Coronavirus: 67 more UK patients identified bringing total to 273

8 March 2020, 15:25

A woman wears a protective mask in a street in London
A woman wears a protective mask in a street in London. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

Sixty-seven more UK cases of Coronavirus have been identified, bringing the total number of people infected to 273.

It is the biggest daily jump in the number of cases so far as the COVID-19 bug spreads around the country.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that as of 9am on Sunday, 273 people had the virus and that 23,513 people have been tested. Two people in the UK have died from the disease.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that tackling the Covid-19 outbreak needs to be a “national effort.”

He said that many more people may need to self-isolate at home.

A London commuter wears an anti-Coronavirus mask
A London commuter wears an anti-Coronavirus mask. Picture: PA

His remarks came as 30 Britons and two Irish nationals were released from isolation at Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral on Sunday having been given the all-clear from infection.

They were repatriated from Japan last month having been passengers on the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship.

In Italy, more than a quarter of population has been placed in mandatory quarantine as the Government attempts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

A woman in a protective mask on a London bus
A woman in a protective mask on a London bus. Picture: PA

Mr Hancock has set out plans contained in emergency legislation to deal with the impact of the virus.

The Bill, which is likely to go through Parliament by the end of the month, is expected to include measures to allow some court proceedings to be conducted via telephone or video.

Volunteers will be given additional employment safeguards, allowing them to leave their main jobs and temporarily help health and social systems in the event of a widespread pandemic.

In other developments, shoppers at some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets have been forced to ration the sale of certain items to stop panic buying.

Tesco announced it was limiting customer purchases of dry pasta, baked beans, and UHT milk, along with anti-bacterial gels, wipes, sprays and children’s medicine Calpol.

The restriction came into effect yesterday and was extended to online shopping today.

Shoppers have been clearing the shelves at supermarkets around the country amid fears over coronavirus.

Tesco said it was monitoring the situation and told customers that there will be advice given to shoppers in stores and on the Tesco website.

Asda said customers were being limited to two bottles of hand sanitiser per person, but that no other restrictions on food items or toilet paper were in effect.

In Italy, 16 million people have been placed under quarantine in the north of the country because of the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree just after midnight, which affects about 16 million people in the north of Italy, including the Lombardy region and at least 14 provinces in neighbouring regions.

The measures will be in place until April 3.

Mr Conte said: "For Lombardy and for the other northern provinces that I have listed there will be a ban for everybody to move in and out of these territories and also within the same territory.

"Exceptions will be allowed only for proven professional needs, exceptional cases and health issues."

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said today: “Italy should ban all its citizens from travelling to Europe, because we are not able to order such a thing within (the European Union’s borderless area) Schengen.”

On Saturday, Italy saw its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the outbreak began in the north of the country on February 21.

Italy's civil protection agency said the number of people with the coronavirus rose by 1,247 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 5,883. Another 36 people also died as a result of the virus, taking the death toll to 233.