The holiday plans of millions of Britons could be at risk after the number of coronavirus cases around the world overtook China for the first time.
Brazil yesterday reported its first patient with the illness, which means the virus has now spread to every continent except Antarctica.
Cases were also diagnosed for the first time in Greece, North Macedonia, Georgia and Pakistan.
British Airways yesterday cancelled dozens of flights to Milan due to a drop in demand.
And fresh cases in Spain, France, Croatia, Austria and Switzerland sparked industry fears that people may choose not to go on holiday.
Italy has emerged as the epicentre of a European outbreak with 50 more cases, including eight children, reported yesterday – taking the country’s toll past 370. Twelve patients have died.
A health worker screens the temperature of a passenger arriving from Milan Bergamo to Krakow International Airport on February 26
AS Roma fans wearing face masks inside the stadium before the match amid concern following a coronavirus outbreak in Italy
Travellers to and from Britain are in limbo about whether they should cancel their business or holiday travel for fear of being exposed to the killer virus sweeping the globe.
Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough is one of more than a dozen schools which have been completely closed after students and staff returned from Italian ski trips. The Health Secretary has urged them to stay open
The developments came as guidance issued to airlines by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency warned passengers not to fly if they have a cough or cold.
Experts fear Europe’s outbreak could have a devastating effect on the tourism industry with airlines worldwide facing up to a £23billion loss because of the virus.
In Italy, the worst-affected areas are Lombardy, which includes Milan, and Veneto, which covers Venice, and Emilia-Romagna.
The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to 11 affected towns in the north of the country.
However holidaymakers travelling to other Italian cities and nearby countries have expressed fears that if they cancel flights they will not be entitled to refunds.
Refunds will only apply to those whose holidays are disrupted when the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel.
A man is pictured wearing a face mask on the London Underground as UK officials step up their preparations for cases of coronavirus to start appearing on British soil
At least 13 schools have closed and 20 have sent pupils and staff home for health and safety reasons after pupils went on trips to the Alps
Worldwide, more than 80,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 2,700 have died. Numbers continued to rise across Europe this week
NHS to extend home testing for coronavirus to stop it spreading
The NHS is looking to extend home testing for coronavirus, while a new public information campaign will be launched, Matt Hancock has announced.
The Health Secretary also urged schools not to close unless they had a confirmed case of the virus.
The NHS has already started pilots of home testing for coronavirus in London, where nurses and paramedics visit people with symptoms in their own homes rather than them needing to travel, which risks spreading the virus.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock suggested that home testing will be rolled out more widely, to complement existing hospital testing and the ‘isolation pods’ which have been sited at hospitals in England for people who turn up at A&E with symptoms.
He said: ‘We now have testing sites at all A&E facilities, as far as we know, across England.
‘But we’re also planning to introduce home testing and some of this has started already so that people don’t have to go to the pods in front of A&E which have been put there to ensure that people don’t actually go into A&E where they might infect others.
‘Home testing is the safest place to be tested because then you don’t have to go anywhere, and that will allow us to roll out testing to a much larger number of people as well.’
Despite British Airways’ cutbacks, other major airlines vowed to continue flying to Italy as well as Tenerife, which has also suffered a major virus outbreak.
A spokesman for BA said it was merging some flights between Heathrow and Linate airport ‘to match reduced demand’.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘People are understandably concerned about how their travel plans will be impacted, and a lack of clear and timely information has left many travellers confused about their options.
‘While the government has now updated its advice to cover the Italian locations that have experienced an outbreak, those travelling to nearby cities like Milan or Verona still won’t be able to cancel and claim on travel insurance, nor will those travelling to Tenerife.’
A total of 459 new cases were reported by 37 countries outside of China on Tuesday.
There were also alarming spikes in South Korea and Iran.
On the other hand, China reported 412 cases and the spread is finally slowing, according to the World Health Organisation.
Iran recorded 139 cases and 19 deaths and authorities urged people to avoid non-essential travel.
Anyone coming back from Iran to the UK is being urged to self-isolate for 14 days.
On Tuesday night, Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow announced he would be self-isolating for two weeks after visiting Iran.
