NEWS
01/03/2020 13:47 GMT | Updated 02/03/2020 08:41 GMT

Thirteen New Coronavirus Cases Confirmed In UK

Three of the fresh cases were transmitted in the UK as Boris Johnson says the NHS has a "great plan".

Twelve more people in England have tested positive for novel coronavirus, and Scotland confirmed its first case, as Boris Johnson said the government was prepared for the spread of the disease to continue.

The latest cases bring the total number in the UK to 36 – of which 33 have been found in England. 

One of the patients, from Essex, had no relevant travel and it is not yet known how they contracted the virus – the second such known case in England. 

Three of the patients in England were close contacts of a known case and were transmitted in the UK.

A Tayside resident who recently travelled from Italy became the first person in Scotland to be diagnosed with coronavirus, the Scottish Government said. 

Speaking to at a Public Health England centre in Colindale, north London, the prime minister said he was “very, very confident” that the NHS is able to cope with an outbreak of coronavirus.

“As you know, we’ve found about 35 people in this country who have, or have had, the illness,” Boris Johnson said.

“And clearly there may be more, that’s likely to spread a bit more, and it’s vital therefore that people understand that we do have a great plan, a plan to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

PA
Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service in north London.

“And I am very, very confident that in the NHS we have the professionals who will be well able to cope with it.”

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said on Sunday that investigations were ongoing as to whether the patient from Essex had contracted it “directly or indirectly” from an individual who had recently travelled abroad.

Of the eight remaining cases, six had recently travelled from Italy, while two had been in Iran.

These patients are from London, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire.

One of the confirmed cases is in Bury, according to Bury Council, which said the patient had been taken to a specialist NHS infection centre.

The total number of confirmed cases in England is now 33. Following previously reported confirmed cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, the total number of UK cases is 35.

All of the newly identified cases are being investigated and health officials have begun tracing anyone who had close contact with them.

As of 9am on Sunday, more than 11,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK – with 36 confirmed as positive.

It comes after the health secretary conceded it was “inevitable” that the deadly virus would continue to spread across the UK.

Matt Hancock did not rule out following China’s lead in shutting down cities if the Covid-19 outbreak escalates, as he outlined a new “battle plan” by the government on Sunday.

MORE: Coronavirus ‘Battle Plan’ Announced As Confirmed Cases Escalate Worldwide

On isolating entire cities, as Chinese authorities did with Wuhan, Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: “There is clearly a huge economic and social downside to that.

“But we don’t take anything off the table at this stage because you have to make sure you have all the tools available if that is what is necessary.”

The Republic of Ireland reported its first case on Saturday, while staff members at two separate schools in England were confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19.

On Sunday, St Mary’s School in Tetbury confirmed that a case identified the day before in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, was a member of staff.

Meanwhile, a staff member at an infant school in Berkshire was confirmed to have tested positive on Saturday.

In an email, Willow Bank Infant School headteacher Michelle Masters urged parents to “remain calm and follow the recommended hygiene procedures”.

A pub in Haslemere, Surrey, has been closed until further notice for deep cleaning after a customer “tested positive for coronavirus”.

A patient in the county was confirmed as the first to catch the illness within the UK on Friday.

The landlords of the Prince of Wales pub said on Facebook that they had no symptoms of the virus and that it was a “precautionary measure only”.

ALSO: Schools Could Be Closed And Football Matches Cancelled If Coronavirus Gets Worse, Health Secretary Says

On Sunday, the Department of Health and Social Care announced every department will have a ministerial lead on the virus, and a cross-Whitehall “war room” is being set up to roll out an enhanced public information campaign.

Emergency powers designed to restrict Covid-19 if it becomes endemic, due to be announced this week, would only be “temporary”, said Hancock.

He confirmed that “population distancing measures”, such as banning public gatherings and cancelling football matches, could be considered by the government, while closing schools may be “necessary”.

He added the NHS was ready to deal with further cases of coronavirus, with more than 5,000 emergency critical care beds available.

Elsewhere in the world, Italy says coronavirus infections in the country have jumped by 40% to 1,576, and the number of deaths has risen to 34.