Third person in UK dies from coronavirus as cases rise to 273

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt

A third person has died from coronavirus, as the number of cases soars to 273.

The man in his 60s had underlying health problems and died at North Manchester General Hospital after having recently returned from Italy, NHS England said.

It comes as the number coronavirus cases in the UK reached a total of 273 - an increase of 64 and the biggest overnight jump yet.

A spokesman for North Manchester General Hospital said: "We can confirm that sadly a patient being treated for Covid-19 has died at our specialist regional Infectious Diseases unit at North Manchester General Hospital.

"The man in his sixties tested positive after travelling to Italy and had a number of underlying health problems. Our thoughts are with the patient's family who are being supported by our specialist bereavement staff."

The total coronavirus cases in the UK has reached 273. Credit: PA

The first patient to have died from coronavirus was a woman in her 70s, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 while at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

An 83-year-old great-grandfather become the second person to die in the UK, after testing positive for coronavirus.

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

England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: "I am very sorry to report that a third 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 privacy is respected."

He said that contact tracing was already under way.

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has risen to 273. Credit: PA

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

As of 9am on Sunday, 23,513 people had been tested for Covid-19 in the UK, of which 23,240 were confirmed negative and 273 positive, the Department of Health said.

A group of 30 Britons and two Irish nationals, who were repatriated to the UK from the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, were released from Arrowe Park hospital in the Wirral after being given the all-clear from infection.

Two more cases have been confirmed in Scotland, bringing the total there to 18, in Northern Ireland there are seven cases and the total in Wales has risen from two to four.

Despite the rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK, the country remains in the "contain" phase of the disease.

During this phase, officials aim to detect and isolate early cases and trace people who have been in contact with those infected in a bid to stop the illness spreading widely.

Due to the increasing number of infections, the country is likely to soon enter the next stage, "delay", where the aim is to slow the spread of the virus, reducing the impact and pushing it away from the winter season.

  • ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt looks ahead at the Government's next steps to tackle the coronavirus outbreak

The Government believes that if the peak of the virus can be delayed until warmer months, it can reduce the risk of overlapping with seasonal flu and other challenges that the colder months bring.

Professor Tom Soloman, from the University of Liverpool, told ITV News the Government wants to delay the peak of the disease until summer so the outbreak is spread over many months and this will result in less deaths.

But he added: "The efforts in this country led by Public Health England, in containing the outbreak are saying let's give it under control as long as possible until the summer comes, but what may well happen is after the summer, we may then get a second surge.

"So this is the sort of virus that is going eventually infect most of us, and most people may not know about it, or they will just have a mild cough, but our job is to keep it under control to look after those who will become unwell with it."

Supermarkets have started placing restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling.

Commenting on reports of people panic-buying in shops, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday: "We've had no advice from the scientific advisers or medical officers that there's any need for people to buy stuff in.

"If you think you have symptoms, the best thing to do as you know is to stay at home and contact the NHS.

"We will make sure we give the NHS... the investment it needs to cope with this crisis."

Shoppers have been stockpiling toilet roll, leaving supermarket shelves bare. Credit: PA

Meanwhile in Italy, a quarter of the population has been put on lockdown in an extreme bid to contain the spread.

Italy has seen its biggest daily increase in deaths and cases, as 1,492 people were diagnosed with coronavirus, taking the total to 7,375.

The death toll surged by 133 in one day to 366 and the Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to northern regions of Italy .

Both Venice and Milan are part of the lockdown in northern Italy. Credit: AP

The figures come as both the Health Secretary and Chancellor vowed the Government will do all it can to mitigate the virus’ impact.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak vowed the Government will give the NHS "whatever it needs" to cope with the outbreak and said he is ready to take “targeted” measures to help businesses through an economically difficult period.

While Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out plans contained in emergency legislation to deal with the impact of the virus.

Mr Hancock outlined proposals which are expected to pass through Parliament by the end of the month which are expected to include measures to allow some court proceedings to be conducted via telephone or video, and volunteers will be given additional employment safeguards, allowing them to leave their main jobs and temporarily help health and social systems in the event of a widespread pandemic.