9.52am EST 09:52 My colleague Nicola Slawson has written a story about a letter that was sent to over 7,000 GP surgeries in England, informing them that NHS England will provide personal protective equipment to help staff deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Updated at 9.54am EST 9.34am EST 09:34 Virologist Chris Smith, presenter of the
My colleague Nicola Slawson has written a story about a letter that was sent to over 7,000 GP surgeries in England, informing them that NHS England will provide personal protective equipment to help staff deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Virologist Chris Smith, presenter of the BBC radio talk show The Naked Scientists, told the BBC in a Q&A with members of the public that, at the moment, the level of circulation of coronavirus in the community in the UK was “extremely low”, and thus the risk of catching it currently “remains extremely low”.
Smith said there was a very low chance of getting infected with coronavirus via items such as parcels.
Asked whether the new coronavirus could mutate quickly into new, even more aggressive forms, meaning that patients would likely not enjoy immunity even after they had it, Smith said that, judging from currently available observations about the outbreak, Covid-19 was thankfully changing shape “only very slowly”.
He added that asthma sufferers taking steroids, which compromise the immune system, should take active steps to avoid catching coronavirus because they are at increased risk of developing severe illness. This was easier said than done, he admitted.
Toys for small children could be cleaned very effectively in the dishwasher, Smith advised.
UK cases up to 206
British health officials say the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has risen from 164 to 206, an increase of 42 from Friday.
So far in Britain, two patients who had been confirmed as being infected with the virus have died, the health ministry and the Public Health England agency said.
The Department of Health said more than 21,000 people had been tested for the virus. “As of 7am on 7 March 2020, 21,460 people have been tested in the UK, of which 21,254 were confirmed negative and 206 were confirmed as positive.”
Around 70 people were left trapped after a hotel used to quarantine people who have had recent contact with coronavirus patients collapsed in Quanzhou, eastern China, officials said.
The Xinjia Hotel collapsed around 7.30pm local time (11.30am GMT) and around 23 people had been rescued by 9pm, according to a city government statement reported by AFP, with rescue efforts ongoing.
The 80-room hotel was recently converted to a quarantine facility for people who had recent contact with coronavirus patients, the People’s Daily state newspaper reported.
Five more people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Scotland, with a total of 16 now confirmed.
Two new cases, confirmed on Saturday by the Scottish government, have been reported in Lanarkshire, with an increase of one case each in the Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Grampian areas.
The increase matches the jump seen in Scotland on Friday, the biggest in a single day since the first Scottish case was reported the previous Sunday. In total, 1,664 of the 1,680 tests in Scotland have come back negative.
The England cricket team’s head coach, Chris Silverwood, has said he is following the lead of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp by referring questions over medical advice to experts.
Seemingly, doctors have instructed the cricketers to keep their distance from members of the media in Sri Lanka as part of precautions against the coronavirus.
There has been only one recorded case on the island to date, but the squad are taking a proactive approach, with all players and backroom staff provided with an ”immunity pack” for the Test tour, including hand sanitiser, sterilising wipes and nasal sprays, PA Media has reported. Handshakes have also been replaced by fist bumps.
Post-match interviews on tour often take the form of pitch-side huddles but when Silverwood emerged to speak to two journalists after the opening day of the warm-up match in Katunayake, he did so while standing behind a blue table. The measure is designed to establish a buffer zone of around two metres.
“I’m taking Jürgen Klopp’s lead here – I’m not a doctor, so we do what we’re told and follow the advice,” he said, referring to the Klopp’s comments earlier this week that journalists should ask experts about medical issues, not sportspeople.
“We’re all in the same boat and we do our best to be as vigilant as possible,” said Silverwood.
David and Sally Abel, the British couple diagnosed with coronavirus onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, remain unable to return to the UK after their latest test came back positive.
They were taken to a Japanese hospital from the cruise liner following a positive diagnosis of both the virus and pneumonia, after spending almost two weeks in quarantine in their cabin.
In order to leave the hospital, both need three negative test results. Both had been tested twice previously – and the result had been negative – but during the most recent and final test, David Abel’s response came back positive.
David Abel, who has been filming a YouTube video diary of his experiences, said:
Sally is now negative but is staying in Japan. Sally is now totally all clear, good to return to the UK. But she won’t because I have had a positive. This is what happens.
I have now got to go back to square one. I have another test on Monday. That is more than likely going to be negative.
They have agreed to allow her to remain here so we can be company for one another. She won’t get reinfected because we have got the same strain. Her immune system is now really well established. So it’s the waiting game.
The doctor, I think he was surprised. I think everyone else was expecting a negative.
Confirmed cases in the Netherlands have risen by 60 to 188, health officials have said, after the country reported its first fatal case on Friday.
The National Institute for Public Health said that most of the cases could be traced back to people who had recently travelled, mostly from northern Italy. In 29 cases, the path of infection was still being investigated.
Elsewhere, in New South Wales, Australia, two more people have tested positive – bringing the day’s number to eight and the state’s total to 36 cases.
The two new cases are a man in his 60s who recently returned from Italy and a second man in his 40s who is a known close contact of a previously confirmed case.
In need of some light relief? Here’s a montage of inventive new greetings designed to avoid the risk of passing coronavirus.
And here’s something a little longer, on the man caring for cats left alone in Wuhan.
Diamond Princess death toll rises to seven
A former passenger of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who was infected with coronavirus has died, bringing the death toll from the ship to seven, Japanese public broadcaster NHK has said.
The passenger, a man from outside Japan, died on Friday, according to Reuters.