Death toll at 259 as more coronavirus cases confirmed

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The death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 259 and the number of confirmed cases of infection has increased to 11,791, Chinese authorities said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the virus a global health emergency. However, the vast majority of cases have been in China’s Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. No deaths have been reported outside China.

Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office is reportedly withdrawing staff from China. It has already flown dozens of UK nationals home from Wuhan. They will spend the next 14 days in quarantine.

Two cases have been confirmed in the UK. They are being treated at the specialist Airborne High Consequences Infectious Disease (HCID) Centre in the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. One of the patients is a student at the University of York.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the university said:

PHE (Public Health England) has advised us that the risk of infection being passed to others on campus is low.

Current information from PHE suggests that the student did not come into contact with anybody on campus whilst they had symptoms, but investigations are ongoing to fully establish this.

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Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists are trying to understand how the virus is spreading and how severe it could become.

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