Total UK coronavirus cases reach 1,543

Will Taylor
News Reporter
A woman wears a protective face mask in Oxford Street amid the coronavirus outbreak. (PA Images)

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has reached 1,543, the government announced on Monday.

It is a rise of 171 from the 1,372 cases confirmed in yesterday’s figures, and there have so far been at least 35 deaths of patients who tested positive for the infection.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows there are more than 169,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with 6,513 deaths. There have also been more than 77,000 recoveries.

The announcement comes after the number of infections and deaths outside mainland China, where the virus originated, outstripped the number inside the country for the first time since the outbreak began.

In the UK, health secretary Matt Hancock announced that elderly people are likely to be asked to self-isolate for up to four months.

Environment secretary George Eustice is due to hold a conference call with food suppliers and supermarkets on Monday.

They are expected to discuss the continuity of supply during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Meanwhile, a petition calling for frontline NHS workers to be tested for coronavirus as a priority has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.

Junior doctor Rebecca McCauley wrote that NHS staff should be tested for the disease so they can avoid having to isolate when they only have a cold.

“My cough is minor, and it’s March, so quite common to get a cough… but how do I know it’s not Covid? The truth is I don’t,” McCauley wrote.

“So now I have to ask… do I stay off work for seven days, leaving a shortfall of staff and putting further strain on the already strained NHS, when the likelihood is that I don’t actually have Covid-19?”