People terrified of coronavirus are wearing plastic containers over their heads

Chinese residents and holidaymakers are so terrified of catching coronavirus they are wearing plastic containers and bags over their heads to protect themselves.

Photos on social media reveal the desperate measures people are taking as the SARS-like illness – dubbed a "devil" virus by Chinese President Xi Jinping – infects hundreds more patients every day.

One image shows a family-of-four, including a mum with a baby in a harness and a young boy in a pushchair, wearing plastic bags over themselves in an airport check-in queue.

Photos taken at Vancouver airport in Canada show a woman with a plastic water container over her head at a baggage claim.

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Other snaps shows a family protecting themselves with plastic containers at a railway station in Hong Kong and a person with a similar container buying vegetables at a market in China.

Supplies of masks and other protective gear are running out in some cities in China, where the flu-like virus has killed more than 130 people and infected almost 6,000 others as of Wednesday morning.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus, but health experts have urged people to reduce the risk of infection by regularly washing their hands with soap and water, covering their mouths and noses when they sneeze or cough, avoiding sharing food, drink and utensils.

Like other respiratory infections, it is spread by droplets from coughs and sneezes, with an incubation time from one to 14 days.

There are limited signs it may also be able to spread before symptoms show.

In China, most of the cases have occurred in Hubei province, specifically in Wuhan, a city of 11million people where the virus is believed to have spread to humans at a market that sold live animals and illegal wildlife.

Nearly 60 cases have been reported in 15 other countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

More than 100 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK, but all of the results were negative.

However, Public Health England has warned that the virus is likely already in the country.

People who have recently travelled from Hubei province to Britain have been told to self-isolate and stay indoors for 14 days.

As airports around the world screen passengers arriving from China, British Airways has suspended all flights to and from mainland China with immediate effect after the Foreign Office warned against "all but essential travel" to the country because of the coronavirus.

Urgent plans to bring UK citizens back from Hubei are being finalised by the Government.

Flights bringing Britons home could begin as early as Thursday.

Wuhan, ground zero for the outbreak, has been locked down by Chinese authorities, with up to 500 Britons currently trapped in the central city.

UK citizens have told how there is no way out and normally bustling Wuhan has become a "ghost town".

All flights have been grounded, public transport has been halted and checkpoints have been set up on roads.

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