 2,000 including 56 deaths, which have all occurred in China.

The professor spoke following a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall on Friday, chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He said: ‘We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage.’

Prof Whitty added: ‘We think there’s a fair chance we may get some cases over time.

‘Of course this depends on whether this continues for a long time, or whether this turns out to be something which is brought under control relatively quickly.’

He said the virus looked ‘a lot less dangerous’ than contracting Ebola, the recent coronavirus MERS and ‘probably less dangerous’ than SARS virus.

But he added: ‘What we don’t know is how far it’s going to spread, that really is something we need to plan for all eventualities.’

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TOPSHOT - Medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 25, 2020. - The Chinese army deployed medical specialists on January 25 to the epicentre of a spiralling viral outbreak that has killed 41 people and spread around the world, as millions spent their normally festive Lunar New Year holiday under lockdown. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Medical staff arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan (Picture: Getty)

BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 25: Chinese men wear protective masks as they walk by a decoration marking the Year of the Rat in a park after celebrations for the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival were cancelled by authorities on January 25, 2020 in Beijing, China. The number of cases of a deadly new coronavirus rose to over 1300 in mainland China Saturday as health officials locked down the city of Wuhan earlier in the week in an effort to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease which medicals experts have been confirmed can be passed from human to human. In an unprecedented move, Chinese authorities put travel restrictions on the city of Wuhan and neighbouring cities affecting a population of over 35 million. The number of those who have died from the virus in China climbed to at least 41 on Saturday and cases have been reported in other countries including the United States, Australia, France, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Chinese men wear protective masks as they walk by a decoration marking the Year of the Rat (Picture: Getty)

Britons trapped in the Chinese province at the centre of the outbreak Hubei have been urged to leave the area if they are able to do so.

The Foreign Office updated its guidance to ‘advise against all travel to Hubei province’, which has been on lockdown for several days as China seeks to contain the illness.

But the guidance also said: ‘If you are in this area and able to leave, you should do so. This is due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel added she was ‘looking at all options’ to help Britons leave Wuhan following reports that officials have been asked to examine the logistics for an airlift from the city.

Authorities in China have cancelled a host of events marking New Year as they expand their lockdown against the virus.



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