Eighth patient in UK dies from coronavirus as WHO declares pandemic

11 March 2020, 20:45 | Updated: 11 March 2020, 21:44

A patient died at the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire
A patient died at the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire. Picture: PA

Eight people have now died from coronavirus in the UK, NHS England has confirmed.

Announcements of the two deaths were made just minutes apart, just hours after hours after the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19, which has so far been detected in 114 countries, to be a pandemic.

One of the patients, in their seventies, died in Dudley and the other died in Warwickshire after testing positive for Covid-19.

Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement: "The Trust can confirm that a patient in their 70s being treated for underlying health conditions has died. The patient had tested positive for Covid-19.

"The family has been informed and our condolences and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We will not be commenting further and ask that everybody respects the family's privacy."

Dr Catherine Free, medical director at George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire, said: "The Trust can confirm that an elderly patient being treated for a number of serious underlying health conditions has died. The patient had tested positive for Covid-19.

"The family has been informed and our condolences and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We will not be commenting further and ask that everybody respects the family's privacy."

So far in the UK, 456 people have been tested positive for the virus.

The global death toll for the coronavirus currently stands at 4,29.

118,000 people have also been diagnosed with the disease.

Another British man who was on board the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship the Diamond Princess has also died in Japan.

It was also announced earlier today that a British woman in her fifties has also died from virus whilst in Bali, Indonesia.

Just minutes after the WHO announced Covid-19 was a pandemic, Italy - which has the second highest number of cases of any country - announced the death toll had gone from 631 to 827, with cases now reaching 12,462.

Today, Ireland registered its first deaths from the disease, with nine people confirmed to have perished.

A further four people tested positive in Wales for coronavirus, bringing the total of Welsh cases to 19.

Yesterday, health minister Nadine Dorries became the first MP to be diagnosed with Covid-19, and is self isolating at home.

Making a statement on coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Parliament will be kept open.

Mr Hancock said: "This afternoon the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a global pandemic. I've spoken to the leader of the House and we have had discussions Mr Speaker, and we have resolved that we will keep Parliament open.

"Of course, in some ways this House may have to function differently, but the ability to hold the Government to account and to legislate are as vital in a time of emergency as in normal times - our democracy is the foundation of our way of life."

He added that the Government will continue to work closely with Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, the Lord Speaker and the authorities in both Houses in the coming days and weeks.

Mr Hancock added: "As the leader of the House said in business questions last week the public will expect Parliament to sit and to get on with its job. Our approach will be guided by the best scientific evidence and medical advice and we will take all necessary measures to deal with this outbreak."

He said: "A cross parliamentary group of senior managers meets daily to plan the response to Covid-19 and to ensure business continuity with close input from the Government.

"It is essential that the parliamentary authorities continue this work closely with the Government and in line with medical advice and I commit us to that endeavour."

Mr Hancock said health minister Nadine Dorries has done "exactly the right thing" in following official advice to self-isolate, with MPs wishing her well in her recovery.

He added: "Public Health England has world-class expertise in contact tracing which they initiated as soon as her case was confirmed. They will contact anyone they think may need testing - this will only include those who had close contact.

"The advice of the chief medical officer is close contact is defined as being within two metres of someone who has active symptoms, for more than 15 minutes.

"Those who have not been in close contact with (Ms Dorries) since Thursday have no cause for concern in this case, and anyone who has concern should seek guidance from Public Health England."

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