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Coronavirus LIVE: British oil rig workers AT RISK as crew member tested for deadly virus

The crew member, who works on a North sea platform is to be tested for the coronavirus. The worker recently returned from Thailand and is being kept in isolation as a precautionary measure. They are being separated on the Tern Alpha platform until test results are known. 

The news comes as Labour MP, Alex Sobel, is being tested for the virus, after being in the same venue as someone who later discovered she had the coronavirus.

The Chinese woman, who later presented herself to Lewisham Hospital in an Uber, was among 250 guests at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster on Monday.

Public Health England has since sent a letter to everyone who attended the event, warning them of the risks of contamination. They said: “While the degree of contact you may have had with the case at the summit is unlikely to have been significant, we are taking a precautionary approach and informing you.” 

Guests were told to self-isolate for two weeks if they developed symptoms. 

Lilian Greenwood, Nottingham South MP, and Gareth Powell, the head of Transport for London’s bus network, were also in attendance. 

The Uber driver’s account has been temporarily suspended, reports suggest. 

And across the globe, outbreak panic is also spreading rapidly. 

On Friday, an airline was forced to apologise to customers after a distasteful sign written in Korean advised passengers not to use the toilet on a plane flying from Amsterdam to Seoul. 

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A person on board took a snap of the handwritten note which read “lavatory for crew members only” and posted it on Twitter, sparking a fierce backlash against KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France KLM. 

The airline was accused of discriminating against South Korean passengers because the notice was written only in their native language. 



Fears have been sparked on an oil rig after a worker was isolated for Coronavirus tests (Image: GETTY)


JCB has cut workers’ hours amid a shortage in supplies from China (Image: Stoke Sentinel)

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Saturday, February 15

4:57am update: US to evacuate nationals from cruise ship 

The US is planning to evacuate 380 Americans who are stuck on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is currently under quarantine in Japan, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Seperately San Diego County in California has declared a precautionary local emergency in response to coronavirus fears. 

3.54am update: Fears increase for Tokyo Olympics 

Fears for the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus are increasing despite organisers insisting there is no “Plan B”.

Japan, one of the worst affected countries outside China, had its first coronavirus death on Friday. 

Also on Friday John Coates, managing an International Olympic Committee inspection team, insisted “Tokyo 2020 remains on track”. 

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2.37am update: Chinese gymnasts drop out of world cup 

A team of Chinese gymnasts has been pulled out of next week’s world cup after the Australian Government imposed travel restrictions. 

The event, hosted in Melbourne, acts as a qualifier for the Olympic Games. 

However on Thursday Australia extended its restrictions on people travelling from China for another week. 

Gymnastics Australia CEO Kitty Chiller said: “It has been a very challenging few weeks for us all, but none more so than for the Chinese gymnasts and officials who have been training and preparing to come to Melbourne.” 

1.27am update: All returning Beijing residents face quarantine 

Authorities in Beijing have announced all residents returning to the city will be placed in quarantine, either at home or under observation, for 14 days. 

The announcement was made by the Leading Group of Beijing New Coronavirus Pneumonia Epidemic Prevention and Control Office. 

This body said anyone who fails to comply will be “held accountable to the law”. 

0.35am update: China reports 139 more virus deaths 

Chinese authorities have reported anouther 139 coronavirus deaths.

Another 2,420 people have been diagnosed as having the virus. 

The virus has reached every Chinese province with Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangxi and Henan having the most cases. 


The vast majority of coronavirus deaths have taken place in China (Image: GETTY)

Friday, February 14

11.35pm update: Coronavirus death toll hits 1,523

The number of people killed worldwide by the coronavirus has risen to 1,523. 

The vast majority of these deaths took place in China. 

Separately China has reported its first case of the virus. 

10.30pm update: President Trump thanks Cambodia for letting cruise ship dock 

President Trump has taken to Twitter to thank Cambodia for letting The Westerdam, a Carnival cruise ship, dock despite coronavirus fears. 

He commented: “Thank you to the beautiful country of Cambodia for accepting the @CarnivalCruise ship Westerdam into your port.

“The United States will remember your courtesy!”

Several countries had already turned the ship away. 

James Bickerton takes over live reporting from Rebekah Evans 

9.45pm update: 2020 Tokyo Olympics to go ahead despite coronavirus fears

The 2020 Olympics hosted by Tokyo is set to go ahead despite fears of the coronavirus.

International Olympic Committee officials said the Summer Games would go ahead as planned, although they were currently in discussions with the World Health Organisation.

John Coates, head of the International Olympic committee inspection team, said: “Certainly the advice we have received externally from the W.H.O. is that there is no case for any contingency plans or canceling the games or moving the games.”

When asked if he was “100 percent confident” the Olympics would go ahead, he replied “Yes.”