On Tuesday South America’s first case was recorded in Brazil, a 61-year-old man from Sao Paulo who had returned from Northern Italy.
France recorded its second death, a 60-year-old in Paris.
The Foreign Office is currently advising against all but essential travel to the Hubei Province in China and all mainland China.
The advice also covers Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea.
Anyone with a holiday booked to a ‘do not travel’ area should be reimbursed by a provider or insurer.
It comes as children returning from schools trips to various parts of Italy have been sent home from school, with some being placed in safe isolation as fears grow that they have contracted the virus.
Many schools up and down the UK closed their doors this week with many vowing to remain closed until next week, despite health secretary Matt Hancock urging communities to keep their schools open.
Princess Charlotte and Prince George are pictured being collected from school by their parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
A general view showing Thomas’s Battersea school in London where Prince George and Princess Charlotte attend
WHERE ARE THE SCHOOLS THAT HAVE BEEN GRIPPED BY CORONAVIRUS FEARS AFTER SKI TRIPS TO NORTHERN ITALY?
- Lutton St Nicholas primary school in Lincolnshire
- Gedney Church End primary school
- St Christopher’s C of E High School in Accrington
- Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough
- Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire
- The Brine Leas Academy sixth form in Cheshire
- William Martin Junior and Infant School in Essex
- Tudor Grange Academy Kingshurst, Birmingham
- The ContinU Plus Academy in Kidderminster
- Lime Academy Watergall in Bretton, Peterborough
- Shepeau Stow Primary School, in Spalding
- St Peter’s Church of England Middle School, Old Windsor
- Archbishop Temple School, Preston
Pupils sent home
- Salendine Nook High School, Huddersfield
- Newquay Tretherras
- The Holt School, Wokingham
- Cambridge House Grammar School, County Antrim
- Penair School, Truro
- Torquay Boys’ Grammar School
- Haverfordwest High School, Pembrokeshire
- Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster
- Sandbach High School, Cheshire
- The Crispin School, Somerset
- Cleeve Park School, London (Sidcup)
- Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in West Derby
- Woodrush High School in Wythall, Birmingham
- Guernsey Grammar School
- Sydney Russel School in Dagenham
- Ysgol Friars School in Bangor, Wales
- Banbridge Academy in Northern Ireland
- Limavady Grammar School in Northern Ireland
- Ely College in Cambridgeshire
The children, who attend the Thomas’s Battersea school in southwest London have been sent home and are awaiting test results, it was reported this evening.
It comes as at least 13 schools across the UK closed their doors over fears of the virus spreading.
A number of schools have told staff and pupils to stay at home after returning from ski trips to northern Italy, where several towns in the Lombardy and Veneto regions remain on lockdown.
Children at the school in southwest London had recently been on a trip to northern Italy.
Two children returned from the trip after displaying flu-like symptoms and there is no suggestion that the royal children have been exposed to the virus.
The school’s website says that it runs a trip to Italy every two years.
This evening, Spanish newspaper El Confidencial published a statement from the school.
‘Like all schools, we are taking very seriously the potential risks related to the spread of Covid-19 and to this end we are following the Government’s instructions to the letter on infection prevention and case management in which it is suspected that some staff member or students exposed to the virus or showing any symptoms.
‘We currently have a very small number of students who have been evaluated and these individuals currently remain in their homes waiting to receive the results of their exams’.
It added that all parents had been informed and that information was being circulated regularly.
The school also said that it would ‘preserve the confidentiality of staff and students and would not comment on specific cases’.
More than 30 schools around the country have been caught up in panic and confusion after children returned home from ski trips to Italy.
But a school in Swansea is ignoring pleas from parents to shut down after a class returned from a ski trip to Italy with pupils told that they still have to come in unless they have the flu.
Cransley School, a private school in Northwich, Cheshire (pictured) announced it will be closed for the rest of the week because of coronavirus fears. It will also undergo a deep clean, in a precautionary move to prevent any cases
Three pupils at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School in Devon (left) tested negative for the virus after being sent home feeling ill after a school trip to Italy, and Cambridge House Grammar School (right) in County Atrim, Northern Ireland, sent home around 50 staff and pupils
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS?
