Coronavirus: Government to stop giving daily updates about where new infections are in UK

Decision comes amid fears 'community transitions' are taking hold in parts of country

UK coronavirus cases rise to 85

The government is to stop giving daily updates on where cases of coronavirus have been found in the UK, officials have said.

A Department of Health said the decision had been taken due to the "number of new cases".

Instead, citizens will have to wait until the end of the week to find out the location of new infections.

Until this point, the government has offered updates each afternoon on the number and whereabouts of new cases.

The latest update showed 32 new cases had been confirmed in England, taking the UK total to 85.

And a Department of Health statement posted on Twitter said: "As of today, due to the number of new cases, we will no longer be tweeting information on the location of each new case.

"Instead, this information will be released centrally in a consolidated format online, once a week. We are working on this now and plan to share on Friday."

Three of the newly announced cases were passed on in the UK, raising fears that community transmission may now be taking hold.

The announcement came as England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned that a UK epidemic was looking "likely".

Meanwhile, the Boris Johnson announced new sick pay changes as part of emergency coronavirus legislation, ensuring anyone self-isolating is paid from day one rather than day four as current rules state.

Mr Johnson told MPs that people who self-isolated were "helping to protect all of us by slowing the spread of the virus".

He added: "If they stay at home and if we ask people to self-isolate, they may lose out financially.

"So, I can today announce that the health secretary will bring forward, as part of our emergency coronavirus legislation, measures to allow the payment of statutory sick pay from the very first day you are sick instead of four days under the current rules, and I think that's the right way forward.

"Nobody should be penalised for doing the right thing."

Prof Whitty earlier told the BBC there could be a need to do "extreme things" to protect the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

He added: "At this point in time we think it is likely, not definite, that we will move into onward transmission and an epidemic here in the UK."

Additional reporting by agencies

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