Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Four more Brits infected by coronavirus 'super spreader' bringing total to eight
10 February 2020, 09:55
Another four people in the UK have tested positive for Coronavirus after coming into contact with a so-called "super spreader".
The new cases are known contacts of the unnamed man, who was hospitalised with the disease after testing positive in Brighton.
The businessman returned to the UK following a trip to Singapore, but stopped in a ski region of France, where a further five Britons were subsequently taken ill with the virus.
The four adults and a nine-year-old child, who are not in a serious condition, were staying in the Alpine resort area of Contamines-Montjoie near Mont Blanc.
He has also been connected with coronavirus cases in Spain.
The Department of Health said the four people newly-diagnosed contracted the virus in France.
Authorities are now trying to identify the 183 passengers and six crew who were on the same easyJet flight as the man from Geneva to London.
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, said: “Four further patients in England have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.
“The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France.
"Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.
"The patients have been transferred to specialist NHS centres at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and The Royal Free hospitals, and we are now using robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus.
"The NHS is extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them, and we are working quickly to identify any further contacts these patients have had."
The new cases come as Health Secretary Matt Hancock declared coronavirus a "serious and imminent threat to public health" and said those who are diagnosed could be forcibly quarantined.
It is understand the decision was in response to one of the Britons who returned from Wuhan attempting to leave isolation.
A Government source said "there was someone who was threatening to abscond from Arrowe Park" despite all the Britons who returned on the evacuation flight signing a contract agreeing to a 14-day quarantine period, which ends this Thursday.
The coronavirus death toll has risen to 908 as China's health ministry announced a further 97 deaths, and said another 3,062 cases had been reported over the previous 24 hours.
The total number of cases in mainland China has hit at 40,171 which was a 15% increase from Saturday.
Japan's health minister confirmed 60 more people, including one British national, on a quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for the virus with a total of 130 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess, quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, with officials previously saying 70 people had the virus among the 3,711 passengers and crew.
More than 3,600 people are still in a 14-day quarantine on board the ship.