TUBE SCARE London Underground ‘hotbed for coronavirus’ experts warn as first case of deadly bug arrives in the capital

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Experts warned the killer bug could travel on the Tube
Experts warned the killer bug could travel on the Tube


THE London Underground could be a hotbed for coronavirus, experts warned today as the first case of the deadly bug arrived in the capital.

Nine people are being treated for the killer virus in the UK as the global death toll climbs to more than 1,115.

And the latest patient in the UK, believed to be a woman, is now being treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

She is understood to have flown into the capital from China before testing positive for the bug, now officially named as the Covid-19 virus.


London's first coronavirus sufferer is being treated at St Thomas' Hospital
London’s first coronavirus sufferer is being treated at St Thomas’ Hospital

And experts today warned London’s high density population could increase the risk of person-to-person transmission.

Dr Robin Thompson, from Oxford University, said: “In general, if an initial case is in a densely populated area, then the risk of sustained person-to-person transmission following is higher.

“This is exacerbated by the fact that London is a transport hub, and the Underground could provide a network to spread the virus quickly.

“As a result, given this case was in London, it might be expected that there is an increased risk posed by this case compared to the others we have seen.”

Dr Michael Head, from University of Southampton, said: “The extensive London public transport system provides potential opportunities for transmission, with many people mixing in relatively small spaces.”

London’s congested transport network and 8.9million population will make it a nightmare to track down potential victims to be tested.

Scientists have warned that London is at a greater risk than any other city in Europe due to the number of Chinese

visitors that flock there each year.

More than 1

A total of 1,759 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of which 1,750 were confirmed negative and now nine positive.

Five cases have been confirmed in Brighton, two cases in York, another in an undisclosed location and the ninth diagnosis in London.

It comes as 12 schools in Sussex were placed on infection alert with teachers and pupils told to quarantine themselves.

Five people in the county have been diagnosed with coronavirus and dozens who came into contact with them have been ordered to self-isolate by Public Health England (PHE).

42,000 tourists arrive in London from China between January and the middle of March every year.

Since then, schools in Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne have pupils or staff in quarantine as a precaution.

Brighton has become the epicentre of the virus after a cub Scout leader — dubbed the coronavirus “super-spreader” — unwittingly brought it into the UK last month following a business trip to Singapore.

Stephen Walsh, 53, from Hove, may have spread the virus to dozens of people without suffering any symptoms himself.

His next-door neighbour, Ian Henshall, 59, said Mr Walsh is now “very concerned” that he will be held responsible for the outbreak.

Mr Henshall told the Mirror: “I’ve spoken to his wife Cathy directly and to Steve by email and they are absolutely terrified of being made scapegoats for all this which would be totally unfair.”

Mr Walsh was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital yesterday after being analysed in its isolation unit.

The dad of two caught the virus at a conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore organised by Servomex, a British gas analytics company.

After the conference, he had a holiday in the French Alps with wife Catherine and pals.

Four of his friends — including Dr Catriona Greenwood and another GP — returned home on January 24 before testing positive at the weekend.



[The Sun}