The signs of COVID-19, the infection caused by the coronavirus, are often mild and are very similar to a cold, flu or chest infection.
Typical symptoms of infection include a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
These are common complaints at this time of year, so where someone has travelled or who they have come into contact with are important in determining whether they might have coronavirus.
The NHS considers people to be at risk if they have the symptoms above and have recently travelled to mainland China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or the north of Italy (north of Pisa and Florence).
People who have, in the past two weeks, been to the Hubei province of China, Iran, the South Korean cities of Daegu or Cheongdo in South Korea, or one of 11 quarantined towns in northern Italy are considered to be at risk even if they feel well.
The 11 towns in Italy are Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, San Fiorano and Vo’ Euganeo.
Those who have come into contact with others who have visited those places and then feel ill may also be at risk.
People who fit any of the categories above should stay at home and self-isolate, away from other people, and phone NHS 111 for more advice. If you think you have the coronavirus do not go to a doctor’s surgery or hospital.
The virus can spread through coughing, sneezing, or by being close to someone for prolonged periods of time.
To protect themselves, people should cough and sneeze into a tissue and throw it away, wash their hands and avoid contact with sick people.
Secondary school Cleeve Park, in Sidcup, south-east London also remained open today despite some of its pupils and staff reporting ‘feeling unwell’ after returning from a school ski trip to Bormio, in northern Italy on Saturday.
The school has announced today that it has advised an unspecified number of pupils and staff to isolate themselves at home, but allowed others from the trip attend.
It said it decided not to close after following advice from Public Health England that the school should remain open and all students should attend if they are well.
However, some parents are against the headmaster’s decision.
One father has chosen to keep his son at home until results come back negative.
Headteachers have the final say on when schools close for health and safety reasons such as illnesses or bad weather.
The latest to shut their doors are Lime Academy Watergall in Bretton, Peterborough and Shepeau Stow Primary in Spalding.
Lutton St Nicholas and Gedney Church End primary schools in Lincolnshire also closed ‘because of a potential connection to the Coronavirus by an individual within the school’.
St Christopher’s C of E High School in Accrington told parents it had to shut.
A member of staff at William Martin Junior and Infant School came back from a half-term holiday in Italy so is shut as a precaution today.
Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough and Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire, shut completely on Tuesday so they can be deep cleaned. The Brine Leas Academy, also in Cheshire, shut its sixth form yesterday.
St Peter’s Church of England Middle School in Windsor closed today for a ‘precautionary clean’ after a pupil returned home from a trip to Italy during half-term.
Archbishop Temple School in Preston closed and said in a notice on its website that it had an ‘unavoidable closure’ because a ski trip had recently returned from Pila, Italy.
Public Health England will be launching a new campaign which will help with cleanliness. Pictured above is a assessment pod at Chesterfield Royal Hospital
In London one woman was seen doing her daily commute while wearing a protective mask on the tube on Wednesday
People wear antivirus masks to protect themselves from Coronavirus infection in Rome in St. Peter’s Square and along Via della Conciliazione, the day of the beginning of Lent
Saudi Arabia finally BANS religious pilgrims from visiting Mecca or Medina to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Kingdom
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Kingdom stated that they had been following developments of the virus for some time.
In order to support countries impacted by the virus it said the Kingdom would be implementing ‘approved international standards’ in the form of a temporary ban on pilgrimages.
It has temporarily suspended entry into the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque.
It has also suspended entry for those travelling into the Kingdom with a tourist visa, if they have come from countries where the virus has been spreading.
Saudi Arabia had temporarily banned religious pilgrims from visiting Mecca or Medina to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Kingdom (Muslim pilgrims pictured earlier this week)
The statement also revealed that the Kingdom would be suspending Saudi nationals and citizens of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council with national identity cards from travelling to and from the Kingdom, with the exception of Saudis who are abroad.
‘The Kingdom affirms that these procedures are temporary, and is subject to continuous evaluation by the competent authorities.
‘The Kingdom renews its support for all international measures taken to limit the spread of the virus.
‘The Foreign Ministry calls on citizens not to travel to countries where the new Coronavirus (COVID) is spreading. We ask God Almighty to spare us all humanity, all harm.’
The decision from the Kingdom comes as sports events across the globe has been postponed due to the outbreak.
