UK coronavirus cases double as four more test positive after coming into contact with ‘superspreader’

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has doubled as four more people have tested positive, the Department of Health said.

They were all infected after coming into contact with the UK’s third confirmed coronavirus patient in France, the department added.

The four new patients, which bring the total infected to eight, have been transferred to infectious disease units at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and The Royal Free hospitals in London.

French authorities said on Sunday five Britons, including a nine-year-old child, who were staying in the same chalet in Les Contamines-Montjoie as the third UK coronavirus patient had been diagnosed with the disease.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases.

“They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.”

The latest coronavirus outbreak updates:

  • The global number of deaths is 910, with 908 in China, including an American and a Japanese person
  • A total of 97 people died of coronavirus in China on Sunday – the largest in a single day since the outbreak was detected in mid-December, denting optimism the death control measures are fighting the outbreak
  • On Sunday, 3,062 new virus cases were reported in China – a 15% increase from the day before, bringing the total to 40,171, including 27 foreigners
  • More than 360 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, with two deaths
  • The total number of deaths exceeds the 774 killed by the 2002/3 SARS outbreak
  • Confirmed cases of the new virus vastly exceed the 8,098 infected by SARS

The first people in the UK to test positive for the virus were a student at the University of York and their relative on 31 January, having recently returned from China.

On 6 February, a third person – the first British national – tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.

He is thought to be a “superspreader”, after being infected in Singapore while attending a business meeting then being linked to at least seven confirmed cases in England, France and Spain.

And on 9 February, a fourth person was confirmed as having the virus, having acquired it in the French Alps ski resort of Les Contamines-Montjoie where they had been staying in a chalet with the UK’s third confirmed case.

In Majorca, a British man tested positive for coronavirus after coming into contact with the man in France.

Following the arrival of the UK’s second evacuation flight from Wuhan on Sunday, the government declared on Monday the spread of coronavirus is a “serious and imminent threat” to the British public – giving health professionals legal powers to keep those in supported isolation safe.

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