Updated: Saturday, 4th April 2020 @ 10:16am

What risks are there of the coronavirus reaching Britain?

What risks are there of the coronavirus reaching Britain?

| By Hannah Molnar

As of today, the viral virus has killed 26 people and infected more than 800, but not all cases have been reported.

The virus has never been encountered before and those infected develop pneumonia and suffer from coughing, fevers and breathing difficulties.

The latest worry is that the outbreak is soon to reach the UK, and, in particular, Manchester with the UK government’s emergency committee, Cobra, holding a meeting to discuss the issue.

So far 14 people have been tested in the UK in the last two weeks, with nine having received the all-clear and five still waiting on results.

All of them have visited the outbreak location of Wuhan, China over the past two weeks.

Manchester is home to five universities with over 100,000 students, including 4,940 Chinese students, and some are expected to travel home this weekend for the Chinese New Year.

They have been advised to visit the Public Health England website for useful travel information or to contact their university’s occupational health service.

A more drastic approach has been taken by the University of Chester to ensure coronavirus stays off their campus as they say students are to be withheld in quarantine if they visit China this weekend.

Students have been warned they won’t be allowed back to the university without the required quarantine period.

Concern has also been raised after reports found Aberdeen University wasn’t aware some of their students visited partnered Wuhan University in the affected location and returned.

Prof Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England told the BBC he will not be surprised if people return from China to the UK with the infection.

"I think it's highly likely that we will have cases in the UK - and of course every so often we do get new infections coming from the animal kingdom such as this one."

He added: "These are early days yet with this virus. The vast majority of people who are infected do seem to be getting better.

"The people who have done particularly badly, and sadly died, they seem to be people who have other conditions that might make them more likely to suffer badly with this virus."

On the 31st of December, the World Health Organisation (WHO) was informed about several large cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

It was later announced that a novel coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from the cases and that it was the cause of the outbreak.

The virus originated from animals, similarly to other illnesses of its type, sourced from a food market in Huanan in the city of Wuhan, home to 11 million residents.

Restrictions on travel in and around the Hubei province where the outbreak took place have been stepped up since the related deaths.

These restrictions will affect nearly 20 million people across 10 cities, the capital city, Beijing, included.