MoTs: Two new lifts going into operation in Northern Ireland


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Most MoT tests for cars and light vehicles in Northern Ireland have been suspended with immediate effect

Two new MoT lifts are to go into operation in Northern Ireland, possibly as early as Wednesday.They had already been purchased from the same company that provided NI’s other 55 lifts.Most MoT tests for cars and light vehicles in Northern Ireland have been suspended with immediate effect.It followed an inspection of vehicle lifts in NI’s MoT centres that detected “signs of cracking” in 48 out of 55 lifts.As of Tuesday, more than 7,000 MoT tests had been cancelled.Speaking on Wednesday, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said the two new lifts “will allow us to increase capacity, get to those priority motorists and stat to address the backlog”.She said the lifts would be independently assessed before being put into operation.Ms Mallon said she was also conscious that people with four-year-old vehicles were concerned that their cars may be clamped if they are not taxed.”DVA is not responsible for clamping vehicles, it is the DVLA which is a separate agency,” she said. “But my department has been in close contact with them, we are making it clear that no-one should be penalised for a situation not of their making – very close to the position and assurances that we were able to obtain from the Association of British Insurers.”

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Nichola Mallon said the new lifts would help the DVA prioritise taxis and four-year-old cars

The minister said that car dealerships were also being affected by the MoT problems, as they were trying to sell four-year-old cars.”I have said to DVA officials that I want the car dealers to be expedited and prioritised in terms of getting brand new appointments,” she said. “They should be getting proactively contacted by DVA, they should be getting appointments. “Now that we’ve got these two new lifts in operation I’ve said that they must be used to prioritise taxis and four-year-old vehicles and that includes our car dealers.”One Belfast car dealer, Martin Hamill, said sales were already being lost. “They just turned round and said they wouldn’t be happy to take the car until it was MoT’d, so I think they’re going to go out and buy another car maybe with an MoT on it or maybe a newer car,” he said.Meanwhile police in Northern Ireland have set out their position on the MoT cancellations.In their statement, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: “Driving without vehicle tax is not prosecuted by PSNI and is the remit of DVLA.

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The BBC obtained a picture of a crack in a lift at one of the vehicle test centres in Northern Ireland

“Where a police officer detects a vehicle without tax and it is outside of the 14-day grace period provide in the legislation, a referral is made to the DVLA.”Given these exceptional circumstances, where PSNI detects a vehicle without a valid MoT certificate, providing the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, officers would be encouraged to exercise discretion.”MoT exemption certificates lasting four months will be issued so motorists are able to drive.However, these cannot be issued for four-year-old cars or taxis.This is because four-year-old cars have never been through an MoT test before, meaning they do not have a certificate to extend, while taxis are covered by different legislation.An assembly member has called for emergency legislation to be brought in to address the MoT “crisis”.

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As of Tuesday, more than 7,000 MoT tests had been cancelled

Roy Beggs said legislation should be considered to extend the period in which cars do not need to be have MoTs. Mr Beggs, a member of the assembly’s infrastructure committee, said he had put this to Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.”We have to remember there’s a crisis coming in four months time,” he said.”In four months time we’ll suddenly have twice as many as cars which will become due for MoT – those which are due at that time and those that are presently due.”Mr Beggs said at the minute cars that could be 10 years old were being exempted”I would have thought four-year-old cars would be much, much safer, much newer and built to a much higher standard and there would be a lesser risk,” he said.”We need to investigate all options.”The infrastructure minister, Ms Mallon, said two reviews will be conducted to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.Tests on heavy goods vehicles and buses will continue.Daniel Donnelly, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said many small firms depended on their vehicles.”It’s absolutely key that clarity is brought soon,” he said.Paul Duffy, chief executive of the Driver Vehicle Agency, said each of the 55 lifts could cost £30,000 to £40,000 to replace.He said an insurance inspector who examined some of the repaired lifts on Monday was not satisfied with the work.As a result, the agency was not comfortable that the rest of the lifts were safe to use, he said.Mr Duffy said it was too early to say whether the lifts could be repaired or would have to be replaced, but there was a possibility they may need to be replaced.BBC News NI business reporter Richard MorganUK companies who manufacture MoT lifts told me the cost to replace each one could be in and around £30,000 to £40,000 because of the specifications required for testing in Northern Ireland.The average manufacturing time for each lift can be anything from five to 10 weeks.Depending on the capacity of the company they could make some simultaneously, but you are still talking a number of months to fulfil such an order.One firm told me they could fulfil the order in four months if they pushed themselves – but that’s because they already have 15 in stock.So that length of time plus a contract of this size and scale would inevitably be put out to tender by the department and that process could take some time.We don’t know if the lifts will be replaced but it gives you a sense of the timescale and cost the department would be facing.Ms Mallon said she has asked her permanent secretary to commission two separate reviews, which she will oversee.The first investigation will focus on “the precise timeline and to understand who knew what and when and all actions taken”.

