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Markets rise on news

UK gets all-clear as coronavirus tests prove negative

coronavirus masks

Chinese cities remain in lockdown

Tests for the coronavirus on 14 people in the UK have come back negative, easing concerns about it spreading to Europe.

Chief medical officer has announced Professor Chris Whitty said the risk to the public is “low” and there were no confirmed cases yet but warned “there may well be… at some stage”.

His comments followed tests on five suspected cases in Scotland and after the government’s emergency committee was convened to discuss the outbreak that has killed 26 people in China. He added the UK has “tried and tested measures in place to respond” if needed.

China has announced plans to build a 1,000-bed hospital in five days to treat victims.

In Edinburgh, where some of the suspected cases were examined, Boots reported that all its stores had sold out of face masks as residents and visitors took precautions.

The lessening of fears about the virus impacted on markets. US shares opened slightly higher following an earlier fall in oil prices over concerns that the virus was curbing travel.

China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer, and public transportation has been been suspended in 10 Chinese cities.

Brent crude was down 0.5% to $61.73 a barrel.

London shares were also higher, though this was almost entirely on the back of new PMI data suggesting that the economy is expanding following the general election, and the possibility that the Bank of England might not need to cut interest rates.

The FTSE 100 surged 135 points before settling 78.3 points (1.04%) higher to close at 7585.98.

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