Ireland’s rugby match against Italy on Saturday was postponed today amid fears Italian fans could bring the virus to Dublin – but England’s Six Nations fixture in Rome on March 14 is still going ahead.
England’s FA is holding urgent talks today about whether it is safe to host Italy’s football team for a Wembley friendly on March 27.
This is while several businesses today in the UK also sent staff home over fears that employees could be carrying the virus.
And pupils and staff at 18 schools in Cornwall, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Berkshire, Pembrokeshire, Liverpool, London, Birmingham and Northern Ireland were sent home to quarantine themselves.
Professor Paul Cosford, medical director for Public Health England, today admitted the Government does not know how many Brits have come back from skiing trips to the north of Italy but said it was a ‘significant number’.
Hundreds of cases of the virus have been diagnosed in northern Italy since Friday as dozens of school trips made their way home after half-term trips.
Some headteachers have taken evasive action and shut down schools after staff and students came down with ‘mild flu-like symptoms’ after returning from the Alps.
Others have sent home the pupils and staff who went on the trips to Italy, where 11 towns are now in government lockdown.
While many have decided to stay open, telling pupils they must come in unless they have clear symptoms of the killer virus – a move which has angered some parents.
Public Health England is not advising schools to close and Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs today: ‘If anyone has been in contact with a suspected case in a childcare or an educational setting, no special measures are required while test results are awaited.
‘There is no need to close the school or send other students or staff home. Once the results arrive, those who test negative will be advised individually about returning to education.
‘In most cases, closure of the childcare or education setting will be unnecessary, but this will be a local decision based on various factors including professional advice.
‘Our goal here is to try to keep schools open wherever we can so long as that protects the public. In fact, our wider goal is to have the minimum disruption, social and economic and indeed to the NHS subject to keeping the public safe.’
Some schools also reported that they closed immediately for a deep clean following Department of Health and PHE advice.
Contradictory messages from the government have led to widespread confusion and caused individual headteachers to take matters into their own hands.
In terms of sporting events Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Italy in Dublin has been called off amid fears over the coronavirus.
The deadly epidemic has swept through northern parts of Italy, and in a bid to prevent the disease reaching their shores, the Irish government have taken the step to postpone the game on March 7.
Both the women’s Six Nations and Under 20s clashes have also been cancelled.
IRFU chief Philip Browne revealed they are working with the Six Nations in an attempt to find a date to reschedule the fixtures, but there are no details on when that may be.
In his statement, Browne said: ‘We had a very positive meeting with [Irish health minister] Mr [Simon] Harris and his advisors where we requested an instruction as to the staging of the Ireland.
England’s Six Nations match in Rome in a fortnight is still scheduled to go ahead.
The FA will today hold urgent talks over the impact of the coronavirus on England’s Wembley friendly with Italy next month.
Senior staff will sit down at the national stadium to talk through the problems associated with the fixture after the outbreak increased in northern Italy.
The European Commission, which enforces the rule book for the open-border Schengen Area, encouraged countries to adopt measures based on scientific evidence and ‘in coordination and not in a fragmented way’, a spokeswoman said.
Symptoms include a cough, fever and shortness of breath.
MailOnline has contacted the school and Kensington Palace was unavailable for comment this evening.
‘Come and rescue us, Boris!’ British tourists trapped in Tenerife hotel at centre of coronavirus scare slam ‘absolutely awful’ response – but panic doesn’t stop some holidaymakers making the most of their time in the sun
by Mario Ledwith for the Daily Mail
Some guests chose to stay in their rooms. Others put on their face masks and decided to relax by the hotel’s swimming pool.
The two approaches were just one sign of the confusion and frustration facing a group of British holidaymakers being contained in a Tenerife hotel for two weeks.
Frustrated guests pleaded with Boris Johnson to intervene yesterday and said they were desperate to return home amid a chaotic attempt to control corona virus from spreading within the Costa Adeje Palace Hotel.
At least 160 Britons have been holed up in the four-star resort after the Spanish authorities padlocked its doors when four guests from Italy tested positive.
