Chinese authorities 'overwhelmed' and people 'piling into hospitals', says Brit trapped in Wuhan

A British man trapped inside the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak has told ITV News authorities are "overwhelmed" by the virus.

Christopher Hill, who has stayed with his family in Wuhan, says six of his neighbours have all fallen ill and that even building a brand new 1,000 bed hospital from scratch is not enough.

“They [the authorities] are truly overwhelmed, now everybody is just trying to pile into hospitals as if the world’s ending,” said Mr Hill, from Tyne and Wear.

ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward reported that Wuhan residents are so fearful of the potentially deadly virus, that not wearing a mask can result in an arrest.

Video shared on social media on Monday, appearing to show an officer holding down a man not wearing a mask on the street.

The footage emerged as the first patients arrived at a new hospital built in response to the outbreak in China.

Work was completed on the site in Wuhan on Monday, just 10 days after construction began on January 23.

The 1,000-bed site in Hubei province has been erected in double-quick time as China updated the death toll from the virus to 361 on Monday with more than 17,000 people infected.

Doctors have been sent to the hospital.

The ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, sent 1,400 doctors, nurses and other personnel to staff the Wuhan hospital, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

A former SARS hospital in Beijing is also among those being repaired for patients.

This construction is not due to necessity - there are only currently around 200 confirmed cases in Beijing, but part of an all-out government effort to contain the virus and growing public anger at the authorities’ failure to act sooner, Debi Edward reports.