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The DVA has said it is too early to say whether vehicle lifts could be repaired or would have to be replaced

She said the review will be carried out independently by auditors from outside the Department for Infrastructure.Thousands of MoTs had already been cancelled after the cracks in lifts were detected.The suspension was announced on Monday night.Motorists have also raised concerns about insurance cover if they are unable to get MoT certificates.On Tuesday, AXA insurance said: “We are aware of the of the ongoing issues at MOT test centres in NI and that our customers may be concerned about their insurance cover. “AXA can confirm that until this situation is resolved, it will not be a requirement for AXA customers to have a valid MOT certificate, as long as all other policy conditions are met”.



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Grenfell Tower fire: Firms want immunity over evidence


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Firms involved in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower have asked for immunity from prosecution before appearing at the new phase of the inquiry.They want a guarantee from Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox that they will be protected when they give evidence.The 2017 disaster killed 72 people.The inquiry’s second phase, which began on Monday, is looking at how the building came to be covered in flammable cladding during its refurbishment between 2012 and 2016.Experts have previously said the work failed to meet building regulations.Representatives from organisations including cladding company Harley Facades, building contractor Rydon and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation are due to appear on Thursday.The requests for immunity were read out by inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick at the hearing in London.They were met with groans from survivors and families of the victims in the room, who are likely to strongly oppose the move.Sir Martin told the inquiry: “This development has caused me a little surprise because hitherto there has been the fullest cooperation within the inquiry.”Under the Inquiries Act 2005, people giving evidence at an inquiry have the right to withhold information which might incriminate them. An agreement not to prosecute would protect them if they did give incriminating evidence.The first part of the Grenfell Inquiry examined events that took place on the night. It found the cladding was the “principal” reason for the rapid and “profoundly shocking” spread of the fire at the 25-storey building.It also concluded that “many more lives” could have been saved if the advice to residents to “stay put” had been abandoned earlier.At the opening of the second phase on Monday, the inquiry heard that – with the “sole exception” of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which accepted that the refurbishment should not have been signed off – all organisations involved in the work had denied responsibility for the fire in “carefully crafted statements”.The following day, emails disclosed to the inquiry suggested that companies knew a planned cladding system would fail in the event of a fire.



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Tottenham: Steven Bergwijn completes move from PSV Eindhoven




Steven Bergwijn has won nine caps for the NetherlandsTottenham Hotspur have signed Netherlands forward Steven Bergwijn from PSV Eindhoven on a contract that will run until 2025.Bergwijn, 22, has played 16 times for PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie this season, scoring five goals.He bolsters Spurs boss Jose Mourinho’s options in attack with England striker Harry Kane out with a long-term hamstring injury.Bergwijn came through the PSV ranks and made his first-team debut at 17.He scored 31 goals in 149 appearances for the Dutch club and won three league titles.The forward has also earned nine caps for the Dutch national side.Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.



