Twelve more test positive for coronavirus in England
Twelve more people test positive for coronavirus in England – including one from Essex who has NOT travelled abroad – bringing the total number of UK cases to 35, including two primary school teachers
- Twelve more cases of coronavirus diagnosed in England taking UK total to 35
- One patient from Essex had not recently travelled abroad, health officials said
- Three others were in close contact with of a known case transmitted in the UK
- Of the eight remaining cases, six recently travelled from Italy, two from Iran
- Patients are from London, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire
- St Mary’s School in Tetbury has confirmed a member of staff has tested positive
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK leapt to 35 after 12 new patients were identified in England today.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said three of the patients were close contacts of a known Covid-19 case that was transmitted within the UK – believed to be a Surrey resident.
Another new patient, from Essex, has no relevant travel to an affected area, Prof Whitty said on Sunday, bringing the number of cases worldwide to 87,690.
He added investigations were ongoing as to whether the patient had contracted it ‘directly or indirectly’ from an individual who had recently travelled abroad.
Of the eight remaining cases, six had recently travelled from Italy, while two had been in Iran.
These patients are from London, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire, where a primary school has become embroiled in the crisis.
A woman wearing a face mask while waiting for a tube train at Bank underground station today
Pictured: People wearing face masks ahead of the St David’s Day Parade in Cardiff today
Pictured: The government’s announcement confirming the latest cases of coronavirus today
St Mary’s School in Tetbury has confirmed a member of staff has tested positive for Covid-19. The case in the Cotswolds was among three identified on Saturday.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Mrs Jo Woolley said that while it was not necessary to close the school from a health perspective, it will close until at least Wednesday due to ‘operational difficulties’ with staff members.
She said: ‘Whilst I fully understand this will cause anxiety amongst the school community, I can assure you all necessary steps are being taken to minimise risk to others. A deep clean of the school was carried out on Saturday February 29.
‘All people who have had contact with the person have already been identified, contacted and know if they need to exclude themselves from school.’
All of the newly identified cases are being investigated and health officials have begun tracing anyone who had close contact with them.
As of 9am on Sunday, more than 11,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK – with 35 confirmed as positive.
It comes after the Health Secretary conceded it was ‘inevitable’ that the deadly virus would continue to spread across the UK.
Matt Hancock did not rule out following China’s lead in shutting down cities if the Covid-19 outbreak escalates, as he outlined a new ‘battle plan’ by the Government on Sunday.
Fans wearing masks to the Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Chelsea yesterday
People wearing face masks in Trafalgar Square, London, as the first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Wales and two more were identified in England – bringing the total number in the UK to 20
A motorcycle courier arriving at the boarded-off entrance to the Holiday Inn hotel, close to Heathrow Airport, west of London today. The Department of Health block-booked a hotel close to London Heathrow Airport, to use as a quarantine zone for any people entering the country who may have been exposed to coronavirus
All of the newly identified cases are being investigated and health officials have begun tracing anyone who had close contact with them. A statement from Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said: ‘As of 9am this morning 12 further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19.
‘Three patients were close contacts of a known case, transmitted in the UK, identified as part of contact tracing. One patient, resident in Essex, had no relevant travel and it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad; investigations are ongoing. Of the remaining eight cases, six had recently travelled from Italy and two from Iran.
‘The patients who have recently travelled are from London, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire. All are being investigated and contact tracing has begun.’
He added: ‘The total number of confirmed cases in England is now 33. Following previously reported confirmed cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, the total number of UK cases is 35.’
The three new cases confirmed yesterday – one in Gloucestershire, one in Hertfordshire and another in Berkshire – are also being investigated and any individuals who had contact with the patients are now being traced
Dr Susan Crossland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, has warned that a major outbreak of coronavirus would bring ‘immense stress’ to the NHS.
‘While the emergency planning measures put in place specifically for coronavirus have been good, the wider picture is one of grave concern,’ she said.
‘The problems are well-documented: Nursing and medical vacancies, reduction in bed numbers, delays to social care reform, the pension tax driving away senior clinicians, a growing elderly and frail population with complex medical needs and a crumbling NHS estate.
‘One of the huge problems we will see in the event a widespread outbreak is a complete squeeze on elective (planned) surgery that will have huge implications for already dire patient waiting times and this directly relates to the under-funding of previous years.
‘The only thing that will see the country through such a period will once again be the frontline staff who never fail to deliver for patients despite being under extreme stress and that is a credit to our NHS, however, it simply shouldn’t be that way and that is why we must still criticise those in power despite the positive efforts to deal with the growing coronavirus problem.’
Health Secretary has not ruled out shutting down cities if the coronavirus outbreak escalates as he outlined a new ‘battle plan’ by the Government.
Matt Hancock said despite a ‘huge economic and social downside’, following China’s lead and isolating UK cities if the situation worsens currently remains on the table.
