Coronavirus map LIVE: UK outbreak moves to 2nd phase of emergency plan – cases soar to 115

Thursday, March 5, 2020
By Paul Martin

THE number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has soared to 115 as England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned more than a dozen of the patients had recently travelled to virus-hit countries.

Thu, Mar 5, 2020

Seventeen out of the 25 newly diagnosed people had visited “countries or recognised clusters” where Covid-19 has been spreading. The remaining eight patients had been infected in Britain, Prof Whitty said. He said authorities are investigating how these people could have contracted the deadly virus and are looking into whether they came into contact with a person who had recently travelled to an infected area.

Prof Whitty said: “As of 9am this morning 25 further patients in England have tested positive for Covid-19.

“Seventeen were diagnosed who had recently travelled from recognised countries or from recognised clusters which were under investigation.

“Eight patients were identified in the UK where it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad. This is being investigated and contact tracing has begun.

Earlier today, Prof Whitty announced the UK had moved to the second stage of its emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak.

He told the Health and Social Care Committee the UK is “mainly” in the delay phase of the government’s four-stage approach to the crisis.

While the government initially made efforts to contain the spread of the virus – the first step – Prof Whitty said it would be “optimistic” to believe these measures could be successful.

He added: “We have moved from a situation where we are mainly in contain, with some delay built in, to we are now mainly delay.

“We need to be realistic … containing looks pretty optimistic.”

He also outlined his belief that it was “highly likely there is community transmission of the virus in the UK.”

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