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Ovo Energy to pay £8.9m for overcharging customers


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Ovo, which is set to become the UK’s second-largest energy company, has been forced to pay £8.9m by regulators after it overcharged customers.The firm, which bought SSE’s retail business last year, sent inaccurate statements to more than half a million customers.Meanwhile, some of its customers did not receive a bill at all, the energy watchdog Ofgem said.The firm agreed a settlement package with Ofgem to dodge a fine.The money will be paid to vulnerable customers rather than the Treasury.Despite knowing about the issues, Ovo did not tell Ofgem.Failures since 2015″Ovo Energy billed a number of its customers incorrectly and issued them with inaccurate information,” said Anthony Pygram, head of enforcement at Ofgem.”The supplier did not prioritise putting these issues right whilst its business was expanding.”In a statement, the energy company said “Ovo Energy holds itself to high standards, but we have not always got it right.”Ovo – which was created 10 years ago – is already the UK’s largest independent energy supplier, with 1.5 million customers and about 2,000 employees.But after buying SSE it has taken on another 3.5 million customers and 8,000 staff, making it second only to British Gas.Ofgem investigated the firm after a series of failures dating back to July 2015.Write offsThe regulator said thousands of customers were charged the wrong amount after Ovo underestimated fuel usage over winter 2017. At least one customer was overcharged by more than £4,500.But Ovo decided not to refund customers who were overcharged by less than £10, Ofgem said.In its report, the watchdog said: “Ovo explained that it did not believe it was an efficient use of resources to process 120,000 small value refunds.”However, the firm did later refund some customers and it also wrote off some underpayments of less than £100.Ofgem said Ovo also gave inaccurate pricing information to around 160,000 customers.”Ovo’s failure to issue accurate documents may have resulted in some customers making decisions to switch or remain with Ovo based on inaccurate information,” Ofgem said.”These customers may have suffered detriment in missed savings opportunities.”Ovo was not the only energy firm in Ofgem’s sights on Wednesday.Utility Warehouse was forced to pay out £650,000 after it overcharged customers due to a systems error.The regulator said the energy company would refund £450,000 to 3,430 customers who paid too much – an average of £131.20 each.It was also made to pay £200,000 into the redress fund for vulnerable customers.



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Coronavirus: BA suspends flights to and from mainland China


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British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China because of the coronavirus outbreak, the airline has said.It comes after the UK Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to the country.The virus has caused more than 100 deaths, spreading across China and to at least 16 other countries.Hundreds of foreign nationals have been evacuated from the city of Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak.The UK government is arranging to evacuate Britons from Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province, with up to 300 British people thought to be in the area. Australia plans to quarantine its 600 returning citizens for two weeks on Christmas Island – some 2,000km (1,200 miles) from the mainland.Japan, the US and other EU countries are also repatriating their citizens.British Airways, which operates daily flights to Shanghai and Beijing from Heathrow, announced the suspension of flights to and from mainland China “with immediate effect”.A statement said: “We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.”Other airlines, including United Airlines, Air Canada and Cathay Pacific Airways, have already cancelled some flights to China.What’s the latest on the virus itself?The number of deaths from the virus has risen to 132 in China, the Chinese National Health Commission (NHC) said on Wednesday.Four cases have been confirmed in Germany, making it the second European country to report cases, after France.The United Arab Emirates has also confirmed its first cases of the virus in a family who recently returned to the UAE from Wuhan.

EPACoronavirus in ChinaSource: China National Health Commission as of the end of 28 January; WHOAn expert from the NHC said it could take 10 more days for the outbreak to peak.Like the similar Sars and influenza viruses, the new coronavirus is a particular risk for elderly people and those with pre-existing illnesses. The sharp rise in cases is in part attributed to increased awareness, monitoring and testing in recent days. The virus, which can cause severe acute respiratory infection, is thought to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. There is no specific cure or vaccine. A number of people, however, have recovered after treatment.Who is being evacuated?New Zealand will cooperate with Canberra to bring its 53 citizens home alongside the Australian evacuees. Some 200 Japanese nationals have been flown from Wuhan and have landed at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Around 650 others said they wanted to be repatriated, and the Japanese government said new flights were being planned.According to Japanese media, several of the returnees were suffering from fever or coughs. All will be taken to hospital, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms.

