THE outbreak of the coronavirus has been described as "a very grave threat for the rest of the world" by the World Health Organisation as it emerged two prisoners are being tested for the illness.

The two are being held in isolation at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire and access to one of the wings of the Category B prison has been restricted. One of the men is understood to have been recently transferred from a Thai jail.

They are both reported to be suffering flu-like symptoms.

Meanwhile a healthcare worker at Worthing Hospital is among the eight confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

Staff at the West Sussex hospital received a memo on Tuesday telling them a member of staff working in the A&E department had been diagnosed with the disease.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said that all services at the hospital, including surgery and out patients, are operating normally.

It is understood the healthcare worker at Worthing Hospital is not the same person as the locum doctor working in Brighton, who is also one of the eight cases.

As of yesterday evening, a total of 1,358 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of which 1,350 were confirmed negative and eight positive, the Department of Health said.

Pupils at Cottesmore St Mary's Catholic and Bevendean Primary School in Brighton were told they could stay at home after a couple of teachers feared the had come into contact with the virus.

Dr Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, described the outbreak as "a very grave threat for the rest of the world".