Coronavirus: Sixth person dies in UK as confirmed cases rise to 382

·4-min read

A sixth person has died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, with the number of confirmed cases rising to 382.

There were 54 new cases in the 24 hours to 9am on Tuesday morning.

By comparison, 46 new cases of COVID-19 - the disease caused by coronavirus - were identified in the 24 hours to 9am on Monday morning.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the latest man who died was being cared for at Watford General Hospital.

"The patient, who died in the evening of Monday 9 March, was in his early 80s and had underlying health conditions," the trust said in a statement.

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

Regionally, there are now 15 people infected with coronavirus in Wales, 16 in Northern Ireland and 27 in Scotland. The number in England is 324. A total of 26,261 people have been tested across the UK.

Health authorities in Ireland said a further 10 cases had been confirmed there - taking the total to 34.

Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London said a health worker in its cardiology department had tested positive for COVID-19, and it was cancelling some non-essential cardiac operations for two weeks.

Anyone who came into close contact with the person is "being informed and will be offered advice" and "all essential treatment is being carried out".

The Independent Food Aid Network said some food banks were starting to run out of basics because of stockpiling and a fall in donations since the outbreak began.

Dr Jenny Harries, England's deputy chief medical officer, said the start of a peak of cases could come in the next 10 to 14 days, and that people with symptoms would then be advised to self-isolate.

The son of a 60-year-old man who died on Sunday, about a week after returning from northern Italy, said his father became unwell "instantly".

He told the BBC it was difficult to believe because "two months ago this thing didn't even exist and it took away my father".

Jonathan Evans, lead biomedical scientist at Wales' COVID-19 testing centre in Cardiff, said the outbreak was the "fastest evolving situation" of his career.

"We're routinely looking at around 50 cases a day, but we're all aware that number is going to increase significantly over the next few weeks," he added.

The latest cases in Northern Ireland are connected to recent travel to northern Italy.

Chief medical officer Michael McBride said it was a question of "when, not if, we see community transmission (here)".

Anyone returning to Britain from any part of Italy since Monday is advised to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people - even if they have no symptoms.

The Department of Health said the same applied to anyone coming back from Iran in the last 14 days, from Hubei province in China in the last fortnight, and from Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last two weeks.

It takes five days for COVID-19 symptoms to show, according to a major new scientific study.

British Airways and Ryanair are to suspend all flights to and from Italy after the entire nation was placed in lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The country has recorded 10,149 cases of Covid-19, and 631 deaths.

An easyJet spokesman said on Tuesday evening that it was in the "process of cancelling all of its existing scheduled flights touching Italy between 10 March and 3 April", adding that it would be "operating some rescue flights in the coming days".

An Italian doctor at the heart of the crisis has said it was like relentless war.

Globally, there are more than 118,000 confirmed cases, and over 4,200 deaths, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University. The worldwide peak will happen next winter, a scientific model has predicted.

The Foreign Office said it was in contact with Britons in Vietnam after seven UK citizens were said to be among nine new cases on board the same flight from London to Hanoi on 2 March.

Trinity College Dublin and Harvard University in Massachusetts said they were moving lessons online.

Earlier, Dr Harries told Sky News that the UK will see "many thousands of people" contract coronavirus.

Speaking to Sky's Kay Burley@Breakfast, she said there would be "significant numbers in a way which I think the country is not used to".

She added: "So, large numbers of the population will become infected, but because it's a naive population, nobody has got antibodies to this virus currently.

"Having said that, 99% of those will almost certainly get better and most people will have a really quite mild disease and will not need to be in hospital. [They] can be managed very safely and appropriately at home.

"The important thing for us is to make sure that we manage those infections and make sure that those individuals who are most affected - our elderly people, particularly those with chronic underlying conditions - get in touch and get treatment. We [can] support other people in the home environment."

Key coronavirus developments:

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