Coronavirus: 132 dead almost 6,000 infected as UK prepares evacuation flight

29 January 2020, 09:32 | Updated: 29 January 2020, 19:27

Chinese authorities are trying to contain the outbreak
Chinese authorities are trying to contain the outbreak. Picture: PA

The death toll from the deadly coronavirus outbreak which is sweeping across China has reached 132 with almost 6,000 infected.

The last 24 hours saw 26 recorded deaths, with all but one in Hubei province, which has been the epicentre of the outbreak.

Health authorities confirmed an increase in the number of cases with 1,459 extra infected since Tuesday, taking the total number of patients to 5,974.

Many countries have started the process of evacuating their citizens from Wuhan, with the UK preparing an evacuation operation.

On Wednesday evening, World Athletics announced the World Athletics Indoor Championship would be postponed until March 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A medical worker being sent to Wuhan kisses goodbye to his partner
A medical worker being sent to Wuhan kisses goodbye to his partner. Picture: PA

Maeve Clarke, a Birmingham City University lecturer who is stuck in Wuhan, the city that has been hardest hit by the outbreak spoke to LBC News on Wednesday morning.

Maeve told LBC News presenter, Jim Diamond, she was concerned, she said it was "scary to be here."

She said British government officials had been in contact with her and said they were "putting into motion plans to fly us out of Wuhan." 

"They don't know what time, and we have to make our own way to the airport."She said on Wednesday morning she was just waiting to hear more from the UK authorities.

Maeve told LBC News one difficulty was working out how to get to the airport because "everything is shut down."

She revealed to she had received no information from the Chinese government, and the only information she can get is from the TV and friends and family.

Flights taking Brits back home could begin as early as Thursday, according to one Brit in Wuhan city who said UK citizens were being given details of forthcoming flights.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office updated its advice on Tuesday to warn against “all but essential travel” to mainland China, saying it may become more difficult for British nationals in other provinces to leave.

Earlier on Wednesday a plane evacuating Americans left Wuhan for Alaska, where passengers will be screened for the virus before being flown to California.

Four cases have been confirmed in Germany, making it the second European country to report cases, after France.

A Japanese-chartered flight carrying 206 evacuees from Wuhan landed early Wednesday at Tokyo's

Haneda airport.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong will cut all rail links to the mainland and halve the number of flights to stop the spread of the virus.

South Korea also said it will send a plane for its citizens and France, Mongolia and other governments have also planned evacuations.

China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further.

The lockdown has trapped more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease control measures ever imposed.

A Japanese aircraft was bringing 20,000 face masks and protective gear, all in short supply as Hubei's hospitals grapple with a growing number of patients.

Wuhan is building two hospitals in a matter of days to add 2,500 beds for treatment of patients with the virus.

Experts worry the new virus may spread more easily than originally thought or may have mutated into a form that does so.

The coronavirus family is responsible for causing the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS.