28 Feb 2020

Cruise ship passenger becomes first British person to die from coronavirus

Health and Social Care Correspondent

With news of the first British death and the first cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, Boris Johnson has said the coronavirus is the Government’s top priority.

With news of the first British death and the first cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, Boris Johnson has said the coronavirus is the Government’s top priority. He said he’d discussed the UK’s preparedness with the Health Secretary and the chief medical officer – but he won’t be chairing an emergency Cobra meeting until Monday.

The reach of the virus is spreading fast with nearly 60 countries reporting cases. The World Health Organisation says it could reach most “if not all” countries. Today Nigeria, New Zealand, Lithuania, Mexico and Iceland reported their first cases.

Most of the people who have died of the infection have been in mainland China with nearly 3,000 deaths. Outside China, Iran, South Korea and Italy have had the most victims. Here, 20 people have now been diagnosed with the illness – four more in the past 24 hours.