Number of coronavirus cases in the UK rises to 14,579 – as death toll reaches 759

Number of coronavirus cases in the UK rises to 14,579 – as death toll reaches 759
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways (Photo: Shutterstock)

The number of deaths in the UK linked to coronavirus currently stands at 759, according to Public Health.

The Department of Health and Social Care also revealed that there were 14,579 confirmed cases of the virus.

A statement from the government department read: “As of 9am 27 March, a total of 113,777 have been tested: 99,198 negative. 14,579 positive.

“As of 5pm on 26 March, of those hospitalised in the UK, 759 have sadly died.

Prime Minister and Health Minister among latest positive cases

The staggering jump in figures came hours after it was revealed that Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock ahd both tested positive for Covid-19.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “After experiencing mild symptoms yesterday, the Prime Minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty.

“The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive.

“In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.

“He is continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus.”

Public must not take foot off the pedal in collective effort to defeat cornavirus

The new figures were announced a day after Dr Jenny Harries warned that we were only just starting to see the difference of social distancing in stemming the flow of the disease.

“And the reason for this is we are only just starting to see a bite in the interventions of social distancing that have been put in place, it would be far too early to predict that,” she said.

“I think we are starting to see some helpful movement.

“What we would be looking for is a change in the slope, rather than it being a very steep curve upwards we would be looking for it to be a gentler slope but we must not take out foot off the pedal.

“People have been really co-operative and I think in the last few days the public have really understood that this is something very serious and their actions wherever they are will save lives.

“So, it’s too early to say yet but starting to move in the right direction.”

Coronavirus
These are the symptoms of coronavirus (Photo WHO)

Coronavirus: the facts

What is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What caused coronavirus?

The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.

How is it spread?

As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But, similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. Therefore, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath – but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat. It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.

What precautions can be taken?

Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.

Government advice

As of Monday 16 March the government advised that everyone should be observing social distancing – avoiding unnecessary travel and working from home where possible. Anyone with a cough or cold symptoms now needs to self-isolate with their entire household for 14 days.

The government has now instructed bars, restaurants and theatres to close and will review on a ‘month to month’ basis. Schools closed from Friday 20 March for the foreseeable future, and exams have been cancelled.

The over 70s or anyone who is vulnerable or living with an underlying illness are being asked to be extra careful and stay at home to self-isolate.

For more information on government advice, please check their website.

Should I avoid public places?

The advice now is to avoid public places and any non-essential travel. Travel abroad is also being advised against for the next 30 days at least, and many European countries have closed their borders.

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Don’t go to your GP but instead call NHS 111 or look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next.

When to call NHS 111

NHS 111 should be used if you feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms, have been in a country with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days or if you have been in close contact with someone with the virus.

Sources: World Health Organisation and NHS