Is coronavirus ten times WORSE than feared? Leading scientist warns that only 10 per cent of cases are being identified by tests as virus spreads across the globe

Saturday, February 8, 2020
By Paul Martin

Death toll from the coronavirus in mainland China, the epicenter of the outbreak, reached 722 on Saturday
The worldwide number is now 724, with one person having died in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines
On Friday alone 86 people died from virus and more than 34,400 cross 27 countries have now been infected
Medicine professor John Edmunds has said there may be ‘ten times more cases than have been reported’

8 February 2020

The number of coronavirus cases across the world could be ten times higher than official figures show, a leading British scientist warned yesterday.

Amid rising concern over the spread of the virus, experts said the vast majority of cases were likely to have been missed.

The death toll in mainland China – the epicentre of the outbreak – has now reached 722, with 86 people dying on Friday alone and there being more than 34,400 patients infected. There have been a further 320 cases in 27 other countries, including three in Britain, and one death reported from the Philippines.

But scientists warned the rapid spread of the virus across borders, coupled with its suspected two-week incubation period and the unreliability of testing methods, made it difficult to track.

Public Health England announced last night it would be possible to test more than 1,000 people a day for suspected coronavirus in laboratories across the UK from next week.

The diagnostic test currently used in London – where only 100 cases can be tested per day – will be available at 12 centres across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to increase capacity and speed up results.

The number of reported cases has slowed over the past two days.

But John Edmunds, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said modelling showed there were ‘ten times more cases than have been reported – or even more’.

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