Five new cases of coronavirus in east of England as UK total reaches 373

A coronavirus unit installed at hospitals across the region. Picture: Chris Bishop

A coronavirus unit installed at hospitals across the region. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

A further five people in the east of England have tested positive for the coronavirus.

A Coronavirus hand sanitiser station. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A Coronavirus hand sanitiser station. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The figure for the region now stands at 29.

Across the UK, an additional 54 cases have been announced in the last 24 hours taking the total to 373.

More than 26,000 people had been tested as of Tuesday morning, of which 25,888 were confirmed negative.

Meanwhile, chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty has announced a sixth person has died. The man in his 80s was receiving treatment at the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and was known to have underlying health conditions.

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Figures for the east of England have increased from 24 to 29, with the first case in Suffolk confirmed yesterday.

Read more: NHS advice on coronavirus to be posted at top of Internet searchesThe figures are broken down by NHS region with the east of England covering Norfolk and Waveney, Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire, West Essex, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Mid and South Essex, Suffolk and North East Essex.

In an update from Public Health England, there are no positive cases in Norfolk.

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Today the deputy chief medical officer said the start of the country's epidemic is expected within the next fortnight.

Read more: Coronavirus: Questions and answersDr Jenny Harries said: 'We can expect a peak in cases, it has a relatively slow take off at the start, that's where we are at the moment, it will start to rise quite sharply.'

'Within 10 to 14 days we will be likely to advise people with symptoms to self-isolate and we are expecting that start of the peak to come within that period.'

Staying at home in self-isolation was 'extremely effective in trying to move our epidemic curve forward,'

Dr Harries said cancelling big outdoor events like football matches would not necessarily be a decision supported by science.

'The virus will not survive very long outside,' she said. 'Many outdoor events, particularly, are relatively safe.'

She said large numbers of the population will become infected due to not having the antibodies to the virus.

Read more: Co-op limits toilet roll sales due to panic buying over coronavirusDr Harries added GPs would only visit sick people self-isolating in their own homes if absolutely necessary, due to the fact it is an infectious disease.

On Monday, Professor Whitty, said people with 'minor' cold, flu or fever symptoms could soon to be asked to stay at home in self-isolation in a bid to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

- Join our Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook group to keep up to date with how the coronavirus is affecting Norfolk.

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