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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.’
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.
Yesterday 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.
‘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.’