LUDLOW mathematics professor Russel Cheng believes that the coronavirus may have started in the autumn of last year.

He also believes that the problem has been made worse because the Chinese authorities tried to suppress news of the virus when concerns were first raised.

Mr Cheng says that the UK Government had initially intended to have a policy of herd immunity but changed this when it became clear that this approach could result in half a million deaths.

“Now that so many NHS staff have so courageously fought for other people’s lives knowing their own personal risk, we have to resist the virus all we can,” he said.

The professor who has previously advised the World Health Organisation thinks that the virus may well have been around longer than it was originally thought.

“There is an interesting aspect which has a bearing on herd immunity, now widely speculated, is that the virus may well have been around much longer in the UK than initially thought.

“Though not widely known it very likely appeared in Wuhan as early as last November but was not recognised; doctors in Wuhan realised that there was something unusual about but not how virulent it would be.

“I have to agree, for once, with President Trump that the Chinese Communist Party was derelict in trying to initially suppress the news.

“My wife and I were in Cambridge at the beginning of last December and encountered large groups of Chinese tourists, some of whom may well have been from Wuhan. We now know of people who, as did my wife and I, picked up unusual symptoms that required recovery in bed which were not properly explained by normal flu and we all now begin to wonder.”

Tony Penn, Malvern Hills District Councillor for Tenbury says his wife also had a bad flu type illness at the beginning of the year.