The global death toll from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has reached 724 after another 81 fatalities were recorded in China.
The latest deaths came in Hubei province, where Wuhan – the city where the infection was first reported – is located.
Chinese health authorities have also confirmed 2,841 new cases of the SARS-like illness in Hubei, taking the total number there up to 24,953.
Hubei is home to the vast majority of global deaths and cases, with 699 of the 724 total fatalities.
Among them is Dr Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old opthalmologist who died in Wuhan having tried to warn others about the outbreak back in December.
More than 34,000 people are infected around the world, including three in the UK.
They are a man believed to have caught the virus in Singapore who is being treated at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, and two people who were diagnosed in York and are now at a specialist hospital unit in Newcastle.
Other British cases have been reported abroad, including a a passenger on the stranded Diamond Princess cruise ship which has been quarantined off the coast of Japan.
About 3,700 passengers and crew are being kept at the port city of Yokohama, about 25 miles from Tokyo, with the operator Princess Cruises hoping the quarantine will end on 19 February barring “unforeseen developments”.
Need a catch-up? Here’s the latest on the coronavirus:
- The global death toll is 724 – there have been 722 in China and one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong
- More than 34,000 people have been infected around the world, almost all in China
- British citizens being flown back from Wuhan will be quarantined at a facility in Milton Keynes
- Public Health England is increasing the number of laboratories that can test for coronavirus from one to 12
- Thousands remain stranded on cruise ships docked in Japan and Hong Kong
- World Health Organisation warned of a chronic shortage of gowns, masks, gloves and other protective gear
The British man who has been taken off the ship and escorted to hospital after contracting the coronavirus has been named as Alan Steele, 58, who wrote about his diagnosis on Facebook.
He said: “Just to let you all know I have been diagnosed as having the virus and am being shipped to hospital. [I] would also like to say that at the moment I am not showing any symptoms so just possible (sic) a carrier.
“Will let you know how I am going on when possible.”
Mr Steele is one of 61 people on the cruise liner to have tested positive for coronavirus, with at least 20 of them having since been taken off the luxury ship for treatment.
Meanwhile, Sky News understands British citizens still waiting to be evacuated from Wuhan will be quarantined at a facility in Milton Keynes when they are finally flown back to the UK on Sunday.
The flight due to arrive in the UK from Wuhan on Sunday will be the third one to make the trip in recent days.
The first plane, carrying 83 UK evacuees, arrived at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on 31 January before they were taken into quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for a fortnight.
Another 11 British nationals were on a second plane that flew back to the military base on 2 February.
Ten of them were then taken to the same NHS site to be quarantined, while the 11th went to a different hospital as they were unwell on the flight.