Coronavirus in the UK – a timeline

One month after Britain’s first confirmed case, how has the virus spread?

Emma Bowden
Monday 02 March 2020 01:06
A man wears a face mask as he walks along the Thames embankment in central London
A man wears a face mask as he walks along the Thames embankment in central London

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK climbed to 36 on Sunday after 12 new patients were diagnosed in England, and Scotland reported its first case.

Here is a timeline of patients who have tested positive for the virus in the UK.

January 31

The first cases are reported in the UK when two members of the same family — a University of York student and a relative — test positive for the virus.

They had recently travelled to the UK from China and were staying at the Staycity apartment-hotel in York when they fell ill.

They are taken to Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary for treatment.

February 6

A third person in the UK is diagnosed in Brighton and transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London.

It later emerges that the patient, businessman Steve Walsh, contracted the virus at a conference in Singapore.

On his way back to the UK, he stopped off for several days at a French ski chalet, where five Britons were subsequently infected with the virus.

February 9

Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty says a fourth person has been diagnosed in the UK, who is believed to be a contact of Mr Walsh.

It is later confirmed that the virus was passed on in France.

February 10

Four more patients in England test positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.

Those infected are all contacts of Mr Walsh and Public Health England (PHE) confirms two are healthcare workers.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) says the four newly-diagnosed people had contracted the virus in France.

February 13

A woman in London becomes the ninth person to test positive for the illness in the UK — the first confirmed case in the capital.

The patient, moved to a specialist NHS centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ for treatment, contracted the virus in China, Prof Whitty says.

As with previously confirmed cases, officials work to identify people who had been in recent contact with the woman.

February 23

Four Britons rescued from the Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive for the illness in the UK, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 13.

They were among a group of 30 Britons and two Irish citizens who arrived at a quarantine block at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside a day earlier.

Prof Whitty said the virus was passed on when all four were on board the vessel.

February 27

The first case of Covid-19 is diagnosed in Northern Ireland, while two more people tested positive across the rest of the UK — bringing the total number to 16.

The patient in Belfast had recently returned from northern Italy and had previously been in Dublin.

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Another of the new cases, a parent at a Buxton primary school in Derbyshire, contracted the virus in Tenerife.

The third patient also contracted the virus in Italy, the worst affected country in Europe.

February 28

The number of confirmed UK cases jumps to 20 after Wales reports its first patient and three more are identified in England.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton confirmed a man had been diagnosed with the virus after travelling back to Wales from Italy.

Two of the new cases identified in England had recently travelled back from Iran, Prof Whitty says.

Meanwhile, a patient identified in Surrey becomes the first to catch the illness within the UK.

Prof Whitty says it is not clear if the patient had contracted the virus “directly or indirectly” from somebody who had recently travelled abroad.

February 29

Three more patients are identified in England — bringing the UK total to 23.

Two of the patients had recently travelled back from Italy while the other had returned from Asia, according to Prof Whitty.

The cases are from Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and Berkshire.

March 1

The UK total climbs to 36 after 12 new patients are identified in England and Scotland reports its first case.

Three of the latest cases in England are family members of a man from Surrey who was the first to catch the illness within the UK.

All four are adults, including one more from Surrey and two from West Sussex, and are not GPs or health workers, the acting regional director for the south of England for PHE said.

Another new patient, from Essex, had no relevant travel to an affected area, according to Prof Whitty, and it was unclear whether the patient had contracted it “directly or indirectly” from somebody who had recently travelled abroad.

The eight remaining cases include one from Bury, Greater Manchester, who was infected in Italy, two new patients from Hertfordshire and one in London.

Three cases were confirmed in West Yorkshire, including two Leeds residents — who became infected in Iran — while one is from Bradford and had been in Italy.

Another is from Gloucestershire and is linked to a member of staff at a school in the Cotswolds, identified the day before.

Meanwhile, the first person in Scotland to be diagnosed is a Tayside resident who recently travelled from Italy — the worst-affected country in Europe.

Press Association

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