Related: Tents erected outside Italy A&Es to copy with demand

Coronavirus screening at ports will detect fewer than half of infected travellers, a new study suggests. Researchers said this would be true “even under best-case assumptions” because many people do not realise they have been exposed to the virus and their symptoms have not developed at the time of testing.

The research, published in eLife, came as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that humanity must prepare for coronavirus to become a pandemic – and one of the body’s advisers said the outbreak was “rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category”. The “disease X” moniker is a WHO placeholder designation for any any new pathogen which may infect humans in the future but is not yet known to scientists.

Meanwhile, two more people have died in Iran, bringing the official death toll to 14. Hong Kong has extended the closure of its schools until 20 April and investment banks Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Nomura Holdings have reportedly curbed employees’ trips to Italy for fear the disease will spread. Seven people have died of the illness in Italy.

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China business

A state planning official in China has said that regions deemed to be at low risk from coronavirus should "full resume normal activities" and bring an end to restrictions on citizens' movements.

It follows urging by Xi Jinping for the Chinese economy to get back up and running after it took a big hit from the virus.


China says it will beef up its cooperation with Japan and South Korea in responding to coronavirus.

South Korea has the most virus cases in Asia outside China and reported its ninth death and 84 new cases on Tuesday, for a total of 977 cases. Japan has had four deaths and 850 cases mostly on a cruise ship docked near Tokyo.

Mask ban

NHS hospitals have been banned from stockpiling masks used to protect staff from the coronavirus infection amid fears of a shortage in supply, it has emerged, writes Shaun Lintern.

As stock markets around the world plunged and parts of Italy remained in lockdown, NHS bosses confirmed on Monday that they have barred trusts from over-ordering respirator masks after some hospitals were said to be panic buying.

Hospitals have been warned that local stockpiling is unnecessary and, from Thursday last week, hospitals were only able to order their normal amount of masks.



Church testing

In South Korea, authorities have launched mass coronavirus testing following the biggest outbreak of the disease outside China.

They plan to screen more than 200,000 members of the church at the centre of the outbreak. The leader of the Shincheonji Church said it had agreed to provide authorities with the names of all its members in South Korea.

Vice health minister Kim Kang-lip said the priority was to test about 1,300 of the 9,200 members of the Daegu church who are showing symptoms, which he said would be completed by Wednesday. Authorities hoped to stabilise the situation in Daegu within four weeks, he added.

Americans have been advised not to travel to South Korea, and the US military is considering scaling back training with one of its key regional allies.

New infections

Reports of new infections are coming in from around the world.

Kuwait says it has now detected eight cases of coronavirus - all in people travelling from Iran.

Iran has confirmed two more deaths, bringing the official total there to 14. Yesterday, media reports and one politician claimed the true toll was 50.

Dubai International Airport has cut all flights to and from the Islamic republic, except the capital Tehran. Bahrain has now detected two cases of coronavirus and suspended flights to Dubai.

New UK advice

Anyone returning to the UK from northern Italy who is experiencing symptoms should self-isolate in the same way as people coming back from China have been told to do, the health secretary has said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Matt Hancock said: "The official advice which will be formally updated at eight o'clock this morning is going to change so that those who have been to northern Italy - north of Pisa - if they have flu-like symptoms should self-isolate.

"If people have been to the affected areas that the Italian government have quarantined then they should self-isolate whether or not they have symptoms."


'Disease X'

Here is our story from overnight, if you want to catch up on the state of play.

Coronavirus is “rapidly becoming” the world’s first true pandemic challenge, fitting the category of “disease X”, an advisor for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned, writes Samuel Lovett.

Covid-19 has killed nearly 2,600 people in mainland China, where the virus emerged last year, and infected more than 77,000.


Rising concerns among scientists that outbreak reaching pandemic scale

Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of coronavirus for Tuesday, 25 February.

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