9.15pm update: UK doctor’s surgery put on lockdown

A doctor’s surgery in Portsmouth was placed on lockdown for deep cleaning after a woman with suspected coronavirus visited the practice for a check-up.

The woman had recently flown in from Gatwick, and attended the surgery after experiencing symptoms. 

She has now been transferred to hospital to undergo tests. 

Kingston Cresecent Surgery was evacuated at 4.30pm due to what waiting patients were told was an “emergency”. 

Dr Sarah Swindells, from the GP surgery, said: “We have closed with a suspected case of coronavirus; we’re following Public Health England guidance and are in contact with them and NHS England.

“This is evolving minute by minute for us but at the moment it’s just a suspected case.”

8.50pm update: US to test for coronavirus in five states

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it will begin tests for coronavirus using its seasonal influenza surveillance system across five states. 

The agency is working with labs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York City to start tests for the virus,.

Patients who record flu-like symptoms will be tested for the novel coronavirus. 

The US thus far has confirmed 15 cases of the deadly virus. 

8.20pm update: Tech giants meet up to discuss coronavirus

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation tweeted that Facebook, Amazon, Google and YouTube, amongst other tech companies, sat down at a conference to discuss misinformation surrounding the coronavirus.

The event was hosted at Facebook’s Menlo Park campus. 

The group decided to set aside their differences to collaboratively work on the new project which seeks to target and get rid of misinformation.

Andy Pattison from WHO said: “The purpose of that was to plant seeds of ideas, and it worked welll. I encouraged collaboration and innovation. During a crisis, it’s a good time for that.”

7.55pm update: Senior Chinese diplomat says disease is “under control”

A senior Chinese diplomat has said China has taken rigorous steps to ensure the coronavirus is under control.

Wang Yi, State Councillor who also serves as China’s foreing minister, acknowledged the outbreak had been a “challenge”, but lashed out at the “over-reaction” of other countries.

In an interview with Reuters, he urged the US not to take unnecessary virus response measures that could hamper trade, travel and tourism. 

He said: “Through our efforts the epidemic is overall under control.”

7.15pm update: Bejing orders 14 day quarantine for returnees

Bejing has ordered that anyone returning the the city go into quarantine for 14 days or risk punishment, a state media report has said.

Residents have been told to “self-quarantine or go to designated venues to quarantine” if they are returning from holidays or trips abroad.

The annoucement was made as citizens returned following Lunar New Year celebrations.

6.40pm update: Egypt confirms its first Coronavirus case

Egypt has confirmed its first Coronavirus case today, but has said the affected person is a foreigner.

The health ministry said it immediately informed the World Health Organisation of the illlness.

WHO Egypt confirmed on Twitter that a person was carrying the virus, but said the person had not shown any symptoms.

They are currently in a stable condition in an isolated ward in hospital. 


The coronavirus is being tackled worldwide (Image: Getty)

6.15pm update: Man kept in isolation at Scottish university given the all clear

A man who was kept in isolation at a Scottish university over fears surrounding the coronavirus has been given the all clear by medical professionals.

The man who is said to be part of the “Heriot-Watt community” was isolated at the Edinburgh campus, after reporting symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

Secretary of the university Ann Marie Dalton-Pillay, said: “I am pleased to confirm a member of our University community has been confirmed negative for Covid-19 (coronavirus) and is now considered to be well.

“We are unaware of any other cases. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at our Edinburgh campus for their cooperation and understanding.”

5.40pm update: Bogus email pretending to be World Health Organisation sent out in ‘charity’ con

A fradulent email which claims to be from the World Health Organisation has been sent out, asking them to donate money to fund a vaccine for the coronavirus cure.

The scammers are asking people to donate money towards a £675m ‘charity’ pot to fight the spread of disease.

The e-mail read: “Good day. This message is coming from world health organisation to reach out to individuals who will like to donate for the research of vaccine for coronavirus before it spread globally.

“World Health Organisation’s we are requesting for £675 million in global Contribution to fight the spread of the disease.

“Kindly get back to us if you will like to donated.”

It is unclear how many people the email has been sent to, or if anyone has fallen for the scam.

5.10pm update: UK risk of importing cases of coronavirus is the highest in Europe

A new study undertaken by a peer-reviewed journal has revealed the UK’s risk of importing coronavirus is at a staggering 39 percent.

The study also found Europe as a whole had a 61 percent chance of importing cases.

The risk, however was significantly higher in Western Europe as opposed to the rest of the continent.

The UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands were found to be at the highest risk.

For the full story, click here.

4.45pm update: Quarantined cruise ship couple beg Richard Branson for help

A British couple stuck aboard a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan has pleaded with billionaire Richard Branson for help.

David Abel made his request on a Facebook live video where he spoke about life aboard the ship.

He asked Mr Branson to charter one of his Virgin planes to fly out British passengers so they could continue their quarantine at home.

