Jeremy Vine has told guests on his BBC Radio 2 show not to touch him because he fears being infected with coronavirus
The presenter attached a scribbled sign, above right, on his studio door that read: ‘Guests. Welcome! Lovely to have you, but please note that we are not shaking hands, hugging or kissing for now.’
Last week leading virologist Professor John Oxford, of Queen Mary University of London gave advice,
‘We need less handshaking, hugging, kissing, that sort of thing, because this virus looks like it’s spread by ordinary tidal breathing, not necessarily colds and coughing,’ he said.
He posted about the message on Twitter.
Jeremy Vine @theJeremyVine 1:01PM Feb 13 2020 Acceptable notice for the door of my studio?
Chinese tourist dies in Paris as UK ‘actively considers’ cruise ship airlift
Meanwhile coronavirus claimed its first victim in Europe last night after a Chinese tourist died in Paris.
The dramatic development came as Government plans warned that half of the UK population could be at risk of infection.
Eight out of the nine people who tested positive for the virus in the UK were discharged from hospital yesterday. But globally the number of cases continued to soar, with the death toll reaching 1,523 and the number of people infected topping more than 67,000.
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials last night launched an investigation in China, as its director-general criticised world leaders for their ‘dangerously short-sighted’ lack of preparation for a global outbreak.
The news came as:
Foreign Office officials were said to be ‘actively considering’ an emergency airlift of 78 Britons trapped on a cruise ship that has been quarantined off the coast of Japan for ten days;
Government contingency plans revealed a ‘worst-case scenario’ that half of Britons will become infected, with as many as 400,000 deaths forecast;
A leading British public health specialist urged families to draw up their own ‘action plans’ to deal with the virus;
China started disinfecting and placing banknotes in quarantine a bid to stop the spread.
French health minister Agnes Buzyn announced yesterday that an 80-year-old Chinese man was the first to die from coronavirus in Europe. The man, who has not been named, deteriorated rapidly and succumbed to a pulmonary infection on Friday night, according to the French health authorities.
He had travelled to Paris on January 16 from China’s Hubei province – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak – before being taken ill on January 25. His daughter was also taken to hospital but authorities say she is expected to recover.
Women wearing face masks ride shared bicycles, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Beijing, China
Only three deaths had previously been reported outside mainland China – in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan. Yesterday, NHS England reported that all but one of the nine UK patients who tested positive for coronavirus had been released from hospital.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed that those who had been discharged ‘are now well and do not pose any health risk to the public’. Among the newly released patients were five members of the ski group who were infected by 53-year-old businessman Steve Walsh, from Hove, the UK’s so-called ‘super spreader’ In a joint statement, they said they were now feeling well and looking forward to going home.
The last group of travellers from China’s Hubei province who were quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral left the hospital yesterday, while more than 100 guests remain at Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes.
Meanwhile, 78 Britons who are stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, were last night waiting to hear if the Foreign Office was going to rescue them.
Yesterday, the US State Department announced it was chartering two planes to airlift its 428 stranded citizens to safety – piling pressure on the UK Government to do the same. A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are urgently speaking to authorities in Japan and the UK. We are working around the clock to ensure the welfare of the British nationals on board.’ But in a video posted on Facebook yesterday from his cabin, British passenger David Abel, 74, said: ‘Still no message from the UK Foreign Office – they just don’t give a damn.’
In China, banks started disinfecting and isolating used banknotes in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus. But Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘Control measures, especially in China and I suspect many parts of the world, aren’t working.
‘So this is a real threat and health systems have to prepare for the possibility of major spread. We need to be prepared.’
Meanwhile, a leading British public health doctor said families should draw up their own ‘action plans’ to deal with the virus if there is a large outbreak here.
Professor John Ashton, a former regional director of public health in North West England, said: ‘Everybody should have a contingency plan. Families should think about how they would carry on if one of them comes down with it. If you are keeping the children off school, who’s going to look after them?’
Individuals could take matters into their own hands by ensuring their immune system is primed to fight it. ‘Look after yourself, get a decent night’s sleep, eat fresh fruit and veg,’ he added.