Sunbathing in masks: Tourists lounge by the pool of H10 Costa Adeje Palace as they settle in for a two-week lockdown after Spanish authorities confirmed a quarantine
The hotel laid on free champagne for tourists on Wednesday after guests were told they would have to stay put at the resort until mid-March
Food served to guests on Wednesday included pasta in a takeaway box (left) and a tray of bread, pastries and orange juice (right) as well as bottles of water
Yesterday they told of the ‘absolutely awful’ situation and said they had been given conflicting information about how long the enforced stay would last.
And, as the Foreign Office began contacting them last night telling them they must remain at the hotel until March 10, some complained that staying put placed them at increased risk.
Mandy Davis, who is on holiday with her husband Roger, said: ‘Nobody knows what the right thing to do is, because nobody’s had this virus before.
‘So please, let’s sort something out, come and rescue us please, Boris. And let’s just get the hell out of here.’
Rosie Mitford, who is on holiday with her father and brother, only arrived at the hotel on Monday when the four Italians who tested positive had already left.
Guests were sunbathing in masks and enjoying free supplies of food and alcohol at the hotel poolside on Wednesday after learning they would be staying well into March
Guests wearing masks lie on sun loungers and walk by the poolside at the Tenerife hotel on Wednesday as many sought out protection measures
Two hotel guests wearing masks wave from the window of the Tenerife resort on Wednesday where holidaymakers will have to stay put for 14 days
Employees wearing protective masks arrange water bottles in the lobby of the hotel. The lobby looked relatively quiet on Wednesday
An employee wears a protective mask as he talks with guests inside the quarantined hotel. The guests above didn’t seem too concerned
The 18-year-old nursing student said: ‘We want to come home now. We don’t see the point of staying here for two weeks when none of us have symptoms and then isolating when we get back.’
The family group were preparing for a reprieve last night when authorities on the Canary Islands said that a group of more than 100 recent arrivals could be allowed to go home.
Spanish officials have begun tracking down guests who may have come into contact with the infected quartet before returning to their homes across Europe.
Guests holed up at the 500-room property told of the shambolic arrangements inside as they faced two-weeks of quarantine.
A guest wearing a protective face mask stands at the window of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace on Wednesday where tourists were told they face two weeks in quarantine
Guests queue for food and serve themselves to drinks inside the hotel on Wednesday, many of them wearing protective face masks
Tourists in quarantine wave from inside the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife on Wednesday. The two women seemed to be carrying on as normal
One British couple, Hannah Green and her boyfriend Court Amys, who are in Spain with their one-year-old son, said the lockdown had been ‘pretty rough’
Holidaymakers with babies described how they had unsuccessfully pleaded with the hotel for suitable food, while being left without essential products such as nappies.
In the UK, family members said they were concerned about the welfare of elderly relatives at the property.
Guests were initially told to ‘stay calm’ and stay in their rooms yesterday morning as medical teams in protective suits handed out face masks and thermometers, then carried out medical checks.
Guests have been told to take their temperature twice a day.
A face mask provided for people quarantined in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife. The mask looks thin and has straps for the ears
A police officer walks outside H10 Costa Adeje Palace, which is on lockdown after four cases of coronavirus were detected there
Closed: The H10 Costa Adeje Palace is being guarded by police. Guests were confined to their bedrooms at the four-star hotel in a desperate attempt to stop the virus from spreading
The curfew was dropped shortly afterwards and more than 260 guests were seen sun-lounging outside, some in face masks, while others took to the swimming pools.
After more than 24 hours without hot food, the hotel provided a lunch buffet yesterday afternoon and laid on bottles of free Champagne. Images showed hungry guests clamouring for food.
Despite the curfew being relaxed, some guests decided to remain in their rooms and had breakfast brought to them.
Lara Pennington, 45, from Manchester, who is on holiday with her two sons and elderly in-laws, said: ‘It’s very scary because everyone is out, in the pool, spreading the virus.’
It has been reported that between 600 and 800 guests from 25 countries are at the hotel in the south-west of the island. Because the containment measures affect guests’ liberty, a local judge will rule each day on whether to allow some to leave.
An Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘Our staff are in close contact with the hotel management and the Spanish authorities and have written to all British guests, and are in touch with anyone identified as vulnerable or in need.’