CORONAVIRUS Panic is spreading in the nation’s Capital as workers have been forced to work from home as the government plans for a “worst-case scenario” that could involve up to 50 million people becoming infected.
In a top-secret memo revealed to a UK newspaper the British Government has planned for the “reasonable worst-case scenario” that could see 80% of the population getting the killer bug.
Public Health England is also planning to test thousands of patients who have flu-like symptoms via 11 hospitals and 100 GP practices to see if COVID-19 has spread into the UK population.
American multinational energy giant Chevron has also asked traders and staff at its Canary Wharf HQ to work from home after one employee was tested for the coronavirus.
London’s Canary Wharf is home to finance giants like HSBC, Barclays, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Fortune magazine reported that the employee “had flu-like symptoms”.
In a statement, the company said: “Chevron continues to monitor the situation very closely, utilizing the guidance of international and local health authorities,”
“Our primary concern is the health and safety of our employees and we are taking precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure.”
Dozens of business events have been cancelled throughout the capital as fears over the virus grow.
13 cases have been confirmed in Britain but there has been a massive surge in cases in Italy and France.
France 24 has also reported the first death in Paris and the number of people in Italy with the virus continues to grow with many towns in lockdown as the virus spreads to Europe.
Authorities in Italy say the number of people infected in the country grew to 322 – up 45% in 24 hours, and 11 people have now died.
Austria, Croatia and Switzerland also reported their first cases linked to the outbreak in Italy, while Spain and France recorded new ones, also involving people who had been to northern Italy.
The first positive test in South America has also been recorded in a 61-year-old Brazilian man who had recently been to northern Italy.
It comes as several schools in the UK told teachers and pupils to stay at home after returning from ski trips to Northern Italy, where several towns in the Lombardy and Veneto regions remain on lockdown.
The Foreign Office in the UK has updated its guidance on travel to Italy, advising against all but essential travel to 10 towns in Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo’ Euganeo).
Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4 presenter Nick Robinson has said he is in self-isolation at home after returning from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, where cases have been recorded.
He tweeted: “Thanks to staff at @WhitHealth who tested me last night on return from great holiday in Vietnam & Cambodia. Routine precautionary check on doctors advice. Hope for all clear within 48 hours.”
Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow is also in self-isolation after travelling to Iran, where at least 12 people have died amid an outbreak there.
In Tenerife, Britons have been told to stay in their rooms at the four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace in the south-west of the island after an Italian man and his wife tested positive for the virus.
Relatives of one 82-year-old British widower have raised concerns after guests were sent a letter saying the hotel is “closed down” and they must remain in their rooms until further notice.
Retired builder Alan Cunliffe, from Wigan, is on holiday and was due to fly home later this week.
“My uncle is stuck in the hotel currently on lockdown due to the coronavirus,” said Mr Cunliffe’s nephew, Jon Butler.
“He was supposed to be flying home on Friday. He’s 82 and is there all alone.
“He has been stuck in his room all day without any information, no food, only water and is very concerned.
“He has not been contacted by the Foreign Office or any other officials, it seems and is in total limbo. Nor has the hotel or their staff been any help at all.”
Mr Butler, 39, who lives near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, added: “I have tried calling the British consulate in Tenerife several times without success and have left messages.”
The Italian doctor and his wife tested positive and were placed in isolation in hospital, the Canary Islands government confirmed.
It said the couple had travelled with eight other Italians who were showing no symptoms.
The Canary Islands government added that more than 100 tourists at the hotel who are believed to have not had any contact with the couple will be allowed to leave, but it is not known if they include any Britons.
Additional reporting by PA