An older patient with "underlying conditions" has died in Reading, South England, after testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), on the evening of 5 March 2020.
"The patient has previously been in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons, but on this occasion was admitted and last night tested positive for coronavirus", a statement from Royal Berkshire Hospital said.
The statement said that no further information would be provided at this time, requested that the public respect the privacy of the grieving family members and added that, "all services and appointments at the hospital are running normally".
This evening, @CMO_England confirmed that a patient in England who tested positive for coronavirus (#COVID19) has passed away.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) March 5, 2020
The patient was being treated at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and had underlying health conditions.
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As the number of globally confirmed cases of COVID-19 inch towards 100,000 the overall confirmed rate of fatality remains under 4%. By comparison the fatality rate of the flu, over the past 10 years, has been calculated to be 0.1% by Dr Christopher Mores, global health professor with George Mason University.
The UK's Chief Medical Adviser Chris Whitty told parliament on 5 March that the current scientific understanding of COVID-19 is that it can't infect a person simply through touching with one's hands onto an infected surface.
The key thing is for people to wash their hands before they touch their eyes, nose and face, Whitty explained.
The illness "looks like a primarily respiratory droplet infection", he said explaining that means infection results when someone, "coughs or sneezes, usually within a couple of meters of someone, and usually for a relatively prolonged contact".
To date, 18,083 people have been tested in the UK for COVID-19, of which 17,968 showed no signs of having the virus, with only 115 cases confirmed as positive, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
UPDATE on coronavirus (#COVID19) testing in the UK:— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) March 5, 2020
As of 9am 5 March 2020, a total of 18,083 people have been tested:
For latest information and today’s regional breakdown visit:
The UK's ministry for health says it will update its COVID-19 related figures on a daily basis at 14:00 UK time.
At 12:44 a second UK death suspected to be connected to COVID-19 was reported to have occurred, this time at Milton Keynes Hospital, according to the Milton Keynes Citizen. The local paper reported that staff who nursed the patient have "gone into isolation" while they await final confirmation as to whether the 80-year-old deceased patient, who also had underlying health conditions, died with or because of COVID-19. A "detailed tracing exercise" is also being conducted in order to locate any person who may have had recent contact with the elderly patient, the paper writes.
*This article was updated at 14:01 with information regarding the second UK death suspected to be related to COVID-19.