Boris Johnson says coronavirus likely to ‘spread a bit more’ in the UK

Boris Johnson said he expects the new coronavirus to spread further inside Britain, following the announcement of another 12 positive tests today.

The prime minister said he believed the new coronavirus would spread further inside Britain, following the announcement of another 12 positive tests on Sunday.

"We've found about 35 people in this country have, or have had, the illness and clearly there may be more. That is likely now to spread a bit more," Johnson said during a visit to a public health facility in London.

He went on to say that he was "very, very confident" that the NHS is able to cope with an outbreak of coronavirus.

"As you know, we've found about 35 people in this country who have, or have had, the illness," Boris Johnson said.

"And clearly there may be more, that's likely to spread a bit more, and it's vital therefore that people understand that we do have a great plan, a plan to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

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"And I am very, very confident that in the NHS we have the professionals who will be well able to cope with it."

Mr Johnson said the best way to stop the spread of the virus was hand washing, adding: "20 seconds, two times. Happy Birthday I'm told, with hot water and soap."

Talking about the Government's updated contingency plan, he said: "I think what we're saying is that we will be setting out the various measures, as the disease progresses, if it progresses in the way we think it may.

"We will be setting out the various measures in which we think the public should be responding, which public bodies should be responding, we'll be sending that out tomorrow, the next day.

"But the crucial thing is, as I say, the public does what it can, we all do what we can to stop the spread ourselves."

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It was announced shortly before 2pm today that the number of coronavirus cases in the UK had shot up.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said three of the patients were close contacts of a known Covid-19 case that was transmitted within the UK – believed to be a Surrey resident.

Another new patient, from Essex, has not recently travelled to an affected area, Prof Whitty said on Sunday.

He added investigations were ongoing as to whether the patient had contracted it "directly or indirectly" from an individual who had recently travelled abroad.

Of the eight remaining cases, six had recently travelled from Italy, while two had been in Iran.

These patients are from London, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire.

One of the confirmed cases is in Bury, according to Bury Council, which said the patient had been taken to a specialist NHS infection centre.

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