Mr Abel said that although he was a “staunch Tory” he had “no confidence” in Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deal with the situation.

He added: “When he [Johnson] says ‘keep calm, don’t panic’ – I’d like to see you in this situation, mate. I really would.”

4.15pm update: EU Ministers fear shortages of medicines and protective clothing

EU Ministers have expressed concern over a lack of medicine and protective equipment, as both are mainly produced in China. 

Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beros, whose country holds the EU Presidency currently, said: “We are concerned about the availability of active ingredients for drugs.”

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides added that half of protective equipment for the EU is produced in China. 

In the long term, the EU is looking to expand its pharmaceutical production capacities in order to deal better with deficiencies in “something as vital as medication”. 

If the situation is to worsen, the EU said it will take “other measures” including closing borders. 

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg 

3.50pm update: More than 300 children in self-isolation in Tuscany after returning from China

The families of 304 children and students who have returned from a trip to China have voluntarily decided to self-isolate them.

The students live all over Tuscany, in Florence, Prato, Empoli and Pistoia.

They will remain in at-home quarantine for two weeks after a trip to one of the at-risk areas in China. 

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

3.30pm update: World Health Organisation chief sends experts to China

World Health Organisation boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said international health experts will touch down in China at the weekend to investigate the coronavirus.

The mission to China will focus on understanding how the virus is transmitted.

It is hoped the experts will be able to witness how the disease is spread so it can be stopped.

The scientists will also look at the impact of ongoing response measures. 

Live updates taken over by Rebekah Evans. Previously Laura O’Callaghan.


The coronavirus is being investigated by health experts (Image: Getty)

2.55pm update: Labour MP self-isolates over coronavirus risk 

Labour MP for Leeds North West, Alex Sobel, said he attended the UK bus summit in London and has called NHS 111 to be assessed.

He tweeted: “I attended the UK bus summit on the 6th Feb, where there was an attendee who has tested positive for coronavirus.

“Whilst I have been informed that I am at very low risk, I have called 111 to be formally assessed.

“As a precaution, we have cancelled all engagements until next Thursday when the 14-day potential incubation period will end.”

1.47pm update: QEII Centre staff advised to monitor health 

Mark Taylor, chief executive of the QEII Centre where a coronavirus patient attended a conference this week, said Public Health England officials 

Mr Taylor told Express.co.uk: “The QEII Centre received information from Public Health England on Thursday 13 February 2020 that a delegate who had attended the 6th Annual Bus Summit at the venue on Thursday 6 February 2020 is a confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

“Public Health England have stated that the risk of exposure or transmission to other delegates at the 6th Annual Bus Summit is low. 

“However, as a precaution, Public Health England has informed QEII that it is contacting all attendees via event organiser Transport Times.  

“The QEII Centre takes the health and safety of its clients, staff and partners very seriously and in addition to the business’s existing, thorough health and safety and hygiene practices, is following updated advice from the UK Government and Public Health England.  

“All QEII staff have been advised if they develop symptoms of a cough or fever or shortness of breath, they should immediately stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, as you would with the flu and call NHS 111.  

“On the advice of Public Health England, The QEII Centre remains fully open and events will continue to take place as normal.”

12.45pm update: JCB cuts workers’ hours over coronavirus crisis

Digger giant JCB has cut the hours of 4,000 of its employees as the firm prepares for expected shortages in supplies from China amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

The company is believed to be leading the way among major British manufacturers when it comes to rolling out measures ahead of possible consequences for industries. 

Workers will have a shorter week as JCB winds down its production and overtime is being suspended. 

The changes are due to be rolled out on Monday. 

The new rules will affect thousands of company and agency shop floor employees who work 

The measures will see the introduction of a 34-hour week for UK production employees until further notice.

However, JCB employees will be paid for a 39-hour week and will bank the hours, working them back later in the year.

For the full story, click here. 

12.01pm update: Scientist issues warning after infected patient shuns advice

As British officials scramble to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a scientist has warned members of the public to not shun advice issued by professionals – as many seem to be doing so. 

Dr Ravinder Kanda of Oxford Brooks University said Britons must remain vigilant despite the low number of cases in the country compared to other parts of the world. 

The senior lecturer in evolutionary genomics warned anyone being complacent should wake up to the fact that the virus has taken scientists by surprise in terms of the rate at which it has spread. 

On Thursday a Chinese woman showing signs of the infection took an Uber to Lewisham Hospital in south London where she tested positive for coronavirus. 

Her actions were a clear breach of protocol, as Public Health England has advised people to call an NHS hotline if they think they may have caught the virus. 

For the full story, click here. 

10.29am update: Suspicions grow over coronavirus in North Korea

North Korea has yet to officially declare a single case of coronavirus, but experts are convinced Kim Jong-un’s regime is covering up its infection rate.

