Number of coronavirus cases stays the same in East of England
- Credit: PA
The latest data on the number of coronavirus cases in the East of England show there have been no further confirmed cases - but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described Covid-19 as “the worst public health crisis for a generation” as the Government’s top scientist warned up to 10,000 people in the UK are already infected.
New figures released in the Government's daily update on the virus have shown no increase in the number of people with the virus in our region with the figure remaining at 32.
The data covers the whole of the East of England; which includes Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and a number of other counties.
County by county figures are expected to be released later but there has only been one confirmed case of the disease in Suffolk; the patient had recently returned to the country from Italy.
It is not known who the person is or where they are being treated at this time.
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Ten people are known to have died from the disease in the UK so far.
Latest testing data shows the number of people with the disease in the UK is now 590, including a paramedic with the East of England Ambulance Service although it has not yet been revealed where they are based.
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Mr Johnson today introduced new measures to try and protect the elderly and vulnerable, saying anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, such as a continuous cough or high temperature, must now stay at home for seven days.
In a joint press conference at Downing Street today with Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government's chief scientific adviser, and Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, the PM announced the new advice, which also applies to children, meaning parents could need to take time off to look after their youngsters at home.
The PM said school trips abroad should be stopped, while people aged over 70 with serious medical conditions should not go on cruises.
However Mr Johnson said there was no need to close schools now as the scientific advice 'is that this could do more harm than good'.
But he warned that families should prepare to 'lose loved ones before their time' as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.
'We've all got to be clear, this is the worst public health crisis for a generation,' said the PM.
'Some people compare it to seasonal flu, alas that is not right. Due to the lack of immunity this disease is more dangerous.
'It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public: many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.'
Stressing the need to protect others, Mr Johnson said: 'If you have coronavirus symptoms however mild, either a new continuous cough or a high temperature, then you should stay at home for at least seven days to protect others and help slow the spread of the disease.'
He said the Government was also 'considering the question of banning major public events such as sporting fixtures'.
Even though the science showed it would have little impact, such fixtures placed a burden on public services.
Sir Patrick said the actual number of people infected in the UK at the moment could be between 5,000 and 10,000.
'Currently we are on a trajectory that looks as though it is about four weeks or so behind Italy and some other countries in Europe,' he said, adding that more than 20 people in the UK with the virus were in intensive care units.
The PM spoke as:
- The FTSE 100 closed the day down by more than one 10th as fears over Covid-19 sparked the index's worst bloodbath since 1987
- The Electoral Commission recommended local elections in May be postponed
- First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said mass gatherings over 500 people in Scotland are set to be restricted
- Ireland announced the closure of schools and tourist attractions until the end of the month.
- Hollywood star Tom Hanks announced he and wife Rita Wilson have been diagnosed with coronavirus