Second person dies of coronavirus in UK says Hancock as PM announces £46m toward vaccine

  • Video report by ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke

A second person has died of coronavirus in the UK, the health secretary has confirmed.

The man, described by Matt Hancock as "somebody who was older and had underlying health conditions", died at a hospital in Milton Keynes.

Mr Hancock passed on his condolences to the man's family, adding the NHS is "working around the clock to keep people safe" to "delay the impact" of any potential epidemic in the UK.

Milton Keynes University Hospital said in a statement the patient had tested positive for coronavirus. It added the patient had pre-exisiting health conditions and it is continuing operations as normal.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said contact tracing was already underway.

Family sources told local newspaper MK Citizen the man had been on a general ward for six hours before being isolated. The sources claim the patient was coughing considerably during that time and had had a number of visitors, who have now been told to self-isolate.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

Boris Johnson says protecting the public is the main priority. Credit: PA

Measures including investing £46m to find a vaccine for the virus and develop a rapid test for the disease, were announced earlier by Boris Johnson.

Plans are also afoot to speed up phase two of the government's coronavirus plan, as officials expect the virus to "significantly spread" across the country.

It is understood broadcasters and leading sports bodies have been called to an emergency summit on Monday by the government.

The agenda will focus on the ongoing threat the virus poses to the sporting calendar.

The news comes as Public Health England confirmed two members of British Airways staff tested positive for the virus - the pair are in self-isolation at home.

The overall number of people in the UK to found to have coronavirus rose on Friday to 165 from 115 on Thursday. The updated count comes after fourth case in Northern Ireland was confirmed late on Friday. Across the border, five new cases have been reported in the Republic of Ireland.

The government is now advising against all but essential travel to three cities in South Korea, where more than 6,000 cases of Covid-19 has been identified.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned Britons against travelling to Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan. Britons already in the affected regions have been advised to listen to the advice of local authorities.

There is currently no vaccine available to protect people against Covid-19, but eight possible vaccines are already being funded by the UK.

It is hoped a vaccine can be found and put into operation in under a year.

The new government funding will also be used to find a quicker diagnostic test, with the current one potentially taking days to confirm the presence of coronavirus.

It is hoped a vaccine can be found and put into operation in under a year. Credit: PA

"Keeping the British people safe is my number one priority, and that’s why I’ve set out our four-part plan to contain, delay, mitigate and research coronavirus," Mr Johnson said.

"We are ensuring the country is prepared for the current outbreak, guided by the science at every stage.

"But we also need to invest now in researching the vaccines that could help prevent future outbreaks.

"I'm very proud that UK experts – backed by government funding – are on the front line of global efforts to do just that."

Downing Street said the UK's investment into Covid-19 vaccine research is now worth £65 million, with £91 million in total for international work to stop the spread of the virus.

  • Boris Johnson on how the coronavirus outbreak could impact the Budget announcement:

Research by John Hopkins University says there have now been more than 100,000 cases of coronavirus cases around the world, making the need to find a vaccine more urgent.

The news comes following confirmation a patient with underlying health conditions became the first person in the UK to die after testing positive for coronavirus on Thursday.

The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust said the older patient, reported to be a woman in her 70s, had been "in and out of hospital" for other reasons but was admitted on Wednesday evening to hospital in Reading and tested positive.

An NHS catch it, bin it, kill it sign on TV screens in the entrance to the QEII Centre in London. Credit: PA

The first case of Covid-19 has also been confirmed in Nottingham.

Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, centre director, Public Health England East Midlands, said: "Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with one of the latest confirmed cases of Covid-19.

"The case is a resident of Nottingham city and recently returned from South Korea.

"Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case/s.

"This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public."