Number of coronavirus cases in the UK rises to 22,141 – as death toll reaches 1,408

Number of coronavirus cases in the UK rises to 22,141 – as death toll reaches 1,408
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways (Photo: Shutterstock)

The number of deaths in the UK linked to coronavirus currently stands at 1,408, according to Public Health.

The Department of Health and Social Care also revealed that there were 22,141 confirmed cases of the virus.

A statement from the government department read: “As of 9am 30 March, a total of 134,946 have been tested: 112,805 negative. 22,141 positive.

“As of 5pm on 29 March, of those hospitalised in the UK, 1,408 have sadly died.

Signs of slowing

The new figures came after Professor neil Ferguson suggested the number of cases and deaths were slwoing.

Professor Neil Ferguson, who has been studying the coronavirus outbreak, said the data is now showing signs that the strict social distancing measures are beginning to work, despite the number of daily reported deaths still climbing.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “In the UK we can see some early signs of slowing in some indicators – less so because deaths are lagged by a long time from when measures come into force.

“But we look at the numbers of new hospital admissions today (30 Mar), for instance, that does seem to be slowing down a little bit now.

“It’s not yet plateaued as the numbers are increasing each day, but the rate of that increase has slowed.

“We see similar patterns in a number of European countries.”

Coronavirus
These are the symptoms of coronavirus (Photo WHO)

Coronavirus: the facts

What is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What caused coronavirus?

The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.

How is it spread?

As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But, similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. Therefore, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath – but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat. It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.

What precautions can be taken?

Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.

Government advice

As of Monday 16 March the government advised that everyone should be observing social distancing – avoiding unnecessary travel and working from home where possible. Anyone with a cough or cold symptoms now needs to self-isolate with their entire household for 14 days.

The government has now instructed bars, restaurants and theatres to close and will review on a ‘month to month’ basis. Schools closed from Friday 20 March for the foreseeable future, and exams have been cancelled.

The over 70s or anyone who is vulnerable or living with an underlying illness are being asked to be extra careful and stay at home to self-isolate.

For more information on government advice, please check their website.

Should I avoid public places?

The advice now is to avoid public places and any non-essential travel. Travel abroad is also being advised against for the next 30 days at least, and many European countries have closed their borders.

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Don’t go to your GP but instead call NHS 111 or look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next.

When to call NHS 111

NHS 111 should be used if you feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms, have been in a country with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days or if you have been in close contact with someone with the virus.

Sources: World Health Organisation and NHS