| 10.7°C Belfast

Johnson to chair emergency coronavirus meeting after UK’s third death

A man in his 60s, with underlying health problems, died at North Manchester General Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

Close

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to chair a Cobra meeting (Peter Summers/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to chair a Cobra meeting (Peter Summers/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to chair a Cobra meeting (Peter Summers/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency meeting of senior ministers to discuss the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis following the UK’s third death linked to the illness.

Public Health England confirmed on Sunday evening that a man in his 60s, with underlying health problems, died at North Manchester General Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

It came on the day that confirmed cases of the virus in the UK reached 278, after more than 23,500 people had been tested.

Mr Johnson will tell a meeting of the Government’s Cobra committee on Monday that tackling the outbreak will require a “national and international effort”.

“I am confident the British people are ready to play their part in that,” he is expected to tell those in attendance.

The committee will assess whether the UK should officially move from the “contain” to the “delay” phase of the Government’s battle plan to deal with coronavirus.

Such a step would require agreement from chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who are due to be at the meeting.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

The high level discussions come as:

– Supermarkets placed restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling, amid reports of people panic-buying in shops.

– The Foreign Office and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was “working intensively” with US authorities on arranging a flight for British nationals on the coronavirus-hit Grand Princess cruise ship due to arrive in Oakland, California, on Monday.

– British tourists were warned to avoid all but essential travel to a swathe of northern Italy under a coronavirus quarantine, including the popular destinations of Milan and Venice.

– Travellers returning from the lockdown areas in northern Italy were advised to self-isolate if they have returned to the UK in the last 14 days, even if have they have no coronavirus symptoms.

– The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport prepared to host a meeting with governing bodies and broadcasters on Monday to discuss how to handle the Covid-19 outbreak’s potential impact on the sporting calendar.

– Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said expert teams had been brought together to tackle the potential spread of “misinformation and digital interference” around coronavirus.

Elsewhere on Monday, Environment Secretary George Eustice will hold further talks with retailers on how to support vulnerable groups who may have to self-isolate.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will also chair a meeting of the House of Commons Commission to discuss Parliament’s response .

Over the weekend, medical experts warned of the pressure being placed on the NHS due to the outbreak.

GP surgeries in Wales are expected to receive packs of protective face masks, gloves and aprons this week to support their treatment of people with suspected coronavirus.

Meanwhile in Italy, around 16 million people have been placed under lockdown as its Covid-19 linked death toll rose to 366.

Extraordinary measures passed by the government have placed restrictions on museums, cinemas, shopping centres and restaurants until the start of April.

The FCO said British nationals are still able to leave Italy without restriction.

Budget airline easyJet said it was cancelling some flights to Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona airports, with further flight reductions expected to come.

PA