UK medics are working "round the clock" to prevent an escalation of coronavirus infections, as fears over the pandemic spread.
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Where have cases of coronavirus been confirmed in the UK?
There have been 1,543 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and 55 deaths in the UK as of Monday, March 16 2020.
It is affecting all corners of the British Isles.
The death of a 59-year-old British male thought to be the youngest coronavirus victim was announced on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
Prior to this, two other Brits died overseas – one in Bali and another in Japan, after being infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Public Health England bosses have now confirmed more cases are "highly likely" in the UK.
The first diagnosed were two members of the same family who were quarantined and treated in Newcastle.
A "super-spreader" in Brighton unwittingly spread the virus after contracting the disease in Singapore.
Here are the confirmed cases in the UK so far:
- March 16 – UK cases go up by 171 in 24 hours to 1,543 and total deaths hit 55
- March 15 – UK Covid-19 fatalities rise to 35, while a total of 1,391 people have tested positive
- March 14 – The death toll in the UK climbs from 11 to 21 with 1,140 infected
- March 13 – Wales confirms 13 cases in 24 hours, bringing the infected total to 798
- March 12 – UK total infected cases passes 500, and the death toll reaches 10
- March 11 – The UK death toll reaches 8. The number of UK cases also rises to a total of 460 – the biggest leap yet.
- March 10 – Sixth UK coronavirus death in the UK is confirmed as a man in his early 80s. He died at Watford general hospital after the total number of cases reached 373. MP Nadine Dorries tests positive to the virus.
- March 9 – Coronavirus cases in the UK reach 319. All final Six Nations games "axed until October".
- March 8 – The number of UK cases jumps to 278, the highest confirmed cases in a single day in Britain, and a man in his 60s is the third patient to have died from the virus.
- March 7 – The total number of cases in the UK reaches 206, with five more people testing positive for the deadly bug in Scotland.
- March 6 – The Department of Health confirmed the deadly bug is spreading at its fastest rate yet as the total people tested positive reach 164
- March 5 – Three tested positive in Scotland. Total cases climbs to 116. It's the biggest 24-hour jump in the UK. First Brit dies of the virus in Berkshire.
- March 4 – The number of cases in the UK jumps to 85 as 29 people who had recently travelled to affected areas were diagnosed.
- March 3 -The number of coronavirus patients in the UK rises to 51. Speaking in the Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 11 new cases had been confirmed in the last 24 hours.
- March 2 – 17 more people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus taking the total number of UK cases to 40. Three of the new cases were linked to the man from Surrey who was the first to be infected within the UK. Eight of the 13 people had visited affected areas including Italy and Iran
- February 28 – Wales confirms its first case and two other English people test positive bringing the total to 19 before the first British person to die of coronavirus is reported in Japan as a passenger on the Diamond Princess Cruise
- February 27 – one person diagnosed with coronavirus in Northern Ireland
- February 23 – Department of Health and Social Care confirm four new cases
- February 12 – woman becomes first coronavirus case confirmed in London bringing the total to nine
- February 10 – four more – three men and a woman – test positive for the killer bug. Two are confirmed as GPs. All were known contacts of Brit businessman Steve Walsh
- February 9 – the fourth person in the UK tests positive and is treated at The Royal Free Hospital, London. The person had come into contact with a known carrier of the illness, Steve Walsh, in France
- February 6 – A Brit businessman diagnosed in Brighton was infected in Singapore and unknowingly became a super-spreader, passing the virus on in France and UK. He was later identified as Steve Walsh
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What precautions is the UK taking against coronavirus?
On March 16 it was announced by researchers at Imperial College London that drastic restrictions will be required for up to 18 months in order to save thousands of live.
The new move came after the Goverment's previous and more relaxed plans to try and "mitigate" the epidemic – but researchers then advised an estimated 260,000 people could have died.
Since then, the PM has ramped up his battle plan.
- All Brits should stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres and cinemas for weeks – and potentially months
- Those who can work from home should
- Over 70s, those who are pregnant and anyone with underlying health conditions should try and not leave home
- People are advised to not visit vulnerable and elderly family and friends – for around 12 weeks
- If one family member shows symptoms then the entire family should stay home for two weeks
- The Government is no longer supporting mass public gatherings
- Schools will remain open for now – but kids with a cough should be sent home
Levelling with a worried nation in a dramatic No10 press conference, Boris said: "Clearly what we’re announcing today is a very substantial change in the way we want people to live their lives, and I can’t remember anything like it in my lifetime.
"I don’t think there’s really been anything like it in peacetime.
"It’s a very considerable, psychological, behavioural change that we’re asking you, we’re asking the public, the nation to do.
"But I’ve absolutely no doubt that we can do it, that we can do it together."
The government says that if you've returned to the UK from the following places, you should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people – "even if you do not have symptoms":
- Anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March
- specific areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days
- Iran in the last 14 days
- Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
- Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days
And, health bosses want people to "stay indoors and avoid contact with others if you've travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, and have a cough, high temperature, or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild":
- Italy (outside of the specific areas in northern Italy) before 9 March
- Mainland China outside of Hubei province
- South Korea outside of Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan
- Hong Kong
Anyone who has returned from overseas and fallen ill with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing should contact NHS 111.
Public Health England told Business Traveller: “We are providing airlines and airport operators with posters and leaflets with the latest advice, symptoms and what to do if passengers get them. These materials are provided in English and nine additional languages from affected areas, and are available at all international airports, ports and international train stations.
“We are testing established arrangements already in place for caring for unwell people arriving at airports to make sure the system is ready locally. We are also providing guidance and briefing to staff, so they know what to expect and how best to respond.”
Public Health England's medical director, Prof Yvonne Doyle, said that washing hands with soap and water is more effective than wearing a face mask, although face masks are important for staff to use in hospitals when dealing with suspected cases.
On March 3, Boris Johnson revealed the government's "battle plan" to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
During a press conference at No10, the British Prime Minister said: "The army is of course always ready as and when, but that is under the worst case scenario."
Contingency plans are in place for anything from a mild pandemic through to a severe prolonged pandemic as experienced in 1918 known as Spanish Flu.
Police could also be told to switch their focus to only tackle "serious crime" if emergency services start to buckle under pressure.
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