Officials in the hermit kingdom were pictured holding a meeting wearing face masks, prompting fresh concerns they are covering up cases of coronavirus. 

Experts fear that Kim Jong-un’s regime is not being honest about the situation in the country in order to deflect signs of weakness. It comes as the United States said it would lift sanctions and approve humanitarian assistance to North Korea to counter the spread of disease.

For the full story, click here. 


The virus-infected woman had attended a bus conference at the QEII centre in Westminster before falling ill (Image: GETTY)


The Chinese woman who arrived at Lewisham Hospital in an Uber was the UK’s ninth case of the virus (Image: GETTY)

10.10am update: BREAKING: Heathrow passengers on lockdown

Passengers on board a flight from San Francisco to Heathrow Airport in London have been told they are not allowed to leave the plane as a person on board is suspected of having coronavirus.

The United Airlines flight touched down Terminal 2 in the west London airport this morning.

For more on this developing story, click here. 

9.56am update: Coronavirus travel ban lifted 

The Philippines will lift a travel ban it had imposed on visitors from Taiwan in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus, a senior Philippine official and Taiwan’s official news agency said on Friday.

The move follows a warning by Taipei of possible retaliation against the ban.

The Philippine official said the decision had been made but declined to be named until the agreement was signed.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency cited an unnamed source in the Philippines as saying the ban would be lifted.

9.10am update: Coronavirus patients given plasma from other infected people 

Plasma from patients who have recovered from coronavirus is being collected after medical experts discovered it aided critically ill people in their fight against the infection. 

China National Biotech Group, a state-owned firm, is using the plasma to treat more than 10 seriously ill people. 

The matter found in blood contains highly potent antibodies. 

The company claimed the batch of patients who have been receiving the plasma since last Saturday improved within 24 hours of it being administered. 

They experienced a reduction in inflammation and viral loads as well as improved levels of oxygen in their blood. 

8.44am update: First French nationals repatriated over coronavirus end quarantine

The first group of French nationals repatriated from China due to the coronavirus outbreak returned to the outside world on Friday after two weeks in quarantine.

None of the 181 involved – who had been flown home from Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic – tested positive for the virus, local health officials said.

“There have been no problems …but people are happy that it’s over,” said Marc Zyltman, Red Cross head at the southern holiday resort of Carry-Le-Rouet where they were quarantined. 

A further 157 people remain in quarantine in southern France, of whom 122 will be allowed home on February 16 and the remainder on February 23.

France has recorded 11 cases of the virus, out of a global total of 63,851, of whom the vast majority are in China. 

8.23am update: China says 1,716 health workers infected by coronavirus, six dead

A senior Chinese health official said on Friday 1,716 health workers have been infected by the coronavirus and six of them have died.

National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin told a news conference the number of infected medical staff was increasing.

“At present, the duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy; their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high,” Mr Zeng said.

More than 87 percent of infected medical workers were in Hubei, the province at the epicentre of the outbreak.

More than 60,000 people have been infected by coronavirus.


KLM apologised after the sign written in Korean caused upset to customers (Image: GETTY)


A sign stuck to the door of the plane’s toilet told passengers not to use the facility (Image: GETTY)

7.45am update: Fury after plane bans passengers from toilets 

A Twitter user has accused KLM of using the outbreak of the deadly virus, which has left nearly 1,400 dead, as an “excuse” to treat Asian passengers differently to everyone else. 

The person wrote: “Dear KLM… Today, you made it quite clear that you discriminate against race. Using Coronavirus as an excuse. 

“You owe my friend and Korea a HUGE apology.” 

Posts in English and Korean about the incident gathered thousands of retweets and likes. 

And the hashtag BoycottKLM began trending on Korean Twitter. 

One person vowed to “never fly KLM” because of the incident. 

They said: “I am totally disgusted by the reaction from the crew and the forced, reluctant apology from KLM.” 

On Friday, the company offered a public apology, four days after the 10-hour flight from the Netherlands to Seoul’s Incheon airport. 

KLM executives bowed as they publicly apologised at a news conference in Seoul, saying they take allegations of discrimination “very seriously”. They vowed to prevent it from happening again. 

“This is a human mistake, and we don’t take it lightly,” said Guillaume Glass, an Air France-KLM regional general manager. 

“We are deeply sorry that this was viewed as discrimination, which was absolutely not the intention of the crew.” 

The crew said using only Korean on the sign was simply an oversight. An English notice was added after passengers complained, Mr Glass said.

It is not KLM policy to reserve lavatories for crew, he added. 

On Wednesday, South Korea’s transportation ministry released a statement warning KLM over its “discriminatory measures” and calling on the company to ensure it didn’t happen again. 

At a previously scheduled meeting on Friday, Dutch Ambassador Joanne Doornewaard expressed regret over the incident to Transportation Minister Kim Hyun-mee. 

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