Twelve more people test positive for coronavirus in the UK

1 March 2020, 13:51 | Updated: 1 March 2020, 15:14

12 further people have been diagnosed in the UK
12 further people have been diagnosed in the UK. Picture: PA

Twelve more people have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 35, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said.

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."

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.

On isolating entire cities, as Chinese authorities did with Wuhan, Mr Hancock said: "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 Republic of Ireland reported its first case on Saturday while a staff member at an infant school in Berkshire was confirmed to be a Covid-19 patient.

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.

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".

A joint statement from Bury Council and Public Health England confirmed a resident of Bury, Greater Manchester, was infected whilst in Italy.

Dr Will Welfare, interim deputy director of health protection for Public Health England North West, said: "Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with one of the latest confirmed cases of Covid-19.

"The case is a resident of Bury and became infected whilst in Italy. They are receiving care at an NHS specialist centre.

"Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case.

"This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public."

Director of public health for Bury Council Lesley Jones said: "I'd like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and Bury Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Bury are protected."

Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health Jim McManus said two of the cases confirmed on Sunday were in Hertfordshire.

It follows another patient identified in the county on Saturday.

In a statement, he said: "These new cases of coronavirus are nothing unexpected.

"We fully anticipate an increase in numbers which is why our services have planned for, and are ready for, this situation."

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