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Coronavirus: UK schools shut as outbreak spreads across Europe

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COVID-19 began in Wuhan Province, China COVID-19 began in Wuhan Province, China

Four schools have been closed due to the COVID-19, after students returned from Northern Italy, an area with a severe outbreak.

Italy has in recent days become Europe's worst-affected country, with more than 300 cases and 11 deaths. In the UK, four patients transferred from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for coronavirus. These four have now been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care, as of 25 February, a total of 6795 people have been tested in the UK, of which 6782 were confirmed negative and 13 positive. These figures include the 4 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

‘The four patients with coronavirus have now been transferred from Arrowe Park to specialist NHS infection centres in Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle. These specialist centres are well prepared to deal with cases and earlier this year, the Newcastle unit successfully treated and discharged two patients who had contracted the virus,’ said Professor Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident director for coronavirus.

‘I would like to thank the excellent NHS staff who managed the transfers today as well as those who will now be caring for these patients. We’ve seen in communities across the country a calm response to confirmed and potential cases of coronavirus, which will continue to be important as more of us might need to self-isolate for a time, to protect ourselves, our families and the community.’

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

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