Friday 14 February 2020 2:40 pm

Labour MP self-isolates after attending conference with coronavirus patient

A person diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK attended a conference near parliament last week along with 250 other delegates and Labour MP Alex Sobel.

The patient attended the UK Bus Summit at the QEII centre on 6 February, according to Sky News.

Among the speakers listed were Baroness Vere, Nusrat Ghani who lost her job as junior transport minister in yesterday’s reshuffle, and Sobel.

Sobel said he was among attendees and said while he is at low risk he has called 111 for a formal assessment.


“As a precaution we have cancelled all engagements until next Thursday when the 14-day incubation period will end.”

The summit was reportedly organised by Transport Times, which emailed attendees on Thursday to inform them that a person suffering from the coronavirus had been at the event.

Chinese medics come under strain

In China, officials have today reported that the coronavirus has now infected 1,700 health workers and killed six.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported 5,090 new cases in mainland China yesterday and 120 more deaths, of which 116 were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Read more: What is the coronavirus and how dangerous is it?

“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,” Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the NHC said, according to Reuters.

The new figures come amid concern that medics are under strain because of the lack of protective resources.

Last week the death of Dr Li Wenliang, who tried to warn Chinese authorities about a Sars-like virus in December, prompted mass outcry.


Wenliang noticed seven cases of a virus in December and urged other doctors to wear protective clothing to avoid infection.

The total number of people infected by coronavirus to 63,851 and the number of deaths to 1,380.

Despite this the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the number of cases are not rising significantly outside of China despite a dramatic spike in Hubei yesterday.

There were reportedly 15,000 new cases and 240 deaths in the province but WHO’s head of health emergencies programme Dr Michael Ryan said it was largely down to a new methodology for diagnosis.

Coronavirus fears weigh on the economy

Fears over the coronavirus outbreak have weighed on China’s economy, which is already burdened by tariffs from its trade war with the US.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said today it will loosen its refinancing rules to help listed companies fight the epidemic and resume production.

The regulator said the new rules would make it easier for listed firms to raise additional funding.

Earlier this month China’s central bank decided to pump 150bn yuan (£16.4bn) into the economy to maintain liquidity in the banking system.

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