News Daily: UK tests for China virus and US rejects Harry Dunn case extradition

By Andy McFarlane
BBC News

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The UK is monitoring direct flights arriving from China as a precaution

UK tests 14 as China battles to contain virus

As China battles to contain a deadly coronavirus outbreak, with 26 deaths among 830 cases, Public Health England (PHE) says 14 people in the UK have been tested for the new strain. Five samples came back negative, while nine others await results. PHE is not saying where in the UK the cases were located. However, five people have been tested in Scotland, where an incident team has been set up. And a man who is understood to have travelled at the weekend from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, is being treated in Belfast.

No cases have been confirmed and No 10 says the UK testing is "purely precautionary". Though Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs there is an "increased likelihood" of cases occurring in the UK, he insists "we are well prepared" to deal with them. The risk to the UK population has been revised up but is still classed as "low". China has effectively quarantined nearly 20 million people in Hubei province, with no planes or trains in or out of Wuhan, where face masks are compulsory in public. Some say the city of up to 11 million people resembles a ghost town.

US rejects Harry Dunn death extradition request

The US has turned down British requests to extradite a woman suspected of causing the death of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn, in what the Home Office says "appears to be a denial of justice". Washington argues that allowing Anne Sacoolas to face charges in the UK would "set a troubling precedent", given she had diplomatic immunity. The crash happened outside RAF Croughton, in Northamptonshire, where her husband worked as an intelligence officer. A spokesman for Mr Dunn's family said they had expected the result but insisted: "Anne Sacoolas will be coming back one day."

HS2 risks 'not priced in at the start'

Its original budget was £32.7bn. By 2015, the HS2 rail scheme was due to cost £56bn. Earlier this week, a leaked report suggested that could rise to £106bn. Now the National Audit Office, which monitors government spending, suggests no-one took full account of how complex and risky the high-speed project was likely to be. The Department for Transport (DfT) and HS2 Ltd "have not adequately managed risks to taxpayer money", the watchdog says in a report. The government says it's already acting on many of its recommendations around transparency on costs and schedules.

'I'm terrified… coronavirus is way out of control'

By Celestina Olulode, BBC Newsbeat

It should have been a time for "Lele" and her family to have fun, and relax in each other's company. But this year, for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday in China, the 23-year-old didn't even want to leave her house. She was scared of catching the virus that's already killed 17 people in her home city of Wuhan, where she's recently returned after studying in the UK.

But she gave in to her parents. "I couldn't disobey them, so we visited my grandparents' place for dinner - which is very scary. I put my face mask on as soon as I got outside, and I tried to finish the New Year's meal as fast as I could."

What the papers say

"Is the killer virus here?" The Daily Mail's headline sums up the coverage across several front pages, as it emerged several people were being tested in the UK for the coronavirus which has infected more than 800 people in China and killed 26. The Guardian reports the government spending watchdog's opinion that it is "impossible to estimate with certainty" how much the HS2 rail scheme will eventually cost. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph carries a warning from barristers that theft is effectively being "decriminalised", as statistics show four police forces brought no personal theft charges in three months.

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Today Ireland's High Court to rule on the extradition case of Eamonn Harrison, from County Down, who faces manslaughter charges in the UK over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people in the back of a truck.

18:00 The Unite union's executive committee is expected to announce which candidates it is backing to become leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party.

On this day

1965 Wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill dies. Watch footage of people's reactions.

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