Coronavirus LIVE: Westminster panic as patient attended London summit with 250 guests –

The Chinese woman was among 250 guests at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster on Monday – three days before heading to Lewisham Hospital in an Uber. Public Health England has since sent a letter to everyone who attended the event, warning them of the risks of contamination. They said: “While the degree of contact you may have had with the case at the summit is unlikely to have been significant, we are taking a precautionary approach and informing you.” 

Guests were told to self-isolate for two weeks if they developed symptoms. 

Boris Johnson’s’ Buses Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton delivered a keynote speech. 

Lilian Greenwood, Nottingham South MP , and Gareth Powell, the head of Transport for London’s bus network, were also in attendance. 

The Uber driver’s account has been temporarily suspended, reports suggest. 

And across the globe, outbreak panic is also spreading rapidly. 

On Friday, an airline was forced to apologise to customers after a distasteful sign written in Korean advised passengers not to use the toilet on a plane flying from Amsterdam to Seoul. 

A person on board took a snap of the handwritten note which read “lavatory for crew members only” and posted it on Twitter, sparking a fierce backlash against KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France KLM. 

The airline was accused of discriminating against South Korean passengers because the notice was written only in their native language. 


10.10am update: BREAKING: Heathrow passengers on lockdown

Passengers on board a flight from San Francisco to Heathrow Airport in London have been told they are not allowed to leave the plane as a person on board is suspected of having coronavirus.

The United Airlines flight touched down Terminal 2 in the west London airport this morning.

For more on this developing story, click here. 

9.56am update: Coronavirus travel ban lifted 

The Philippines will lift a travel ban it had imposed on visitors from Taiwan in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus, a senior Philippine official and Taiwan’s official news agency said on Friday.

The move follows a warning by Taipei of possible retaliation against the ban.

The Philippine official said the decision had been made but declined to be named until the agreement was signed.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency cited an unnamed source in the Philippines as saying the ban would be lifted.

9.10am update: Coronavirus patients given plasma from other infected people 

Plasma from patients who have recovered from coronavirus is being collected after medical experts discovered it aided critically ill people in their fight against the infection. 

China National Biotech Group, a state-owned firm, is using the plasma to treat more than 10 seriously ill people. 

The matter found in blood contains highly potent antibodies. 

The company claimed the batch of patients who have been receiving the plasma since last Saturday improved within 24 hours of it being administered. 

They experienced a reduction in inflammation and viral loads as well as improved levels of oxygen in their blood. 

8.44am update: First French nationals repatriated over coronavirus end quarantine

The first group of French nationals repatriated from China due to the coronavirus outbreak returned to the outside world on Friday after two weeks in quarantine.

None of the 181 involved – who had been flown home from Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic – tested positive for the virus, local health officials said.

“There have been no problems …but people are happy that it’s over,” said Marc Zyltman, Red Cross head at the southern holiday resort of Carry-Le-Rouet where they were quarantined. 

A further 157 people remain in quarantine in southern France, of whom 122 will be allowed home on February 16 and the remainder on February 23.

France has recorded 11 cases of the virus, out of a global total of 63,851, of whom the vast majority are in China. 

8.23am update: China says 1,716 health workers infected by coronavirus, six dead

A senior Chinese health official said on Friday 1,716 health workers have been infected by the coronavirus and six of them have died.

National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin told a news conference the number of infected medical staff was increasing.

“At present, the duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy; their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high,” Mr Zeng said.

More than 87 percent of infected medical workers were in Hubei, the province at the epicentre of the outbreak.

More than 60,000 people have been infected by coronavirus.

7.45am update: Fury after plane bans passengers from toilets 

A Twitter user has accused KLM of using the outbreak of the deadly virus, which has left nearly 1,400 dead, as an “excuse” to treat Asian passengers differently to everyone else. 

The person wrote: “Dear KLM… Today, you made it quite clear that you discriminate against race. Using Coronavirus as an excuse. 

“You owe my friend and Korea a HUGE apology.” 

Posts in English and Korean about the incident gathered thousands of retweets and likes. 

And the hashtag BoycottKLM began trending on Korean Twitter. 

One person vowed to “never fly KLM” because of the incident. 

They said: “I am totally disgusted by the reaction from the crew and the forced, reluctant apology from KLM.” 

On Friday, the company offered a public apology, four days after the 10-hour flight from the Netherlands to Seoul’s Incheon airport. 

KLM executives bowed as they publicly apologised at a news conference in Seoul, saying they take allegations of discrimination “very seriously”. They vowed to prevent it from happening again. 

“This is a human mistake, and we don’t take it lightly,” said Guillaume Glass, an Air France-KLM regional general manager. 

“We are deeply sorry that this was viewed as discrimination, which was absolutely not the intention of the crew.” 

The crew said using only Korean on the sign was simply an oversight. An English notice was added after passengers complained, Mr Glass said.

It is not KLM policy to reserve lavatories for crew, he added. 

On Wednesday, South Korea’s transportation ministry released a statement warning KLM over its “discriminatory measures” and calling on the company to ensure it didn’t happen again. 

At a previously scheduled meeting on Friday, Dutch Ambassador Joanne Doornewaard expressed regret over the incident to Transportation Minister Kim Hyun-mee. 


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