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No coronavirus cases confirmed in Suffolk as national numbers top 50

PUBLISHED: 17:17 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:17 04 March 2020

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (centre) updated the House of Commons on the national situation  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (centre) updated the House of Commons on the national situation Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Health officials have reported a large increase in coronavirus cases nationally- but Suffolk has continued to avoid the disease.

The Government confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that there were 12 new cases in the UK, bringing the total number of cases within the country to 51.

However, none of these were in Suffolk with all cases having recently travelled to foreign countries affected by the disease.

The closest confirmed case to Suffolk remains over the border in Harlow in Essex.

West Suffolk MP and secretary of state for health and social care. Matt Hancock spoke in the House of Commons to update MPs on the Government's new action plan to tackle the virus.

The plan sets out a nationwide response to the virus with possible measures including the cancellation of non-urgent operations and retired NHS staff being called "back to duty".

The document also sets out possible strategies for delaying the spread of the virus including school closures, "reducing the number of large-scale gatherings" and encouraging greater home working.

The military could also provide support to emergency services if needed, it says.

"We prepare for the worst and work for the best," said Mr Hancock.

"We commit to ensuring that the agencies responsible for tackling this outbreak are properly resourced, have the people, equipment and medicines they need and that any new laws they need are brought forward as and when required.

"This is a national effort. We need everyone to listen to and act on the official medical advice.

"The single most important thing that everyone can do is to use tissues when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands more often."

NHS trusts have also been told to ramp up their preparations for coronavirus patients.

The letter, written by NHS strategic incident director Professor Keith Willett and incident director Stephen Groves, called for trusts to clearly identify a Covid-19 incident management team, led by an accountable emergency officer.

The team will act as a single point of contact for cases within the trusts.

Globally, more than 90,000 cases of the disease have been confirmed, with more than 3,000 deaths.

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