UK coronavirus cases rise to 319 as 46 more people found to have killer disease

UK coronavirus cases have risen again as 46 more people were confirmed the have the killer disease – bringing the total up to 319.

The Department of Health said a total of 24,960 people have been tested with 24,641 negative results.

Three patients have died after testing positive for the illness.

Public Health England (PHE) will continue to trace close contacts of anybody diagnosed with Covid-19 in the containment phase, advising them to self-isolate at home to delay the spread of the virus.

Moving to the next delay stage would mean that social distancing measures – such as restricting public gatherings and more widespread advice to stay at home – could be brought in.

Coronavirus continues to sweep the globe, with more than 110,000 people infected worldwide.

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It came as office-based Transport for London (TfL) worker has tested positive for coronavirus .

The employee works at TfL's Palestra House office in Southwark.

A TfL spokeswoman said: "We are working closely with Public Health England and are following their advice after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

"The safety of our staff and customers is our top priority, so we are taking all necessary precautions and a deep clean has taken place within the building used by the staff member."

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TfL did not reveal what role the person has, but Palestra House is where it monitors London's roads and controls the Tube network.

Some Londoners are wearing face masks when they travel on trains and buses amid concern that the virus can be easily transmitted on public transport.

It emerged on Friday that two British Airways baggage handlers had tested positive for Covid-19.
The men are based at Heathrow Airport, west London.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has beeen updated on the coronavirus outbreak as he chaired a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra.

He was expected to tell senior ministers, the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser that tackling the outbreak will require a "national and international effort".

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The committee assessed possible measures should the UK officially move from the "contain" to the "delay" phase of the Government's battle plan to deal with Covid-19.

Mr Johnson was expected to tell those in attendance: "The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the UK and around the world.

"We are well prepared and will continue to make decisions to protect the public based on the latest scientific advice.

"Tackling coronavirus will require a national and international effort. I am confident the British people are ready to play their part in that.

"The most valuable thing people can do is wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds."

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Officials are continuing work to accelerate preparations for the delay phase of the Government's plan, including work on the optimum time to introduce further measures, based on scientific evidence.

A formal move to the delay phase would need to be agreed by the chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

However, Prof Whitty told MPs last week that the UK had mainly moved to the delay stage of tackling the virus.

Mr Johnson was updated on the latest scientific advice and modelling over the weekend.

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In other developments, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have activated a specialist unit to counter disinformation about coronavirus.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "Defending the country from misinformation and digital interference is a top priority.

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"As part of our ongoing work to tackle these threats, we have brought together expert teams to make sure we can respond effectively should these threats be identified in relation to the spread of Covid-19.

"This work includes regular engagement with the social media companies, which are well placed to monitor interference and limit the spread of disinformation, and will make sure we are on the front foot to act if required."

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