The British scientist at the helm in the fight against coronaviruses admitted last night that the forecast of 400,000 deaths in the United Kingdom was "not absurd".
Professor Neil Ferguson of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London revealed that "he's the one I'm afraid of" when asked about the killer coronavirus, which causes an alarm growing across the country.
However, he insisted that he did not predict 400,000 deaths, but warned that the figure "is possible". He said he preferred and added that he "would rather be accused of having overreacted than not having reacted."
Research indicates that 60% of Britons could be affected by the virus, officially known as COVID-19.
Professor Ferguson added, "Our best guess at the moment is that maybe one percent of those infected could die. "
It has been reported that the government has assumed that half the population will be infected with the virus, which could affect all parts of Britain within the next few months.
This would force intensive care units to make “tough choices” as to the priority of those to be treated.
Scientist Neil Ferguson, professor at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said 60% of Britons could be "potentially" affected by the virus, officially known as COVID-19
A couple wears protective masks while walking along the River Thames in London
Professor Ferguson was asked last night if 400,000 people could die and replied, "Potentially. Since we know a lot about how these viruses spread, we have a lot of data on past epidemics.
"Given the transmissibility of this virus and the fact that at least all adults can be infected, we have a lot less data on children, so 60% is a reasonable number.
“In the first 12 months or so. What we don't know at the moment is if everyone is infected. What proportion could die and which groups are at risk? According to our best estimates, 1% of those infected could die. "
"I would much prefer to be accused of having overreacted rather than not having reacted. This virus is probably the one that worries me the most about everything I have worked on.
It looks like:
- The global death toll from coronaviruses has reached 1,500 and the number of people infected has exceeded 66,000.
- The British are increasingly alarmed by the daily delays at Heathrow Airport as passengers are screened and several surgeries forced to close.
- Passengers endured hours of misery at Heathrow Airport yesterday when up to eight planes were stopped due to fears of the coronavirus
- MailOnline understands that a British Airways flight from Kuala Lumpur was held on the tarmac for two hours when it landed at 6:45 am.
- Two MPs "self-isolated" yesterday afternoon after going to a Westminster bus conference attended by one of nine UK coronavirus patients
- In Portsmouth, a doctor's office was closed for thorough cleanup after a suspected coronavirus case was identified.
The personnel in protective gear reportedly boarded British Airways flight from Kuala Lumpur this morning (pictured) and set up a private tent around a sick family before evacuating everyone from the plane, ordered by row.
Passenger who flew with Emirates to Johannesburg, South Africa, said that military officials boarded and tested the temperature of each individual
Labor MP Alex Sobel announced his decision on Twitter, revealing that he had canceled his commitments as a precaution after going to the QEII Center on February 6. Nottingham South MPP Lilian Greenwood also announced on Twitter that she had canceled the commitments to isolate herself at home
The virus carrier was reportedly one of 250 delegates to the UK bus summit at the QEII Center on February 6 (Boris Johnson's Minister of Bus, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, spoke at the summit)
London Heathrow and Gatwick are the only two UK airports that still have direct flights from China - none are operated by British airlines.
Labor MPs Lilian Greenwood and Alex Sobel both announced their decisions on Twitter and said they had canceled future commitments as a precaution.
The Westminster bus conference at the QEII Center on February 6 was just steps from Parliament.
The virus carrier was one of 250 delegates to the UK Bus Summit, whose guest speaker was Boris Johnson’s Minister of Buses, Baroness Vere of Norbiton.
MailOnline understands that the coronavirus patient who attended the conference was not the most recent case.
REVEALED: CORONAVIRUS INFECTED BRITONS - AND ARE O TREATED?
Cases in the UK and where they are supported:
Newcastle: Two Chinese nationals who came to the UK with a coronavirus and fell ill in a hotel York. One is a student in the city and the other is a parent. These are the first two cases on British soil and were confirmed on January 31. They are treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Steve Walsh: The first British coronavirus victim has become known super spreader. He caught the virus in Singapore and then went on a ski trip to France after which he appears to have infected at least 11 people. He was taken to London’s St Thomas’s Hospital in Brighton on February 6 - but was released on February 12 after his recovery.
