THE coronavirus could still hit British cities, experts warn as the Border Force is hunting down 2,000 people who have recently travelled from the epicentre of virus outbreak.
The deadly virus has killed 41 people and more than 1,300 cases have been confirmed in China.
Professor Jurgen Haas, from the University of Edinburgh, said he believes there will be “many other cities” in the UK where the virus could hit.
He told The Mirror: “The situation will be pretty similar in pretty much all UK cities with a large number of Chinese students.
“It’s not too surprising. My suspicion is that there will probably be many more cases in many other cities in the UK.
“None of the cases I know of have been confirmed.”
The Department of Health confirmed this afternoon the 31 testes that have been conducted on suspect cases have come back negative for the killer virus.
In a statement it said: “There are currently no confirmed cases in the UK or of UK citizens abroad, and the risk to the public is low.”
It added: “The government is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and international community.”
This indicates that tests on 17 people have been completed in the last 24 hours, after 14 people had been given the all-clear by Friday afternoon.
The UK Border Force and health professional have teamed up to speed up the process of tracking down the passengers who flew in from Wuhan over the past few weeks.
The Department of Health confirmed it was trying to find “as many passengers as we can” who came to UK from Wuhan in the past two weeks to check on their wellbeing.
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said there was a “fair chance” cases will emerge in Britain.
The professor spoke yesterday following a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency.
He said: “We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage.”
“We think there’s a fair chance we may get some cases over time.
“Of course this depends on whether this continues for a long time, or whether this turns out to be something which is brought under control relatively quickly.”
It comes after three cases were confirmed in France yesterday, the first in Europe.
One case was also last night confirmed in Melbourne in Australia.
A 48-year-old man is in hospital in the south-western city of Bordeaux. The other case is in Paris.
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In an interview, Prof Whitty said: “I think we should definitely see this as a marathon, not a sprint, we need to have our entire response based on that principle.
“At the minute it definitely looks like this is a lot less dangerous if you get it than Ebola, and a lot less dangerous than the recent coronavirus MERS, and it’s probably less dangerous if you get it than SARS virus.
“What we don’t know is how far it’s going to spread, that really is something we need to plan for all eventualities.”