Three new UK coronavirus cases confirmed including the first patient in Wales

Three more people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total to 19.

One patient in Swansea, Wales, and two in England have been diagnosed, officials have announced today.

The case in Wales is the first for the country, with the total number of cases in England rising to 17 and one recorded in Northern Ireland.

It emerged last night that overstretched hospitals here in the UK would be forced to treat only the patients most likely to survive should the virus take hold.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The NHS would find it hard to cope if the pandemic took off.”

Mr Hunt, who chairs the Health Select Committee, said: “Even the NHS would find it hard to cope if the pandemic really did take off as hospital beds would soon fill up.

"There would also be a severe knock-on effect on waiting times for other treatments.”

Both new cases in England contracted the virus in Iran, England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said.

Prof Whitty said: "The virus was passed on in Iran and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres at the Royal Free Hospital.

"The total number of cases in England is now 17.

"Following confirmed cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, the total number of UK cases is 19."

Wales' chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said: "I can confirm that one patient in Wales has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

"All appropriate measures to provide care for the individual and to reduce the risk of transmission to others are being taken.

"I can also confirm that the patient had travelled back to Wales from Northern Italy, where the virus was contracted.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to assure the public that Wales and the whole of the UK is well prepared for these types of incidents.

"Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public."

Public Health Wales said medics were trying to trace people who had been in close contact with the patient.

Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for the Covid-19 outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: "Public Health Wales is working hard to identify close contacts, and we are taking all appropriate actions to reduce any risk to the public's health.

"The public can be assured that Wales and the whole of the UK is well prepared for these types of incidents.

"Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public."

Plans have emerged showing NHS patients could be denied care if intensive care units struggled to cope with a severe coronavirus outbreak.

Under the “three wise men” protocol, senior consultants at hospitals overwhelmed with patients would give priority to those most likely to survive and recover, and ration equipment such as beds and ventilators.

The scheme, developed after the 2009 swine flu pandemic, is still reportedly included in the plans of several NHS trusts.

Waits for treatments are already at record highs after 10 years of Tory austerity and with staff vacancies going unfilled.

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