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Media captionRoad blocks and ghost towns: Inside the province where the virus originated
Also on Wednesday, 240 Americans – including workers the local US consulate – left the city. According to CNN, the evacuees might have to stay in isolation in an airport hangar for up to two weeks. Separately, two aircraft to fly EU citizens home were scheduled, with 250 French nationals leaving on the first flight. South Korea said some 700 of its citizens would leave on four flights this week. Both Malaysia and the Philippines also said they would evacuate their citizens in and around Wuhan. Meanwhile, Hong Kong announced plans to slash cross-border travel between the city and mainland China.Learn more about the new virus

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Zverev beats Wawrinka to reach first Grand Slam semi-final




Alexander Zverev won the season-ending ATP Finals in 20182020 Australian OpenVenue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 FebruaryCoverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app; Watch highlights on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.Alexander Zverev is through to a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time after defeating Stan Wawrinka in four sets at the Australian Open. The German seventh seed beat the Swiss three-time Grand Slam champion 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2, dropping a set for the first time in Melbourne this year.He lost the first five games in only 16 minutes but bounced back to convert five out of 13 break points.The 22-year-old will face Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem in the last four.World number one Nadal takes on Austrian fifth seed Thiem on the Rod Laver Arena at 08:30 GMT on Wednesday. Wawrinka, who won the Australian Open in 2014, has now been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in three of the past four Grand Slams.The 34-year-old started strongly against Zverev, racing through the opening set and winning 16 out of 19 points on his serve, even though his first-serve percentage was only 32%.But Zverev really stepped up in the second, not dropping a point in five service games and breaking once to level at one set all.Both players lost their opening service games at the start of the third, before Zverev moved 4-2 up and then served out the set.The German opened up a 4-0 lead in the fourth as Wawrinka sprayed shots all over the court, possibly feeling the effects of two five-set matches earlier in the tournament against Andreas Seppi and Daniil Medvedev.Zverev, who had not gone beyond the fourth round in Melbourne prior to this year, said: “I don’t know what to say. I’ve done well in other tournaments, I’ve won Masters, I’ve won the ATP Finals, but I never could break that barrier in a Grand Slam. I’m happy to be in the semi-finals.” Addressing the crowd, he added: “You guys cannot imagine what this means to me and I hope it will be the first of many.”In the other semi-final, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will face last year’s Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic on Thursday.



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Long ambulance delays 'affect thousands each week'


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Every week thousands of emergency calls are taking ambulance crews over an hour to reach, a BBC investigation shows.The delays – affecting one in 16 calls in England for conditions such as strokes, heart attacks and fits – are putting lives at risk, experts say.It amounts to over 4,000 “unacceptably” long waits a week for the second-highest category 999 calls. Wales also reported significant problems.NHS bosses blamed rising demand and delays handing over patients at A&E.Many ambulance services have increased staffing – only to find the extra resource largely being swallowed up by the rise in delays faced by crews queuing outside hospitals.This has meant they have had to prioritise the most serious immediately life-threatening cases, such as cardiac arrests.

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But these represent just a small proportion of the high-priority 999 calls. It has meant the second highest category emergencies, which include serious burns and blood poisoning as well as heart attacks and strokes, are waiting too long. Some of the longest waits exceeded five hours – crews are meant to arrive within 18 minutes on average.Patients ‘let down badly’The BBC investigation, which used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain data, has also uncovered a number of worrying cases, including:
A man who suffered a haemorrhage while at home alone, and was found dead when ambulance crews got to him over an hour after he called 999
A 70-year-old man who waited more than two hours after suffering a heart attack – he was taken to hospital and then faced even more delays before he could be admitted on to a ward
Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said patients were being “let down badly at their moment of greatest need” and getting a quick response could be “a matter of life or death”.She said the delays were “undoubtedly” related to the sustained underfunding of the NHS.Mark MacDonald, of the Stroke Association, described the findings as “alarming”, saying a quick assessment and transfer to hospital for brain scans was vital if a patient was going to make a good recovery.”When stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down. And so does a part of you. Around two million neurons are lost every minute that a stroke is untreated.” ‘My partner died while waiting’

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An ambulance crew took over an hour to reach Derrin Cozart (left) last year

Derrin Cozart, 55, was at home in Northumberland on his own last year when he collapsed. He came to and rang 999. That was the last time anyone spoke to him. It was over an hour before an ambulance crew arrived. By the time they did, he was dead.He had suffered a gastrointestinal haemorrhage, which causes internal bleeding.Thirty minutes after his call the ambulance service had rung back, but could not get hold of him.It took another 48 minutes for paramedics to reach him – two crews had to be diverted while they were on their way. His partner, Mark Mitchell, was out of the country on business at the time. “It was devastating. I’ve been left wondering if the ambulance had got there more quickly he may have survived. “We just don’t know – and that’s heartbreaking.”The North East Ambulance Service said a full investigation was being carried out into the case.How many long waits are there?

