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Fewer Britons now think coronavirus is a 'major threat' as illness spreads through Europe

Yahoo! News UK logo Yahoo! News UK 26/02/2020 Jimmy Nsubuga
a person sitting at a train station: A woman seen on a tube wearing a face mask. A total of nine people in the UK are now being treated for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Doctors have warned that the London Underground could be a hotbed for the coronavirus. (Photo by S.C. Leung / SOPA Images/Sipa USA) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK A woman seen on a tube wearing a face mask. A total of nine people in the UK are now being treated for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Doctors have warned that the London Underground could be a hotbed for the coronavirus. (Photo by S.C. Leung / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

A new YouGov poll has revealed fewer people think coronavirus is a “major threat” in the UK.

The data shows 14% of respondents now feel the infection is a big concern compared to 23% on 1 February.

The combined number of people who think the virus is a moderate and major threat remains at around 60%.

Coronavirus has continued to spread across Europe amid fears of a global pandemic.

As of Wednesday, a total of 7,132 people have been tested for it in the UK.

Of these, 13 have tested positive, and eight have since been discharged from hospital.

The overall number of people who think coronavirus is a threat compared to 1 February:

Matt Smith, Research Manager at YouGov said: “As coronavirus spreads across the globe, concern has remained high in Britain with six in ten Brits seeing it as a threat to the country. 

“However, while concern is at a similar level to when YouGov last asked the public, the proportion of those who see coronavirus as a major threat has decreased with more now classing the virus as a moderate threat than a month ago. 

“This could be due to a number of factors, such as increased public knowledge of the symptoms or publicised efforts to contain patients, or the fact that as of yet nobody in the UK has died of the illness, but ultimately concern about the virus is still high."

The YouGov poll has a breakdown on the region, gender, politics, age and social grade of the 4463 people surveyed which can be viewed here.

Read more: UK schools close as coronavirus panic spreads across Europe

a close up of a map: The infection continues to spread across Europe amid fears of a global pandemic (Picture: PA) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK The infection continues to spread across Europe amid fears of a global pandemic (Picture: PA)

Several schools in the UK have closed while others have sent pupils home for fear they may have been exposed to coronavirus during ski trips to northern Italy.

a person sitting at a train station

In Italy, the number of people infected grew to 322, or 45% in 24 hours, and deaths of patients with the virus rose to 11.

Austria, Croatia and Switzerland reported their first cases, while Spain and France recorded new ones, also involving people who had been to northern Italy.

The first positive test in South America has been recorded after 61-year-old Brazilian man who had recently been to northern Italy tested positive, it has been reported.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said official advice has been changed to say people who have been to anywhere in Italy north of Pisa should self-isolate if they develop flu-like symptoms on their return to the UK.

He told MPs on Wednesday: “We have a clear, four-part plan to respond to the outbreak of this disease: contain, delay, research and mitigate.”

Read more: In numbers: How coronavirus has spread around the world

Mr Hancock added guidance has been published in recent days for schools, employers, first responders, social care and the travel industry.

He said: “If anyone has been in contact with a suspected case in a childcare or an educational setting, no special measures are required while test results are awaited.

“There is no need to close the school or send other students or staff home. Once the results arrive, those who test negative will be advised individually about returning to education.

“In most cases, closure of the childcare or education setting will be unnecessary, but this will be a local decision based on various factors including professional advice.”

Read more: Britons urged to 'keep their distance' from each other as coronavirus spreads

a person standing next to a bag of luggage:  Staff assigned for Coronavirus tests at the Molinette hospital. Italy is at the third place in the world ranking as infected countries, after China and South Korea. The Italian authorities have ordered for the closure of schools, universities, pubs and imposed a stop to religious functions in Lombardy and Veneto regions. (Photo by Diego Puletto / SOPA Images/Sipa USA) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Staff assigned for Coronavirus tests at the Molinette hospital. Italy is at the third place in the world ranking as infected countries, after China and South Korea. The Italian authorities have ordered for the closure of schools, universities, pubs and imposed a stop to religious functions in Lombardy and Veneto regions. (Photo by Diego Puletto / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Mr Hancock said it is important not to overreact in response to the Covid-19 virus and there is no clinical benefit to using thermal imaging at airports to screen passengers.

The total number of cases of coronavirus in China is around 77,150, while the death toll is approximately 2,592.

Outside mainland China, the outbreak has spread to some 29 countries and territories, with a death toll of around two dozen.

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