Coronavirus death toll hits 132 as number of Chinese cases rises by 1400
29th January 2020

The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 132 with cases going up by 1,400 in a day.

China's National Health Commission released the latest statistics on Wednesday, with the total number of cases in the country standing at 5,974.

People returning to the UK from Wuhan in China where the virus broke out have been told to "self isolate" for two weeks – even if they have no symptoms.

This comes as fears the deadly virus could have spread to Birmingham have emerged after a medic was seen wearing a face mask and hood pulled up as he got into an ambulance in Harborne.

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Drew Bennett, a 39-year-old sales worker, who is now isolated in hospital, is joined by a medic who is wearing a white suit, a mask with a visor, gloves and a blue apron, and carrying a bag of equipment.

In the video, two paramedics in uniform are not wearing protective suits and at least one is not wearing a mask, sparking questions about measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

A PHE spokesperson said: "There are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the UK and we will not providing rolling updates on tests that are underway by PHE.

"When a clinician assesses someone who meets the case definition for novel coronavirus, they take samples from the nose, throat and deeper respiratory tract and send these samples to PHE Colindale.  PHE can provide a laboratory result from this specific virus in 24 hours."

Cases linked to people who travelled from Wuhan have been confirmed in a dozen countries, from Japan to the United States.

Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported eight cases of infection; the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau have five each; Japan, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; France three; Vietnam and Canada two each, and one each in Germany, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

No fatalities have been reported outside China.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr Bennett told  BirminghamLive that he returned from Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak, on December 31.

He said he felt unwell at home and thought he had the flu, but his symptoms eventually went away.

When he went to his GP for an unrelated matter on Monday, the doctor asked him if he had recently visited China.

After Mr Bennett confirmed that he had been in Wuhan and had felt unwell, and he is now in isolation at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he underwent blood tests.

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