Coronavirus: 48 new cases confirmed in UK's biggest daily jump - taking total to 164

Sunita Patel-Carstairs, news reporter
The government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said ministers are considering "more extreme" action

Forty-eight new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK over the last 24 hours, taking the total number to 164.

Health officials said 20,338 people have now been tested in Britain, with 20,175 confirmed as being negative.

The increase in cases comes as a second person in the UK has died after contracting coronavirus.

And the number released by the Department of Health was 47 new cases on Friday - but another case has since been confirmed in Northern Ireland.

Five new cases have also been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, taking the number there to 18.

The number of confirmed and suspected cases globally passed 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the outbreak. It says there have been more than 3,400 deaths.

The government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said ministers were considering "more extreme" action including the isolation of whole households during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sir Patrick, who is helping to coordinate the UK's response to the COVID-19 virus, told Sky News: "Self-isolation is possibly usually within houses, it means that you stay in your room, you get things delivered to it and stay there for 14 days.

"Household isolation would mean the household - that's obviously a more extreme move."

But he stressed it is "important these measures aren't taken too early".

Sir Patrick confirmed the government is preparing to move to the "delay" stage of its four-phase approach to tackling the disease, adding a UK outbreak would likely take 12 weeks to peak and maybe "another 12 weeks to go away again".

The four stages of UK's coronavirus response:

In its 27-page plan to deal with a major outbreak, the government said in a worst case scenario up to 80% of the population could become infected, with people hospitalised with pneumonia and a relatively high death rate among the elderly and frail.

However, Sir Patrick said he expected it "to be less than that". He described coronavirus as "very infectious" and "more dangerous than flu", but added it was a "million miles" from diseases such as ebola.

"For 98-99% of people, this is going to be a mild illness," he said.

"For a smaller number this can turn into a serious pneumonia. And for a smaller number again this can lead to death, particularly in the elderly and those who have got other co-existing medical problems," he added.

On Thursday, a woman in her 70s became the first person in the UK to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

A church in Devon has been closed after a parishioner was diagnosed with coronavirus, while the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna temple, near Watford, closed its doors after a member tested positive.

Also, Facebook is closing its London offices until Monday and telling staff to work from home after an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The worker who was diagnosed with the virus was normally based in Singapore, the company told Sky News, but had visited the London offices between 24-26 February.

Hand-washing remains the central advice - but the government has also said it would consider closing schools, encourage working from home and the reduction of large-scale gatherings to slow the spread of the disease.

People should wash their hands for 20 seconds and use soap and water or hand sanitiser - and cough or sneeze into tissues.

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In other developments:

Virus Outbreak: Global Emergency - Watch a special Sky News programme on coronavirus at 6pm weekdays