He conceded it was ‘inevitable’ that the deadly virus would continue to spread after three new cases were identified in the UK, including a staff member at an infant school.
How Surrey has become a possible coronavirus hotspot: Two schools in the area closed this week amid reports of pupils with flu-like symptoms. While there was a first suspected case of coronavirus in East Horsley, Surrey before another was believed to have been confirmed in a patient at Haslemere Health Centre
On isolating entire cities, as Chinese authorities did with Wuhan, Mr Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: ‘There is clearly a huge economic and social downside to that.
‘But we don’t take anything off the table at this stage because you have to make sure you have all the tools available if that is what is necessary.’
The Health Secretary confirmed earlier today that ‘population distancing measures’, such as banning public gatherings and cancelling football matches, could be considered by the Government, while closing schools may be ‘necessary’.
One in ten Britons could end up in hospital with coronavirus, warns NHS
A bus passenger wears a protective mask in London
One in ten Britons could end up in hospital with coronavirus according to NHS officials who are drawing up a ‘battle plan’ to tackle the deadly outbreak.
The latest case is the first time a patient has caught the infection on British soil, marking a ‘new chapter’ in the country’s spiralling health crisis.
Procedures to dispose of corpses would be sped up in a desperate move that would save thousands of lives.
Nickie Aiken, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, confirmed that London’s Hyde Park would be turned into a morgue if the killer outbreak continues to escalate.
A massive 70 per cent of Britons could catch the killer bug and 15 per cent of those may be hospitalised, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Health Minister Helen Whately said it was ‘likely’ more people in the UK would contract coronavirus and that plans were in place should it become a pandemic.
He said: ‘I’m not saying any of these are decisions we have taken but they are things we don’t rule out.’
The Department of Health and Social Care announced on Sunday every department will have a ministerial lead on the virus, and a cross-Whitehall ‘war room’ is being set up to roll out an enhanced public information campaign.
Emergency powers designed to restrict Covid-19 if it becomes endemic, due to be revealed this week, would only be ‘temporary’, said Mr Hancock.
He added the NHS was ready to deal with further cases of coronavirus, with more than 5,000 emergency critical care beds available.
The number of emergency meetings convened by the Government is to be increased, which comes amid criticism of Boris Johnson for failing to lead a Cobra contingencies committee on the outbreak until Monday.
Three more patients in England tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday, while the Republic of Ireland reported its first patient – bringing the total number of cases in the British Isles to 24.
One of those confirmed was a staff member at an infant school in Berkshire.
In an email, Willow Bank Infant School headteacher Michelle Masters urged parents to ‘remain calm and follow the recommended hygiene procedures’.
‘The school will be shut for some days to allow for a deep clean and to ensure that the risk of infection remain(s) low,’ Ms Masters said.
Health officials are also tracing anyone who had close contact with the other two latest cases – a resident in the Cotswolds area of Gloucestershire, and another in Hertfordshire.
Two of the patients had recently travelled back from Italy while the other had returned from Asia, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said.
A pub in Haslemere, Surrey, has been closed until further notice for deep cleaning after a customer ‘tested positive for coronavirus’.
A patient in the county was confirmed as the first to catch the illness within the UK on Friday.
The landlords of the Prince of Wales pub said on Facebook that they had no symptoms of the virus and that it was a ‘precautionary measure only’.
It came as Donald Trump banned travel to Iran after America reported its first death from the virus.
The US president added that he was considering additional restrictions, including closing the border with Mexico in response to the outbreak.
Elsewhere, the husband of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe believes she has contracted coronavirus at the prison where she is being held.
A coronavirus pod set up in the car park area of the A&E department at Lewisham hospital in South East London
Willow Bank Infant School in Berkshire will be ‘shut for some days to allow for a deep clean’ according to an email sent to parents
Richard Ratcliffe said his wife has repeatedly asked to be tested for the virus at the Evin prison in Tehran after suffering from a ‘strange cold’.
Although there are currently no confirmed cases at the prison, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across Iran – with at least 54 dead amid 978 patients identified.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has called on the Iranian government to ‘immediately allow’ health professionals into the prison to assess British-Iranian dual nationals.
Holiday operator Tui said on Saturday evening it would be making arrangements for Britons at a coronavirus-stricken hotel in Tenerife who test negative to return to the UK.
Around 160 Britons were among hundreds of guests put into quarantine at the four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace after at least four holidaymakers were diagnosed with Covid-19.
Spanish authorities have since said the risk of infection for any Britons staying at the hotel was low, although Public Health England (PHE) advised anyone travelling back to self-isolate until March 10.
It comes amid reports that a fifth man at the hotel has tested positive.
As of 9am on Saturday, more than 10,000 people in the UK had been tested for coronavirus.
The number of people sickened by the virus has climbed to more than 86,000 globally and there have been more than 2,900 deaths, most of them in China.
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