SAJID Javid has admitted nobody knows how bad the Coronavirus crisis could get, and warned it could impact the global economy.
Speaking this morning, the Chancellor said the Government were doing everything they could, but admitted the news was not getting any better.
He said: “We were one of the first countries to develop a test that works quickly and we are sharing this with our partners around the world.
“Like everybody else I am concerned, nobody knows where this is going to go, every day we are waking up and especially the news from China is not getting any better.
“We are right to be doing everything we can.
I am involved in that, I want to make sure that all the funding that is necessary to make people safe is available, but also there could be an impact on the global economy and we need to be alive to that.
His comments come as Hong Kongs leading public health epidemiologist warned the virus could infect 60% of the global population “if unchecked”.
Hundreds of people who came into contact with a Brit coronavirus “superspreader” on a packed easyJet flight are now being hunted after he is already feared to infected at least seven people.
The middle-aged businessman contracted the deadly virus while at a conference in Singapore and is now said to be at the centre of a web of cases across the UK, Spain and France.
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Yesterday the Government declared coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat to public health” and introduced new powers to deal with the spread of the virus.
The health ministry said people with the illness can now be forcibly quarantined and will not be free to leave, and can be forcibly sent into isolation if they pose a threat to public health.
The measures are understood to have been introduced in response to one of the Britons who returned from Wuhan attempting to leave isolation.
Defending them, Mr Javid said: The priority has to be to protect the public and to stop the spread of the virus.
Around 150 Brits were flown back from Wuhan two days ago and will now be quarantined at a facility in Milton Keynes.
Arrowe Park Hospital and Kents Hill Park have been designated as “isolation” facilities, with and Wuhan and Hubei province in China labelled “infected areas”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the flight had brought back 105 British nationals and family members, as well as 95 European nationals and family members.
Elsewhere, 60 more people on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama have tested positive for coronavirus, Japan’s health minister has said.
There are now 130 confirmed cases on the ship, with officials previously saying 70 people had the virus among the 3,711 passengers and crew.