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  1. ITV Report

Deadly Virus: is Britain Prepared? - Tonight

As the British Government finalises plans to airlift worried nationals out of virus-hit Wuhan, an ITV Tonight survey shows they are not the only people who are concerned.

More than 70% of respondents to a survey conducted by OnePoll for the Tonight Programme said they were worried about the new coronavirus arriving in the UK.

And more than half of the 1,000 people who were surveyed said they would wear a protective mask in public, though some said that would only happen if the masks were given to them for free.

Tonight researchers found that anxious Brits were buying face masks in increasing numbers.

Six major suppliers told Tonight that they had seen a spike in sales.

One supplier said they had been “inundated” with orders.

Family GP Dr Abhi Mantgani, of the Miriam Medical Centre, in Birkenhead, told the programme:

I think there may be an element of panic buying.

If people are taking precautions, anything that stops from spreading germs through breathing or coughing - it’s not a bad thing

But I wouldn’t urge everybody to rush off and go and get masks because there is no evidence that we have a flu epidemic or a coronavirus epidemic in this country.

– Dr Abhi Mantgani, of the Miriam Medical Centre
Ranvir Singh speaks to Brits trapped in the locked down Chinese city of Wuhan. Credit: ITV Tonight

In some parts of China - where the death toll has now passed 150 - the face masks are compulsory.

The Tonight Survey also reveals that nearly 9% of people would actually cancel their holiday plans if confirmed cases of coronavirus struck in the country they were planning to visit.

There are confirmed cases now in more than 20 countries.

And 8 out of 10 responders say that screening for the virus needs to be in place at British airports.

Reporter Ranvir Singh speaks to Brits trapped in the locked down Chinese city of Wuhan.

Among those trapped is 81-year-old Veronica Theobald from Lancaster who had gone to the city to spend time with her grandson Kharn who is a PE teacher.

She is especially vulnerable to the virus because she has a lung disease - and she’s running out of her medicine.

Her grandson Kharn Lambert tells Ranvir how he is keeping her safe. After going out for food supplies he says it’s a “total disinfection” to make sure he doesn’t bring any bugs back into the house.

“I take a shower, put my clothes in the wash, everything I can do to keep her safe.”

– Kharn Lambert

They’re both due to be evacuated later tonight.

  • Deadly Virus: is Britain Prepared? is on ITV at 7:30pm on Thursday 30th January

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