| 8.4°C Belfast

Coronavirus: At least 36 people in UK have died

Across the UK, 1,543 people have now tested positive for Covid-19, up from 1,372 at the same time on Sunday.


A sign on the A194 in South Shields warns motorists of the symptoms of coronavirus (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A sign on the A194 in South Shields warns motorists of the symptoms of coronavirus (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A sign on the A194 in South Shields warns motorists of the symptoms of coronavirus (Owen Humphreys/PA)

At least 36 people have now died in the UK after being diagnosed with coronavirus, after Wales confirmed its first death.

The patient, who was in their sixties and had underlying health conditions, died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Across the UK, 1,543 people have now tested positive for Covid-19, up from 1,372 at the same time on Sunday. However, many thousands more are estimated to have been infected.

It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to hold a televised press conference on Monday following an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will update MPs in the Commons.

In other developments:

– Pulse magazine reported that some GP practices have been supplied with expired face masks that have concealed “best before” stickers.

– A British man is seriously ill with Covid-19 in Vietnam, where he is on a ventilator to help him breathe, Vietnamese media has reported.

– Children who develop a continuous cough or fever at school should be sent home with suspected coronavirus, new guidance says.

– The universal free TV licence for over-75s will end on August 1 instead of June 1, because of the coronavirus outbreak, the BBC announced.

– Downing Street said it does not expect eight million people to be hospitalised with coronavirus, as it discussed a leaked Public Health England (PHE) briefing document.

– Transport for London said passenger numbers have declined.

– Mr Hancock said there had been an “enthusiastic response” to the Government’s request for factories to aid in the production of additional ventilators.

– Six care home residents at Highgate Care Home, near Uddingston, North Lanarkshire, have tested positive for the virus.

– Flight schedules have been slashed by British Airways’ parent company IAG and easyJet. Virgin is also making cuts.

– New York City closed the US’s largest public school system on Monday, sending more than 1.1 million children home.

– Travel company Tui said it was suspending the vast majority of all travel operations until further notice, including package travel, cruises and hotel operations.

– A second British MP, Kate Osborne, Labour MP for Jarrow, in north-east England, said she has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

– Lead singer of The Killers, Brandon Flowers, posted a video on social media showing him washing his hands while singing Mr Brightside.

– The Braemar cruise ship which currently has 667 Britons on board is to set sail for Cuba, where all guests will be “repatriated back to the UK by air”, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said.

– A petition for all doctors and nurses in the UK to be tested for coronavirus if they show symptoms has gained thousands of signatures.

Total coronavirus-related deaths
(PA Graphics)

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is meeting school leaders on Monday to discuss the implications of school closures and exams being postponed, while Environment Secretary George Eustice is holding a conference call with food suppliers and supermarkets regarding continuity of supply.

There has also been confusion over exactly what elderly people will be asked to do going forward, after Mr Hancock said on Sunday they will be asked to stay at home for a very long time.

On Monday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people over the age of 70 will be asked to self-isolate “as and when the moment is right” – but that they would still be able to go outside and “walk the dog”.

He said: “We will ask people to do that as and when the moment is right.”

He said it is “quite likely” that elderly people would have to self-isolate for months, but added: “It is the case that people will be able to go out and walk the dog. It’s about being sensible, but not mixing in crowds.”

But Scotland’s national clinical director said elderly people across the UK will not be asked to stay at home.

Coronavirus cases in Europe
(PA Graphics)

Professor Jason Leitch said this group will be asked to reduce social contact, but family visits from people without symptoms will not be banned.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he addressed concerns about the apparent variation in advice from the Scottish and UK Governments.

Earlier, Scotland’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said Scotland is not planning on isolating the over-70s.

Mr Leitch said parts of the UK are in “lock-step”, adding: “We will almost certainly, as a four-country UK, we will move to a position in the next few weeks where we will ask those groups (the over-70s and those with pre-existing conditions) to not stay at home in the social isolation way that we are telling the symptomatic to do so, but to reduce their social contact.”

He added: “It might be mosques, it might be churches, it might be bingo – and pubs.

“What we are not suggesting, unlike those with symptoms, is that those people would cut off family contact and not be able to receive visitors.

“In fact, quite the opposite, we expect family contact to increase in that group so that those people will be looked after. The last thing that we want is four months of loneliness.

“They are not going to be asked to stay at home, they are going to be asked to reduce social contact and to be careful and to use common sense.”

He added that school closures are “not inevitable”, as this measure does not help with the spread of the virus.

He added it might be appealing to close schools and colleges, “shut the border, hunker down… and reopen in two weeks’ time”, but added: “It doesn’t work.

“The science suggests the virus will be there. So when you reopen, the vulnerable will be hit again and your spike will just be later.”

Mr Johnson will be joined by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance at the Monday press briefing.

Some in the scientific community have criticised the Government for taking a slower and more relaxed response to the pandemic than other countries.

About 170,000 people have been infected by Covid-19 across the world and more than 6,500 have died.