Coronavirus patients are deliberately spitting at health care workers

Coronavirus infected are trying to spread the disease by deliberately SPITTING at health care workers in Wuhan, claims South African teacher trapped in the city

  • Jessika Bailing, a teacher trapped Wuhan, made the shocking claims
  • She said she had heard of patients spitting at doctors to contaminate them
  • Ms Bailing, 23, said a viral video showed a patient spitting on elevator buttons
  • Coronavirus can be spread from person to person via a simple sneeze or cough 
  • Figures show cases have tripled in three days to more than 6,100

Coronavirus patients are trying to spread the disease by deliberately spitting at health care workers, it has been claimed.

A South African teacher trapped in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, said the infected were also spitting on elevator buttons.

She has been in hiding ‘afraid to go outside’ in case she is struck with the deadly disease, as figures show cases have tripled in three days.

Coronavirus can be spread from person to person via a simple sneeze or cough, and this strain has been regarded as highly contagious. 

The number of people confirmed to have been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus has now exceeded 6,100 since the outbreak began almost a month ago. 

Some 132 people have now died, most of whom lived in Wuhan, now a deserted city in which thousands of European and American expats are being rescued from. 

Coronavirus patients are deliberately spitting at health care workers to try and spread the killer disease, it has been claimed. Pictured, a patient at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University being treated by medical staff in protective suits 

Jessika Bailing, a South African teacher trapped Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, said the infected were also spitting on elevator buttons

Ms Bailing said: ‘I covered myself from head-to-toe with gloves on my hands, glasses to cover my eyes and of course, my mask’

Jessika Bailing said a viral video showed a patient spitting on elevator buttons. Pictured, medical staff treat a patient with the new coronavirus at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan

World Health Organization figures show just 2,014 patients had been struck down with the SARS-like infection by Sunday, January 26. This has now risen dramatically to 6,168, with cases in the US, Australia and Canada. As well as a dramatic increase in cases of the never-before-seen virus, figures also show the number of deaths have spiralled

Jessika Bailing, the South African teacher trapped Wuhan, told the Metro: ‘I’ve heard shocking stories about infected people going out of their way to contaminate others by taking off their masks and spitting in doctors’ faces.

‘I saw one video of a man spitting on all of the buttons in an apartment elevator.’

The 23-year-old said she is ‘so scared’ to go outside and had only done so to do a ‘terrifying supplies run’.

She added: ‘I covered myself from head-to-toe with gloves on my hands, glasses to cover my eyes and of course, my mask.’ 

As cases of the new coronavirus rise, fears are growing that the outbreak in mainland China is now bigger than the 2003 SARS epidemic, when 5,327 cases of the killer virus were confirmed.


What is this virus?

The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild lung infections such as the common cold. But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s. 

Can the Wuhan coronavirus kill?

Yes – 132 people have so far died after testing positive for the virus. 

What are the symptoms?

Some people who catch the Wuhan coronavirus may not have any symptoms at all, or only very mild ones like a sore throat or a headache.

Others may suffer from a fever, cough or trouble breathing. 

And a small proportion of patients will go on to develop severe infection which can damage the lungs or cause pneumonia, a life-threatening condition which causes swelling and fluid build-up in the lungs. 

How did it start and spread?

The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.

Cases have since been identified around China and are known to have spread from person to person. 


There were just 445 cases of coronavirus by Wednesday last week – meaning the outbreak that is continuing to escalate has increased in size by almost 14-fold in the space of seven days. 

Cases have tripled since Sunday, while deaths have doubled. Fifty-six deaths were recorded by the end of Sunday, but have reached 106 as of yesterday.  

China’s National Health Commission warned the spread of the infection is only going to get worse, with Dr Zhong Nanshan fearing the crisis will peak ‘in the next 10 days’. 

Leading scientists have made stark warnings that there could be tens of thousands of patients already infected – far more than the official toll. 

As Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province remain in lockdown, sources claim hundreds of British nationals stuck in coronavirus-hit Wuhan are gearing up to be flown back to London tomorrow. 

Health officials in the capital Beijing today warned cases are on the rise. The city has one confirmed death and 102 confirmed cases of the virus so far.

And the United Arab Emirates has become the latest country to confirm cases, announcing four patients from the same family had caught the infection.

Britons are due to be evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan tomorrow and will be quarantined for two weeks in a UK military base. Around 200 British nationals are thought to be in the Chinese city.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced the news following criticism over the handling of Britons returning from the city in previous weeks. 

In a desperate attempt to prevent an outbreak on British soil, Mr Hancock begged travellers to stay indoors, avoid contact with anyone and ring NHS 111 if they have any symptoms.

Furious Brits said it’s a ‘bit f****** late’ to tell travellers from Wuhan to ‘self-isolate’ amid fears the killer coronavirus is spreading between people even if they do not show any symptoms.  

Experts in China have said there is evidence that people could transmit the virus without showing any symptoms, although UK experts think the risk is low.