Dr Catriona Saynor, who went on vacation with Mr. Walsh and her husband Bob, and their three children, is said to be the fourth patient in the UK diagnosed with a coronavirus. Her husband and nine-year-old son were also diagnosed but stayed in France. She was taken to London Hospital on February 9 from Brighton. It is believed to be at the Royal Free in Camden.
Four more people in Brighton were diagnosed and were all "known contacts" to the super spreader and are believed to have stayed in the same French seaside resort. One is known to be an A&E doctor and is believed to have worked at Worthing Hospital. Another attended a bus conference in Westminster on February 6. They are all treated in London.
London: The first case of coronavirus in London brought the total number of cases in the United Kingdom to nine. The woman was diagnosed on February 12 and taken to St Thomas Hospital. She is believed to have flown to the UK from China the previous weekend, with officials confirming that she caught the virus there.
Total in British hospitals: nine patients. Six British and three Chinese nationals
British expatriates and vacationers outside the UK and where they are supported:
Mallorca: A British father of two who stayed in the French ski resort with Steve Walsh tested positive after returning to Mallorca. His wife and children are not sick.
France: Five people who were in the chalet with the super spreader. These include the owner of the chalet, environmental consultant Bob Saynor, 48 and his nine year old son. They are all in a French hospital with three others without names.
Japan: A Briton aboard a cruise ship docked in a port in Japan has tested positive for coronavirus, said Princess Cruises. Alan Steele of Wolverhampton posted on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with the virus. Steele said he had no symptoms but was taken to hospital. He was on honeymoon. Two other Britons have since tested positive on a quarantined cruise ship.
The case put London on red alert after the capital's first confirmed patient went to A&E in an Uber on Sunday and entered a public area of Lewisham hospital - going against strict advice to stay at home and call NHS 111.
Two health workers who contacted the Chinese woman at the hospital were ordered to isolate themselves and the taxi driver's account was temporarily suspended.
The woman, who contracted a coronavirus in China, "presented" to Lewisham Hospital before being discharged home to await the test results.
She was rushed to St Thomas on Wednesday after her test results returned positive. She is believed to be living with her family in London and is in her late 20s or early 30s.
Official PHE advice stipulates that anyone suspected of having a coronavirus should stay at home, call NHS 111 and wait for transportation to the nearest hospital assessment booth.
The Chinese patient was the first case in London and doctors fear the spread of the disease in the capital will spread rapidly.
Amid fears of the virus in the capital, people shun Chinatown in Soho.
The normally busy tourist hotspot was strangely deserted last night, with restaurants left empty just weeks after the Chinese New Year.
In Portsmouth, a doctor's office was closed for thorough cleanup after a suspected coronavirus case was identified.
One patient said they were among several people who were told to leave Kingston Crescent Surgery in Portsmouth, Hampshire at 4:30 p.m. due to an "emergency".
It is understood that a woman who had recently landed in Gatwick was the cause of the alert and has now gone to hospital for testing.
A GP doctor said he was following the advice of Public Health England and had transferred patient care elsewhere during the cleanup at the site.
Dr. Sarah Swindells, of surgery, said, “We have closed with a suspected coronavirus case; we follow the advice of Public Health England and are in contact with them and the NHS England.
"It is changing from minute to minute for us, but at the moment it is only a suspicious case.
"We transferred the care elsewhere so that the patients are taken care of."
The closure of the surgery in the city's North End neighborhood was announced on the Portsdown Group Practice website.
The statement reads: "Due to the coronavirus, our Kingston Crescent surgery is closed for deep cleaning until further notice.
Patient care will now be provided at Cosham Park House until surgery is deemed appropriate for reopening.
Elsewhere, two GP surgeries were closed after patients with suspicious symptoms were found to be unexpected.
The Ritchie Street Health Center in Islington, north London, posted a message on its website that it will be closed until today "due to the coronavirus".
However, it has emerged that no patient or practice staff has tested positive for the virus - and it remains unclear why management made the decision to close.
