No confirmed UK cases of coronavirus after more than 50 people tested

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, after more than 50 people were tested for the deadly flu-like virus, according to the Department of Health.

Some 52 people across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were tested as of Sunday afternoon, but all returned negative.

The current risk to the public remains low, the department said, adding the Government is continuing to monitor the situation closely.It comes as the death toll in China stands at 56, with the country's health minister warning "the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger."

Britons trapped in the Chinese province at the centre of the outbreak - Hubei - have been urged to leave the area if they are able to do so.

Coronavirus: confirmed cases. Credit: PA Graphics

The Foreign Office updated its guidance to “advise against all travel to Hubei province”, which has been on lockdown for several days as China seeks to contain the illness.

But the guidance also added: “If you are in this area and able to leave, you should do so. This is due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Government was “looking at all options” to help Brits leave Wuhan following reports that officials have been asked to examine the logistics for an airlift from the city.

It comes as spectators celebrated Chinese New Year in central London, which marks the start of the Year of the Rat.

Chinese New Year celebrations took place in London, but events have been cancelled in China. Credit: PA

Authorities in China have cancelled a host of events marking New Year as they expand their lockdown against the virus.

Meanwhile, health officials are continuing to track down around 2,000 people who have recently flown into the UK from Wuhan, the area of China worst affected by the outbreak.

The DoH confirmed it is trying to find “as many passengers as we can” who arrived from the region in the past two weeks to check on their wellbeing.

It is understood Border Force officers have been recruited to help speed up the search for passengers as testing for the virus continues in the UK.

A public health hub has been set up in Heathrow, staffed by a rotating team of seven clinicians working in shifts to support patients on arrival.

Passengers arriving at Heathrow Terminal 4, where a public health hub has been set up. Credit: PA

One British man, who had travelled to Wuhan to visit his girlfriend, is stuck in the city after his return flight on February 3 was cancelled, and he described trying to get out of the area as “impossible”.

The 29-year-old, who did not want to be named, said: “There have been sporadic warnings from local government in Chinese to tell us that there will be road closures.

“There is no news on when the airport will reopen therefore the airline (China Southern) have just cancelled the flight.

“I’ve also had no help from the UK Embassy in Beijing who are conveniently closed for the weekend.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said there was a “fair chance” cases would emerge in Britain as the overall number reported around the world climbed to around 2,000.

A man wearing a face mask rides a nearly empty subway train in Beijing. Credit: AP

The professor spoke following a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall on Friday, chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He said: “I am working closely with the other UK chief medical officers.

“We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage.”

In an interview, Prof Whitty said: “We think there’s a fair chance we may get some cases over time.

“Of course this depends on whether this continues for a long time, or whether this turns out to be something which is brought under control relatively quickly.”

He said the virus looked “a lot less dangerous” than contracting Ebola, the recent coronavirus MERS and “probably less dangerous” than SARS virus.

But he added: “What we don’t know is how far it’s going to spread, that really is something we need to plan for all eventualities.”