Latest official coronavirus advice as UK death toll rises to six with 373 cases

The UK has 373 confirmed cases of coronavirus, officials have said today.

A man in his 80s become the sixth person in the UK to die of COVID-19, it was announced earlier.

The patient died last night at Watford General Hospital. He had underlying health conditions.

This came as coronavirus cases in Spain have trebled in recent days, forcing schools to close in Madrid and raising doubts about Britons' holidays.

Meanwhile Britons now face a struggle to get home from Italy amid a lockdown that has led to widespread flight cancellations.

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  • Coronavirus: Sixth UK death from killer infection confirmed as man in his 80s

Ryanair today announced the suspension of its full flight schedule to, from and within Italy.

British Airways has also cancelled all flights to and from Italy today.

The outbreak has led to the cancellation of St Patrick’s Day events across Ireland, including Dublin’s parade, which is the largest in Ireland and attracted an estimated 500,000 last year.

GP and outpatient appointments will be held digitally where possible “with immediate effect” amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Health Secretary has said.

A meeting of the COBRA emergency committee will be held tomorrow and is expected to lock down detail of emergency legislation to fight the spread of the virus.

Sixth UK coronavirus death

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A statement from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust says: "Sadly, we can confirm that a man who was being cared for at Watford General Hospital, and had tested positive for COVID-19, has died.

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

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

Last night it was confirmed that a person in their 70s has become the fifth to die in the UK from the bug.

It came hours after the death of another patient in their 70s from COVID-19.

Travel advice

  • Coronavirus: Great Ormond Street cancels operations after worker tests positive

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising:

  • against all travel to Hubei Province, in China
  • against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. See the latest travel advice for China.
  • against all travel to the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea. See the travel advice for South Korea
  • against all but essential travel to Italy. See the travel advice for Italy

The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks.

Coronavirus cases in Spain double to 1,230 putting Brit holidays in doubt

Coronavirus cases in Spain almost doubled in a single day, forcing schools to close in Madrid and raising doubts about Britons’ holidays.

Spain has the world’s sixth highest total of cases – with more than 1,230 infections and 31 deaths – and its capital is taking drastic measures to prevent it from spreading.

All schools and universities are closing and all methods of public transport, including trains and buses, may be disinfected daily.

With the country’s busy tourist season fast approaching, government of Catalonia, which includes Barcelona, said it is prepared to implement similar measures if it sees a rise in cases.

Where are the latest cases

The latest list of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases, area-by-area, has been released.

Broken down by local authority area, it shows those areas worst hit, and those yet to see any cases.

See  the full updated list

Airlines cancel flights

British Airways said it has cancelled all its flights to and from Italy on Tuesday.

Passengers have complained of being stranded.

Jess Nicholls, 43, an enterprise change consultant, told PA she felt "dumped" by the airline after it notified her by email that her flight from Rome to London would be cancelled.

Ryanair has announced it has cancelled all international flights to and from Italy from Saturday until April 9.

Passengers who need to return home can switch to one of the flights operating up to the end of the day on Friday.

A Ryanair spokesman said: "Ryanair apologises sincerely to all customers for these schedule disruptions, which are caused by national government restrictions and the latest decision of the Italian government to lock down the entire country to combat the Covid-19 virus."

easyJet has announced it is following suit.

An easyJet spokesman said: "Following restrictions implemented by the Italian authorities, easyJet is now in the process of cancelling all of its existing scheduled flights touching Italy between 10 March and 3 April 2020.

"We will be operating some rescue flights in the coming days.

"We are advising affected customers of their options by email and SMS which includes the option of rebooking or requesting a refund.

"We will be operating rescue flights for passengers wishing to travel for essential, work, health or repatriation reasons to and from Italy.

"Rescue flights will be listed on our Latest Travel Information section of the website and customers can book onto these flights via our contact centre or by arriving at the airport as early as possible on the day of departure."

Premier League clubs told to make contingency plans for playing games without fans

Premier League clubs have held talks with broadcasters about streaming matches for free if games have to be played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus outbreak.

League officials were told by the government on Monday that there is “no rationale to close or cancel sporting events as things stand”.

However,  Premier League  clubs have been told to make contingency plans for playing games without fans, and there is a growing feeling that will happen as the disease continues to spread.

And games could be streamed live for free as a result.

'Many thousands' in UK to be infected with deadly virus, says top medic

Brits have been warned to expect 'many thousands' of people in the UK to become infected with the deadly coronavirus.

Public Health England deputy medical director told  Sky News  this morning the UK must brace for the effects of a major outbreak.

Dr Jenny Harries warned the fatality rate will rise, as the UK's death toll climbed to five yesterday.

She told Sky's Kay Burley Breakfast Show: "We will have significant numbers in a way which I think the country is not used to… so large numbers of the population will become infected."

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

Even mildly sick will soon be told to stay home

Members of the public who show “even minor” signs of respiratory tract infections or a fever will soon be told to self-isolate in efforts to help contain the killer bug.

The UK government’s chief medical adviser said the change in advice could happen within the next fortnight.

Under a new approach, people will be asked to self-isolate for seven days after showing even mild symptoms, the UK's chief medical adviser Professor Chris Whitty said.

All intensive care patients will now be tested for the virus – as well as anyone in hospital with a respiratory infection.

In a joint press conference with Prof Whitty in Downing Street, Prime Minister  Boris Johnson  also suggested the elderly and vulnerable could be asked to stay home in the near future, with further steps set out "in the days and weeks ahead".

He said that the more the peak of the spread could be delayed to summer, "the better the NHS will be able to manage".

The UK is currently in the first phase – "containment" – of the government's four-part plan.

Coronavirus symptoms take five days to appear – the three signs to watch for

People who catch the killer coronavirus are symptom-free for an average of five days – almost twice as long as the common cold, new research has found.

Experts are warning the three signs to watch out for are: a cough, a high temperature, and shortness of breath.

But the new findings suggest workmates, family-members and classmates could be at risk for a full working week – before a virus carrier was even aware they had the infection.

The study says infected individuals should expect to begin feeling unwell “within 12 days” – although in rare cases the incubation period can last longer.

'Start of UK peak of coronavirus epidemic expected within two weeks'

The start of the UK peak of the coroanvirus epidemic is expected within the next fortnight, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said.

Dr Jenny Harries defended the Government’s decision to delay closing schools and the introduction of other stringent tactics, saying experts are assessing new cases on an hourly basis to achieve a “balanced response”.

But new measures – including those aimed at protecting the elderly and vulnerable – are expected shortly as cases rise more rapidly across the UK.

A drive-through test site has been opened in Wolverhampton allowing members of the public with a referral to check if they have Covid-19.

The facility has been set up in a city council-owned car park allowing people with referrals from the NHS 111 service to be swabbed for the virus.

Health chiefs have said that directing people to such sites – which are being set up nationwide – rather than hospitals or doctors' surgeries, reduces the risk to the wider public.

People are swabbed while sitting in their vehicle before going home and getting their results, once the sample has been tested.

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