NHS officials say the move may have been preventative after a patient was tested for the virus after presenting to the practice with symptoms.
The Ferns Medical Practice in Farnham, Surrey, said it was undertaking a deep cleanse after a patient entered after visiting "one of the affected coronavirus areas".
Patients were told to leave Kingston Crescent Surgery due to an emergency
London's Chinatown is strangely deserted as thousands of revelers keep their distance from the tourist site as coronavirus panic sweeps across the UK
Normally busy restaurants are empty just weeks after Chinese New Year after the ninth confirmed case of the virus in Britain, a woman who traveled from China became the first in the capital
Meanwhile, a British couple trapped on a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan appealed to billionaire Richard Branson for help.
David Abel called in a live Facebook video in which he asked the Virgin boss to charter a special plane to take all British passengers home for quarantine.
He added that despite being a "loyal tory", he had "no confidence" in Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Mr. Abel said, "When he (Johnson) just says 'stay calm, don't panic' - I would like to see you in this situation, man. I really would.
He became an unlikely celebrity thanks to his videos and he and his wife Sally have appeared in the media around the world.
Abel called in a live Facebook video in which he asked the Virgin boss to charter a special plane to bring all British passengers back to the UK for quarantine
In the wake of his viral fame, he said he "used one man."
"So Richard Branson, I want to ask you a question, buddy," he said in a video posted on Valentine's Day.
"If you and your family were in this situation, what would you do?" And please don't say "relax, stay calm", that's not what we want to hear.
"I ask, how much would it cost to hire one of your little planes, put all the British on board, no flight attendants, packaged food?
“Take us to Brize Norton, take us directly to the medical center and let us do our quarantine by people who speak our language.
About 2,512 people in Britain have been tested since last month. Coronavirus suspects have their nose and throat swabs taken and sent to one of 12 laboratories in the UK.
Results usually come back within 48 hours - although they can be returned within 24 hours - and the NHS can test a maximum of 1,000 patients per day.
Woman wears protective mask while holding flowers given to her on Valentine's Day in Beijing, China
China has reported a further sharp increase in the number of people infected with the killer coronavirus, the death toll now near 1,400. In the photo: a woman wears a protective mask in Beijing
Surgeon General Professor Chris Whitty said officials hoped to delay the spread of the coronavirus in this country until the summer.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today program: "The delay is the next step in what we need to do because if we are going to have an epidemic in the UK - it's an if, not a when - but if we do it, putting it back in time in the summer, away from winter pressures on the NHS, buying us a little more time to better understand the virus ... is a big advantage.
He added that if it were "very likely" that the UK would see more cases, the disease could be "eased" as the weather warmed.
NHS chief Simon Stevens said that to contain the spread, many patients would have to isolate themselves at home if they had suspicious symptoms.
It was also announced yesterday that the disease has now spread to Egypt, with authorities declaring that an "alien" is infected.
The health ministry said in a statement that it had immediately informed the World Health Organization and taken all necessary preventive measures.
He did not give the nationality of the affected person or any other details.
The individual was placed in quarantine.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has declared that hand dryers and UV lamps will not kill the coronavirus.
Debunking 10 of the biggest myths surrounding the epidemic, the board of directors of senior health officials also said that eating garlic would not protect you.
While some bogus treatments are not harmful, others are potentially harmful, such as drinking bleach or spraying the body with an alcohol spray.
There is also no evidence that the coronavirus was designed in a laboratory, the scientists said.
Conspiracy theories spreading online claimed that the virus, which claimed 1,500 lives, was manufactured as a biological weapon and released by accident.
These were bolstered by the revelation that the Chinese government runs a secret virus laboratory in Wuhan, the city at the center of the epidemic.
But scientists who have studied the structure of the virus in detail say there is nothing to suggest that it was edited by humans or machines.
Beijing also ordered anyone returning to the city to be quarantined for 14 days or risk being punished for containing the coronavirus.
Residents were asked to "self-quarantine or go to places designated for quarantine" when they returned to the Chinese capital, home to more than 20 million people.