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    Confirmed COVID-19 cases in UK jump to 1,140

    0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 15, 2020
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    The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Britain reached 1,140 as of Saturday morning, an increase of more than 300 over the last 24 hours, according to the latest figures released by the British Department of Health and Social Care.

    Meanwhile, a total of 21 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died in Britain so far, the figures showed.

    "I understand this increase in the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 will be a cause for concern for many. The public should know every measure we are taking is seeking to save lives and protect the most vulnerable," said Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England.

    The British government announced Thursday that the country has switched from the "containment" phase to "delay" in response to the spread of virus in the country, a move to encourage more "social distancing" among Britons.

    Among other measures, the government on Friday postponed the local and mayoral elections in England slated for May 7 for one year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is also considering banning mass gatherings, according to local reports.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the threat of coronavirus as "the worst public health crisis in a generation." According to health authorities, the true figure for people infected with the novel coronavirus in Britain might be between 5,000 and 10,000.

    Jeremy Hunt, former British health secretary, has called for more aggressive steps, including closing elderly care homes to outside visitors.

    Meanwhile, experts criticized governmental measures as too limited to have a major effect and inadequate given the scale of the looming threat to health.

    "I can't see that any of these measures are going to have a big impact...None of that is really going to affect transmission in the UK," Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper.

    Over 126,000 petitioners have called for the British government to implement a lockdown in Britain to prevent the virus from fast spreading as of Saturday. The number of petitioners on the UK Government and Parliament Petitions webpage is still increasing.

    The petition said that country needs to "follow suit the containment procedures of countries that have been greatly affected by COVID-19 such as Italy."

    The country should restrict unnecessary travel between towns and cities, it said, adding that travel permitted should only be for work or emergencies. 

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