First UK patient dies after testing positive for Coronavirus

The first death from coronavirus in the UK has been announced.

One patient with underlying health conditions has died after testing positive for coronavirus – which it is believed was contracted in the UK. 

The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust said the deceased was an elderly patient.

This follows the first British death from the deadly virus, which took place on February 28 on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was quarantined off Japan's Yokohama port after a coronavirus outbreak.

Royal Berkshire NHS Trust said: "Sadly, we can confirm that an older patient with underlying health conditions has died.

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"The patient has previously been in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons, but on this occasion was admitted and last night tested positive for coronavirus.

"The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We will not be commenting further and ask that everybody respects the family’s privacy."

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It is understood that the patient who died in Berkshire fell into the 'most at risk' category, due to their age.

NHS Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “I am very sorry to report a patient in England who tested positive for COVID-19 has sadly died.

"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 Royal Berkshire Hospital, was an older patient who had underlying health conditions.

"We believe they contracted the virus in the UK and contact tracing is already underway.”

The news comes as cases of coronavirus in the UK have more than doubled in 48 hours as the country moves towards the delay phase of tackling the virus.

Some 116 people have tested positive, including 105 in England, three in Wales, six in Scotland and three in Northern Ireland.

Just two days ago there were 51 UK cases.

Last week, the Foreign Office confirmed a British tourist who had been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan, had died from the virus.

Downing Street has said it is “highly likely” that the coronavirus will spread in a “significant way” and officials are accelerating preparations to enter the delay phase to deal with the outbreak.

Professor Whitty said: "As of 9am this morning, 25 further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19. 17 were diagnosed who had recently travelled from recognised countries or from recognised clusters which were under investigation.

"Eight contracted the virus in the UK and it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad." 

This brings the total in England to 105, while there have been six in Scotland, three in Northern Ireland and two in Wales.

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