Other developments include: 

  • British Airways today announced it would be stopping all flights to and from mainland China. It runs daily flights to Beijing and Shanghai from London Heathrow.
  • Hundreds of British nationals stuck in coronavirus-hit Wuhan are gearing up to be flown back to London on Thursday via chartered plane in a landmark evacuation mission.  
  • The scramble to evacuate coronavirus ground zero is tearing families apart including one British man who says he is being forced to leave his Chinese wife behind.
  • Cases of coronavirus have tripled since Sunday and jumped 30 per cent in the last 24 hours – now infecting people in 19 different countries.
  • A US evacuation flight that took off from Wuhan yesterday is on its way to a military base in Ontario, California, where ts 240 passengers will be kept in quarantine for ‘at least 72 hours’
  • Four people in Germany who contracted coronavirus after a colleague from China visited their workplace only had ‘very mild’ symptoms   

Experts say the difficulty of containing the coronavirus is that so many patients have mild, cold-like symptoms and don’t realise they have the infection – but it can quickly turn deadly


The US

The US launched an emergency mission to repatriate 240 citizens yesterday, with a flight out of Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.

On board the flight, which left before dawn local time, was diplomats from the US Consulate as well as other American citizens. One British dual national also boarded the flight. It is unclear whether any medics were on board to monitor passengers for signs of infection.

It made a refueling stop in Alaska and was due to fly on to Ontario, California – but it has since been diverted to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, where it is expected to land in the next few hours.

Passengers were screened before initially boarding in Wuhan, and then went through follow-up checks at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. The will be screened again once they arrive in California. It is thought they will be quarantined for at least 72 hours.

The Chinese partners of US citizens were banned from the rescue flight, reportedly at the demand of Beijing.


Japanese officials also chartered a flight from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to rescue 206 citizens stuck in the coronavirus-hit city.

The plane landed back at Haneda Airport in Tokyo this morning at around 9am local time after flying to Wuhan overnight.  

The flight was carrying emergency relief supplies including 15,000 masks, 50,000 pairs of gloves and 8,000 protective glasses for medics in Wuhan. Around four medical officials were also on board to monitor returning passengers.

Officials confirmed passengers would be tested for the coronavirus strain. Japan Times the evacuees would be asked to remain at home and isolate themselves to prevent the potential spread. 


France’s health minister Agnes Buzyn confirmed a plane will be sent for its stranded citizens on Thursday, to return home on Friday or Saturday. No further details have been given.

There are some 800 French citizens stranded in the Wuhan area. She said French nationals will be held in quarantine for two weeks on arrival to stop the virus spreading on home soil.

The European Union meanwhile said it would co-fund an airlift effort at France’s request, so that more than 100 nationals from other EU nations could be repatriated along with French citizens. 


Australia is planning to evacuate its citizens from the epicentre of the deadly virus outbreak in China and quarantine them on an island used to detain asylum seekers. 

No confirmed details have been given, with officials still thrashing out details with Chinese officials. But it is thought Australia will work with New Zealand on the operation and would seek to help Pacific nations evacuate their citizens where possible.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said they would be held in quarantine for 14 days on Christmas Island, known for its notorious immigration detention centre used to detain asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat. 

Morrison said ‘vulnerable’ Australians – including children and the elderly – and short-term visitors to Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province would be prioritised in extraction efforts. 


India Local media reported the Indian government will request clearance from Beijing to take more than 250 citizens out of Wuhan and that a Boeing 747 in Mumbai is on standby.

Indonesia Jakarta said there are more than 230 Indonesians in China – roughly 100 in Wuhan and the rest in Hubei province. The foreign ministry said yesterday it has yet to decide on an evacuation plan.

Malaysia Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said this morning that Kuala Lumpur was keen to send a plane to Wuhan to evacuate some 78 Malaysians stranded in the city.

Philippines The foreign ministry said today it would evacuate citizens in Hubei on a chartered flight, and asked nationals in the area to contact the Shanghai consulate. 

Sri Lanka Colombo said yesterday there were roughly 860 Sri Lankan students in China. The foreign ministry said it is awaiting a response from the Chinese authorities to operate a Sri Lankan airlines charter flight to Wuhan to evacuate some 32 Sri Lankan students and their relatives.

South Korea Seoul will send chartered planes to Wuhan this week, the foreign ministry said, to return hundreds of its citizens to South Korea on Thursday and Friday.

Thailand Thailand’s premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said yesterday the country was waiting for authorisation from Chinese officials before evacuating people, but that aircraft and doctors were on standby. 

Germany Berlin has not confirmed any evacuation plan but said it is considering options for roughly 90 citizens reportedly in Wuhan.

Spain Spanish officials are working with China and the European Union to take Spanish nationals out of the area, the foreign minister said. 

Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has asked the government to take all measures needed to bring home 36 Algerians, most of them students, living in Wuhan, according to state agency APS.

Morocco About 100 people, mostly students in Wuhan, will be evacuated, according to local media.

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