Deadliest coronavirus day in China claims 86 lives

Friday marked the deadliest day for the coronavirus in China, with 86 people tragically losing their lives.

More than 720 people have now died from the virus while at least 34,500 are infected across 27 countries, with five British nationals testing positive in the French Alps today.

An American citizen was the first foreigner confirmed to die from the illness in China on Saturday, while a Japanese man has also passed away after experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus.

The ‘deadliest day’ comes as a leading British scientist warns that the ‘real’ number of cases could be ‘ten times’ higher than reported.

Although the number of reported cases has slowed over the past two days, John Edmunds, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Mail that the ‘mild disease could be missed if somebody doesn’t seek healthcare’.

He added that the true scale of the outbreak involves ‘guesswork’, saying: ‘And none of the tests is going to be 100 per cent sensitive so it is not unusual to only capture maybe 10 per cent of the cases.’

The US national, 60, died on Thursday February 6 at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the crisis.

A US embassy spokesman in Beijing said: ‘We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.’

The Japanese man, who was in his 60s, was taken to hospital with pneumonia in Wuhan, but was suspected to be infected with the coronavirus, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

Due to difficulties in diagnosis, the official cause of death was given as viral pneumonia, the ministry added, citing Chinese medical authorities.

As of midday on Thursday, 17 foreigners were being quarantined and treated for the disease in China, according to government figures.

The only reported fatalities outside the mainland have been a Chinese man in the Philippines and a man, 39, in Hong Kong.

All five Britons who tested positive on Saturday had been staying in a chalet in the Alpine ski resort of Contamines-Montjoie, in in the eastern Haute-Savoie region.

French health minister Agnès Buzyn said the patients were in a ‘stable condition’ and being monitored constantly at an unnamed hospital in Haute-Savoie.

The first UK national to test positive for the illness is currently at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

He was diagnosed in Brighton but it’s believed he caught the illness in Singapore.

A University of York student and a family member, both thought to be Chinese nationals, are also being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary infectious diseases centre in Newcastle.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced this week that 150 Britons would be flown back from Wuhan on Sunday on one final UK-chartered rescue flight.

The group will be quarantined in Kents Hill Park, a conference centre and hotel in Milton Keynes.

A spokesperson said: ‘The local site has been chosen because it offers appropriate accommodation and other facilities for those coming back from Wuhan while they stay in Milton Keynes.

‘It also allows their health to be regularly monitored and has the necessary medical facilities close at hand should they be required.’

An evacuation of 83 Britons from Wuhan also took place on January 31.

Those from this flight continue to be monitored at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral as they go into the second week of their 14-day quarantine.

On Friday, a British honeymooner was taken to hospital after he and 60 other passengers tested positive for the illness on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined off Yokohama in Japan until February 19.

Lorry driver Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, was ‘feeling healthy’ on Saturday, according to new wife Wendy Marshall Steele.

There are 78 people with British passports among the some 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship, sources say.

Another cruise ship named the World Dream, which has 66 Britons on board, is also quarantined in Hong Kong after eight former passengers caught the illness, thought to originate from a Wuhan market.

None of the 3,600 people on the vessel have tested positive.

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