Britain is braced for "some deaths" as the number of people infected with coronavirus across the UK rises to 53.
Health experts are warning the number of people diagnosed with the virus will increase rapidly over the next six weeks.
Professor Chris Whitty, Public Health England's chief medical officer, has warned that a huge epidemic is now "likely" and warned as many as 80 per cent of Brits could be struck down by coronavirus.
The NHS has declared a level four emergency over coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, and the UK's action plan warned that a fifth of workers could be absent at the height of the outbreak.
And Prof Whitty warned that the NHS will be put under enormous pressure as it battles to treat patients – but insisted that it would cope.
Coronavirus is spread through viral droplets found in mucus and saliva and transported when people cough, sneeze, laugh, sing, talk and even breathe.
To get into our systems they have to enter via the nose, eyes or mouth and it is thought coughing and sneezing is the most common way for these droplets to be spread.
The virus can survive for between two and nine hours on surfaces like metal, glass and plastic.
People wearing masks as they travel around in public has now become a common sight in many towns and cities.
It has now been reported that supplies of the masks are now running low as people stock up in a bid to protect themselves from coronavirus.
However, experts have said the masks are completely unneccesary when worn out on the streets.
The World Health Organisation, Public Health England and the NHS all stress there is no evidence that the masks are effective when worn out in the community.
Dr Jake Dunning, head of emerging infections and zoonoses (an infectious disease) at Public Health England, told The Independent there is 'very little evidence of a widespread benefit' in wearing the masks.
Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also said there is little evidence the masks will help prevention, and are better used by those who already have the virus to prevent it spreading.
The only time people SHOULD be wearing the
Medical professionals who come into close contact with the coronavirus will usually be wearing more heavy-duty masks, which can filter out unwanted particles and are specifically fitted to the wearer's face.
The official advice from the World Health Organisation says: "If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
"Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water."
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