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Detailed guide: Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK

Department Of Health

March 12
14:29 2020

Go to NHS.UK/coronavirus for information about the virus and how to protect yourself.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service if you think you have symptoms.

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Number of cases

As of 9am on 12 March 2020, 29,764 people have been tested in the UK, of which 29,174 were confirmed negative and 590 were confirmed as positive. Eight patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

Cases identified in England

NHS region Cases
East of England 32
London 136
Midlands 44
North East and Yorkshire 44
North West 53
South East 83
South West 42
To be determined 57
Total 491

Confirmed cases in each local authority and NHS region are published by Public Health England (PHE).

Risk level

Based on the World Health Organizations declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate.

Returning travellers

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if youve travelled to the UK from the following places, even if you do not have symptoms:

  • anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March
  • specific areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days
  • Iran in the last 14 days
  • Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
  • Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if youve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:

  • Italy (outside specific areas in northern Italy) before 9 March
  • mainland China outside of Hubei province
  • South Korea outside of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

In Scotland call your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours.

In Wales call 111 (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47.

See COVID-19: specified countries and areas for more information and maps of specific areas.

Specific areas in northern Italy:

  • Lombardy region (which includes the cities of Milan, Bergamo and Como)
  • the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini (all in Emilia Romagna)
  • Pesaro e Urbino (in Marche)
  • Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli (all in Piemonte)
  • Padova, Treviso and Venice (in Veneto)

This guidance is based on the recommendations of the UK Chief Medical Officers. These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases. This list will be kept under review.

For areas with direct flights to the UK we are carrying out enhanced monitoring. Passengers will be told how to report any symptoms they develop during the flight, at the time of arrival, or after leaving the airport.

Read more about what you should do if youre asked to self-isolate.

Information about the virus

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

The NHS website has more information about how coronavirus is spread and answers common questions about the virus.

Recent government action

The government published its coronavirus action plan on 3 March.

On 10 February, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced strengthened legal powers to protect public health.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.

Diagnosis and analysis

The UK is one of the first countries outside China to have a prototype specific laboratory test for this new disease. Healthcare professionals who are contacted by a patient with symptoms following travel to an affected area have been advised to submit samples to PHE for testing. Individuals should be treated in isolation.

After the experience of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, PHE developed a series of diagnostic tests to detect any member of the family of coronaviruses. These have been used for several years, and were able to detect the first UK case of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012.

With the first reported publication of the genome sequence of a 2019 novel coronavirus, PHE was able to rapidly develop further specific tests for this virus, working with WHO and global network of laboratories.

When a clinician suspects novel coronavirus (COVID-19), they take samples from the nose, throat and deeper respiratory samples, package and send them safely to PHE Colindale. PHE can provide a laboratory result from this specific virus on the same working day.

PHE also has the capability to sequence the viral genome and compare this to published sequences from China, if a case occurs. This will provide valuable information on any mutations in the virus over time and allow an improved understanding of how it spreads.

Further information

Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response

Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for health professionals and other organisations

Published 24 January 2020
Last updated 12 March 2020

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