A coronavirus patient has become the first in the UK to die from the disease.
The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust revealed this afternoon (March 5 2020) than an individual with underlying health conditions had succumbed to the deadly bug.
According to a spokesperson for the trust, quoted by The Sun, the patient had been “in and out of hospital” for reasons unrelated to coronavirus.
But on Wednesday (March 4 2020) night, they tested positive for the virus and died today.
A statement from the trust read: “Sadly, we can confirm that an older patient with underlying health conditions has died.
The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them.
“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.
“The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”
The statement went on to say that the trust would not be commenting further and asked that everybody “respects the family’s privacy”.
It follows advice from the UK Government’s Chief Medical Advisor that the NHS and businesses should work under the “sensible” assumption that as much as 20 per cent of Britain’s work force could be off sick at once.
Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, explained earlier this week: “It is almost certain there will be more cases, probably a lot of cases, and we would expect some deaths.
“It’s when it’s going from person to person to person and then we pick it up – that’s what we mean by community transmission.
“It is likely that will be happening, if not now, but soon. I think it’s likely to be happening at the moment, not definite.”
People are now being urged to take a number of steps to help prevent the spread of the disease, including washing their hands regularly and for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
Similarly, people are being urged to use contactless cards instead of cash when paying for goods, as the latter offers a risk of infection.
The World Health Organisation is reportedly advising people to avoid handling cash, as the use of contactless payment methods could “reduce the risk of transmission”.
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