Coronavirus: 87 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in UK after biggest daily jumpNachelle Geronimo
Coronavirus: 87 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in UK after biggest daily jump.
England’s chief medical officer tells Sky News a serious UK coronavirus outbreak is “almost certain” with “some deaths” expected.
A coronavirus testing pod has been set up at Antrim Area Hospital in Northern Ireland.
The UK has seen its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases, with 87 people now confirmed to have the virus.
Thirty-six new patients in the UK have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, it was announced on Wednesday – with 32 in England, two in Scotland and two in Northern Ireland.
The Department of Health said three of the new cases in England contracted the virus in the UK, raising fears that community transmission may now be taking hold.
It comes after England’s chief medical officer told Sky News that a serious coronavirus outbreak in Britain is “almost certain” with “some deaths” expected.
The list of new UK coronavirus cases include:
- Three people in Trafford, Greater Manchester, who had all recently travelled to northern Italy
- Two people from Carlisle who had also recently returned from northern Italy. One is a member of healthcare staff at the Cumberland Infirmary
- Two Scottish patients from the Grampian and Ayrshire areas. One had travelled to northern Italy and the other had contact with a person who was known to have COVID-19
- Two people in Northern Ireland including one who had travelled from northern Italy. The other had recent contact with a person in the UK with COVID-19. Queen’s University Belfast confirmed one of the cases was “within the university”
- Two people in South Ribble, Lancashire, who had recently travelled to Italy and were isolating themselves at home
- Two patients at Kings College Hospital in south London
- A person in Newcastle who tested positive for COVID-19
- A patient who was admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester
- A case in Liverpool, according to the city’s mayor Joe Anderson
- A person in Oldham, Greater Manchester, who was infected while in northern Italy
- A visitor to Goldsmiths, University of London, according to an email sent to students
Of the 87 cases in the UK, there are 80 in England, three in Scotland, three in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.
Four new cases were also confirmed in the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, bringing the total in the country to six. The new cases – two males and two females – had travelled from northern Italy and were reported to be members of the same family.
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, who has been helping to coordinate the government’s planning for a potential COVID-19 epidemic, highlighted a six-week window in which the UK’s action could be stepped up.
He said the disease was spreading significantly across the world, including Europe, so it was unlikely the UK would “escape” a major hit, which he said could last for up to several months.
“With all epidemics, what happens is they start off very slowly and then they gradually gather momentum and then they suddenly go up relatively fast,” he told Sky News’ Kay Burley@Breakfast show.
“[It’s] almost certain there will be more cases in the UK, probably a lot more cases… and we would expect some deaths.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday about the international response to the coronavirus outbreak, Downing Street said.
Mr Johnson had earlier announced new sick pay changes so that anyone self-isolating due to coronavirus is paid from day one rather than day four as current rules state.
He told MPs that people who self-isolate are “helping to protect all of us by slowing the spread of the virus”.
In a worst-case scenario, it said up to 80% of the population could become infected, with people hospitalised with pneumonia and a relatively high death rate among the elderly and frail.
Police could be reduced to dealing with very serious crimes only, and the army drafted in, if necessary, to maintain public order, according to the plan.
The government has said it would consider closing schools, encourage working from home and the reduction of large-scale gatherings to slow the spread of the disease.
Non-urgent medical procedures could also be postponed, should the NHS be closed to all but those in need of critical care.
Prof Whitty said such procedures would only be delayed in the event of a “coronavirus epidemic wave”.
He added that a face mask was only really useful to people who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19, for stopping the spread of infection.
A letter to NHS trusts has been published telling them to ramp up their plans for tackling the virus, including seeing patients via video-link.
People should wash their hands for 20 seconds and use soap and water or hand sanitiser, with the adverts stressing the importance of coughing or sneezing into tissues.
A woman told Sky News she has stockpiled food, medicine and surgical masks due to fears about coronavirus.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she had been on “high alert” for several weeks, adding: “I don’t think I agree with panic buying, it’s disruptive for people, but it is really important people stock up with things in their house for at least two weeks.”
However, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said earlier this week that “there is absolutely no reason to be doing any panic buying of any sort or going out and keeping large supplies of things”.
On Tuesday, NHS England declared coronavirus a level four incident – the highest level of emergency preparedness planning.
Under the level four alert, all hospitals in England have been told to “assume that they will need to look after COVID-19 cases in due course”.
In other global developments:
- 107 people in Italy have died in Europe’s biggest outbreak, as the country considers closing all schools, universities, cinemas, theatres and most public events until mid-March. All sporting events will be played behind closed doors until April
- Iran announced 92 people have died from coronavirus
- The quarantined dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong could be the first case of human-to-animal transmission, animal health experts said
- The World Health Organisation said about 3.4% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 have died
- The World Bank announced an initial $12bn (£9.3bn) to assist countries grappling with the health and economic impacts of the outbreak
- Scientists in China studying the outbreak say they have found that two main strains of the virus are circulating in humans and causing infections
- More than 94,000 confirmed and suspected cases have been recorded globally, including more than 3,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the outbreak.
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