Coronavirus: UK cases surge to 798 after PM's speech to 'delay' the spread

13 March 2020, 14:11 | Updated: 13 March 2020, 14:30

It comes after the UK officially moved into 'delay' phase of its response to virus
It comes after the UK officially moved into 'delay' phase of its response to virus. Picture: PA

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has risen to 798 from 590 - a rise of 208 in the largest day-on-day increase since the start of the outbreak.

A total of ten people have lost their lives to the virus, the department of health said.

It comes a day after Boris Johnson announced the UK had officially moved into the "delay" phase of the government's response to the spread of COVID-19.

The second phase, which seeks to push back the timing that the number of UK cases hits its peak, was introduced after it proved impossible to contain the disease.

In a statement on Thursday, the prime minister introduced a number of measures that included self-isolating for seven days if you show any symptoms of the illness, and to advise the elderly with serious health issues to avoid travelling on cruise ships.

READ MORE: [Live] Government response will have 'big impact' on public

But the measures, which appeared far less stringent than the school, workplace and border closures adopted in other countries, came under criticism over the strength of the country's response.

In an interview with LBC, the UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said schools would need to be shut "for many months" instead of just a few weeks to make a difference.

He said it was also unclear if any children have transmitted the illness and that most experience only mild Covid-19 symptoms.

READ MORE: All professional English football called off due to Covid-19

READ MORE: Prime Minister confirms he is not closing schools

Speaking to Sky News, Sir Vallance also said around 60% of the population would need to be infected with the virus to develop "herd immunity".

Meanwhile on Friday, several huge sporting associations took it upon themselves to postpone a number of events due to the panedemic.

The English Football League and Premier League announced it would be postponing all fixtures until the beginning of April.

UEFA said it would be postponing all matches in the next week, including Champions League and Europa League games.

As a result, the quarter-final draws for the two competitions will also be postponed.

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