Coronavirus is spreading around the world, and in the last few days, cases in the UK have increased rapidly. Now, there are 273 confirmed cases of coronavirus – official name COVID-19 – across the UK.
Worldwide, there are 107,811 cases of COVID-19, of which 3,661 have died. The majority of these are in China, where the virus originated in December 2019.
On Friday, it was confirmed that a man in his early 80s had become the second person to die in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus.
The man, who had underlying health conditions, died on Thursday while being treated at Milton Keynes University Hospital.
The Department of Health said more than 23,500 people in Britain have been tested for the virus.
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On Sunday, there were a total of 64 new cases announced in the UK – pushing the total up to 273.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra civil contingencies committee on Monday as officials prepare to accelerate work on the delay phase of the Government’s plan to tackle the virus.
Sports governing bodies and broadcasters have also been called to a Government meeting on Monday to discuss how to handle the outbreak’s possible impact on the sporting calendar.
Meanwhile, PHE has said people may need to help older relatives and neighbours obtain food supplies if social distancing measures, such as not going to cinemas, pubs or sporting events, are put in place.
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Will UK schools close amid coronavirus outbreak?
Some countries have taken measures to close schools and universities and even lockdown some areas to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has said school closures would have a “marginal effect” and so school closures would only happen if the outbreak reached the worst-case scenario.
Some schools and universities in the UK have closed for deep cleaning following cases linked to them, however, none have been ordered to close by the Government.
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Schools and universities have reopened following the deep cleaning, with pupils returning but those with coronavirus diagnosis or having been in close proximity to diagnosed cases told to self-isolate.
Sporting events have also seen an impact, with the Six Nations postponing matches, Premier League footballers told not to shake hands and a series of rugby and football matches to be played in empty stadiums.
However, if the virus reaches the worst-case scenario, Professor Whitty warned schools could close for “more than two months”.
On Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the “goal was to keep schools open”.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week revealed the Government’s four-step plan, and on Thursday it was announced the UK was heading towards phase two – the delay phase.
This is likely to ask people to start taking preventative measures such as avoiding handshakes, avoiding areas with lots of people and working at home when possible.
Those who have chronic illnesses and the elderly may be asked to stay home to avoid infection.
According to government guidelines, if a pupil or member of staff is diagnosed with coronavirus, anyone who has been “in close face-to-face or touching contact” should self-isolate for 14 days.
Will parents get paid if they had to miss work to look after children?
If schools close, this could cause a knock-on effect for workers as they may need to take time off to look after their children.
Parents are entitled to “dependent leave” in order to look after their children without facing disciplinary action.
However, this is not necessarily paid time off – as it depends on your agreement with your employer.
One strategy could be to use holiday days in order to still get paid, however again this is at the discretion of your employer.
You can take off up to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave before your child is 18.