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The BBC asked for long waits for the two highest priority groups of 999 calls – the immediately life-threatening category ones and the emergency category two cases – from the start of 2018 when a new system of measuring response times came in.Two of England’s 10 ambulance services – the West Midlands and East of England – refused to provide the information.Long waits for immediately life-threatening cases were unusual – just one in 270 cases took longer than 30 minutes to reach. That works out at less than 40 a week.But the records for category two call logs showed long waits for these emergencies were much more common.The data showed there were 385,000 waits of over an hour from January 2018 to September 2019 out of just over six million incidents responded to. That works out at more than 4,000 a week on average – or one in 16 calls.

East Midlands Ambulance Service had the greatest number of long delays – one in eight calls took over an hour.Director of operations Ben Holdaway said crews were often facing long waits at A&E to hand over patients which means they “haven’t been able to get back on the road quickly”.”Every part of the system wants to tackle these issues, but it’s clear we need more staff and beds and well-functioning social care.”In Wales there were more than 1,000 cases a week on average – nearly a quarter of callouts – although their second-tier emergency calls category is a little broader than England’s and includes less urgent cases like diabetes complications which could account for some of the long waits.Lee Brooks, from the Welsh Ambulance Service, accepted that some patients were waiting too long, describing it as as “frustrating for staff as it is for patients”.Ministers are in the process of setting up a taskforce to tackle the delays.Comparable data was not available in Scotland or Northern Ireland.NHS national ambulance adviser Anthony Marsh said: “It is not easy to reach everyone as quickly as we would all like. All our staff are working flat out.”The Department of Health and Social Care in England said the government was increasing funding for the health service and had set aside a dedicated pot to invest in ambulance services.It also said it was investing in the workforce – from September student paramedics will be entitled to a £5,000-a-year grant to support them during their studies.Data analysis by Felix Stephenson and Christine Jeavans



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Mike Pompeo flies to UK for talks amid US Huawei concern


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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is flying into Britain for talks amid American concern at the decision to allow the Chinese tech giant Huawei to have a role in the UK’s 5G network.Mr Pompeo previously said Huawei equipment posed a spying risk, adding the US “won’t be able to share information” with nations that used it.But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has denied the decision will affect the UK-US intelligence-sharing relationship.The two men will meet for talks later.The US State Department said Mr Pompeo’s visit was an opportunity to “reaffirm the special relationship following the UK’s departure from the EU and discuss ways to broaden and deepen trade ties”.But the case of Harry Dunn is also expected to be discussed, after Washington refused the UK’s request for the extradition of Anne Sacoolas – an American diplomat’s wife suspected of causing his death by dangerous driving.Mr Pompeo will also meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit, before flying on to Ukraine on Thursday.
Huawei set for limited role in UK 5G networks
How UK’s Huawei decision affects rest of the world
Ahead of Tuesday’s National Security Council decision on Huawei, the US had warned that giving the firm a role in 5G could allow the Chinese government a “back door” into the telecoms network through which they could carry out espionage or cyber attacks.But the UK said the firm will be barred from sensitive locations, such as nuclear sites and military bases and its share of the market will be capped at 35%.A Trump administration official said the US was “disappointed” with the decision.Mr Pompeo urged the UK to prioritise its own and its allies security interests when dealing with Huawei during his last visit to the UK in May.

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Media captionHow will the Huawei 5G deal affect me?
The UK’s decision also faced a criticism from some senior Conservative MPs.Tom Tugendhat, former chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, tweeted that the government’s “statement leaves many concerns and does not close the UK’s networks to a frequently malign international actor”.But UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, downplayed such concerns, telling the BBC the UK should not be “paranoid” that the decision would lead to “Big Brother from China watching us”. Asked about how the US might react Mr Wallace said: “I don’t know how they’ll react… they’ve made their concerns clear.”We understand that – we respect that, we’ve given them lots of assurances that the intelligence they share and how they share it.”



