| 6.1°C Belfast

Second person in UK dies after testing positive for coronavirus

The man, who had underlying health conditions, died on Thursday while being treated at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

Close

A second person in the UK has died after testing positive for coronavirus (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A second person in the UK has died after testing positive for coronavirus (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A second person in the UK has died after testing positive for coronavirus (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A man in his early eighties has become the second person to die in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus.

The man, who had underlying health conditions, died on Thursday while being treated at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

As of 9am on Friday, 163 people had tested positive for Covid-19 – up from 115 cases reported at the same time on Thursday.

Northern Ireland then confirmed its fourth case later on Friday, bringing the total to 164.

Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust confirmed on Friday night that a man in his early eighties died shortly after testing positive for coronavirus.

In a statement, the trust said: “His family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at what is undoubtedly a difficult and distressing time.

“The hospital continues to work with Public Health England to isolate any patients or staff who had contact with the patient.”

The trust said all services and appointments at the hospital were “running normally” and that it was following advice to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said work was already under way to establish who the man had come into contact with.

He said: “I offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends and ask that their request for privacy is respected.

“The patient, who was being treated at the Milton Keynes University Hospital, was an older patient who had underlying health conditions. Contact tracing is already under way.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

On Thursday evening another patient, reported to be a woman in her seventies, became the first person in the UK to die after being diagnosed with Covid-19 while at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

Last week, a British tourist who had been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan, became the first UK citizen to die after testing positive for the virus.

In other developments:

– Facebook closed its London office for deep cleaning after a Singapore-based employee who had visited tested positive.

– Scottish Government official Professor June Andrew said a coronavirus pandemic would be “quite useful” as it would take out hospital bed blockers, even though it was a “horrific” thing to say.

– Dr Mike Ryan, from the World Health Organisation (WHO), said it was “a false hope” that coronavirus would disappear in the summer like flu.

– A 43-year-old British businessman was confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand, and the Vatican confirmed its first case.

– A church in Devon closed after a parishioner was diagnosed with coronavirus, while the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna temple, near Watford, closed its doors after a member tested positive.

– Two members of British Airways staff tested positive. The PA news agency understands the staff are baggage handlers.

– Globally, the number of coronavirus cases has passed 100,000, with 3,400 deaths.

– Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited a Bedfordshire laboratory as the Government pledged an extra £46 million for research into coronavirus vaccines and rapid diagnostic tests.

– The Royal College of Emergency Medicine cancelled its spring conference on continuing professional development in Bournemouth at the end of March.

– Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said homeless people were at higher risk of coronavirus due to existing health conditions, the inability to wash their hands regularly and they may be unable to self-isolate if they become unwell.

Coronavirus cases in Europe
(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government is working with supermarkets to ensure food supplies as the number of people self-isolating is expected to rise.

He sought to reassure the public following panic-buying in some areas, with supermarkets seeing their shelves cleared of essentials such as toilet roll and paracetamol.

Speaking on BBC One’s Question Time, Mr Hancock said: “The Government has supplies of the key things that are needed and, within the food supply, we are absolutely confident that there won’t be a problem there.

“And, crucially, we are working to make sure that if people are self-isolating, they will be able to get the food and supplies that they need.”

He said there was “absolutely no need” for individual people “to go round buying more than they need”.

Downing Street said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had regular meetings with the food industry to discuss risks to the supply chain, with a working group due to meet on Friday.

One supermarket executive told the BBC sales of basics such as pasta and tinned goods had “gone through the roof”, adding: “While I think people don’t need to panic buy and should just shop normally, I’m not sure the Government can guarantee all food supply in all instances.”

Coronavirus
A coronavirus warning board at the entrance to Edinburgh Waverley train station (Andrew Milligan/PA)

However, Environment Secretary George Eustice said he has been reassured by retailers that they are taking “all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need”.

New blog posts from Public Health England (PHE) suggested people may need to get supplies for loved ones in future if social-distancing measures are brought in and more people are told to stay at home.

The posts urged people to “plan ahead”, adding: “Everyone has a part to play, and we’re asking people to think about what they do in a typical week, how they could limit contact with others if asked to, and how they could help people in their community who might need support if certain social-distancing measures were put in place.

“This might include helping older relatives and neighbours to get some food in, so that they would have supplies for a week or so if required, ensuring someone would be available to go shopping for them, or arranging for online delivery if they needed it.”

Prof Whitty has said half of all coronavirus cases in the UK are most likely to occur in just a three-week period, with 95% of them over a nine-week period.

PA