General practice staff must notify Public Health England if they are presented with a case of COVID-19, under new rules.
The virus was added to the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010 on 5 March. As of 6 March, 18,083 people have been tested for coronavirus with 17,968 testing negative, and 163 positive cases. Additionally, the first death linked to the virus was reported in Reading on 5 March.
‘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,’ said Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Chris Whitty.
‘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 Government has published an action plan to combat the virus. Actions underlined in the plan if the virus spreads to pandemic levels could include emergency registration of health professionals who have recently retired, and police, fire and rescue services to carrying out business continuity plans in response to staff shortages.
‘We are taking all possible steps to contain this virus and they will remain driven and grounded by science,’ said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
‘We have always said this outbreak could worsen before it gets better. Today’s battle plans, backed by our world-leading infectious disease experts, set out what actions the public can expect from government now and if the virus does progress. Protecting the most vulnerable is our absolute priority. We all have a role to play in combatting this threat and I urge everyone to take stock of the simple methods that offer the best protection.’