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Coronavirus: Australia plans island quarantine as foreigners evacuated from Wuhan


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People across China are wearing facemasks as a preventive measure

Hundreds of foreign nationals have been evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, as more deaths and cases were confirmed.Australia plans to quarantine its returning citizens for two weeks on Christmas Island – some 2,000km (1,200 miles) from the mainland.Japan, the US and the EU are also repatriating their citizens.President Xi Jinping called the virus a “devil” but said China would defeat it.An expert from the Chinese National Health Commission said it could take 10 more days for the outbreak to peak.The number of deaths from the virus has risen to 132 in China, the NHC said on Wednesday,

EPACoronavirus in ChinaSource: China National Health Commission as of the end of 28 January; WHOThe virus is thought to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. It causes severe acute respiratory infection and there is no specific cure or vaccine. Who is being evacuated?Australian evacuees will be held on Christmas Island for two weeks as part of a quarantine process, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The announcement sparked controversy as the island is best known as an immigration detention centre. Currently only housing one Sri Lankan family of four, the facility was built to accommodate more then 1,000 people.
Wuhan people cry out ‘stay strong’ from windows
Can wearing masks stop the spread of viruses?
Some 200 Japanese nationals have already been flown from Wuhan and have landed at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Around 650 others said they wanted to be repatriated, and the Japanese government said new flights were being planned.According to Japanese media, the arriving passengers will be health-checked upon arrival but there are no plans to quarantine them. They will, however, be asked to stay at home for two weeks to monitor symptoms.

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Media captionRoad blocks and ghost towns: Inside the province where the virus originated
Also on Wednesday, workers from the local US consulate as well as some US citizens left the city. According to CNN, the evacuees might have to stay in isolation in an airport hangar for up to two weeks. The UK Foreign Office is arranging to evacuate some 200 British people who wanted to leave the area. But some UK citizens have criticised the government, claiming lack of support in returning home. Separately, two aircraft to fly EU citizens home were scheduled, with 250 French nationals leaving on the first flight. South Korea said some 700 of its citizens would leave on four flights this week.Meanwhile, Hong Kong announced plans to slash cross-border travel between the city and mainland China.Wuhan – as well as the wider Hubei province – is already effectively in a lockdown with strict transport restrictions. Wearing masks in public is now mandatory in some Chinese cities.

What’s the latest on the virus itself?Confirmations of person-to-person transmission in Germany, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan – as opposed to travellers bringing the virus from China – have heightened concern about the spread of the virus.Leading Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan, who heads a team set up for the control and prevention of the virus, told Xinhua news agency: “I think in one week or about 10 days, it will reach the climax and then there will be no large-scale increases.”China agreed for the World Health Organization (WHO) to send international experts to the country to help understand the virus and guide global response efforts. President Xi met WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Beijing and said: “The virus is a devil and we cannot let the devil hide.”

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Media caption”Wuhan, add oil!”: Watch residents shouting to boost morale in quarantined city
A Beijing hospital built in seven days in 2003 for patients with symptoms of the Sars virus is being refurbished for the coronavirus outbreak, the South China Morning Post reported. A similar hospital is being rapidly built in Wuhan.According to the WHO and national authorities, there have been more than 60 confirmed cases outside China. The largest number is in Thailand, where there are 14.

Fears grow over human-to-human transmission

The news of more human-to-human cases of the new coronavirus will add to fears about how far this outbreak might spread. The latest cases in Japan and Germany suggest that anyone coming into close contact with another infected person could catch it. It is thought people with symptoms, such as a cough and fever, will be the most contagious. But experts have not ruled out that people with no obvious signs of infection could also pose a risk. And it can take more than a week for a person to develop symptoms.The advice is to avoid close contact with people who are infected – that means keeping enough distance to avoid breathing air or touching surfaces contaminated with respiratory droplets from others carrying and shedding the virus.

Learn more about the new virus

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