Saturday 21 March 2020 3:03 AM UTC
LONDON March 21: The number of coronavirus deaths in England has risen to 167 with a further 39 reported in the last 24 hours. It comes after a second coronavirus hotspot has broken out in the Midlands and the Health Secretary has warned officials “don’t know why”.
Hospitals in the area have accounted for around 20% of the 144 fatalities that have so far been recorded in the UK from the virus.
The Midlands has recorded 282 coronavirus cases as of Thursday night, behind only London and the South East of England, with 28 confirmed deaths in the West Midlands.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted they do not know why the hotspot has emerged.
Speaking about plans over the coming days, Hancock said 1.4million people who are ‘at risk’ from catching coronavirus will be sent guidance next week advising them to stop all social contact.
He said the very most vulnerable will be told to carry out social distancing measures in place for 12 weeks from Monday.
A fuller policy with details will be announced “in the coming days”, a Downing Street spokesman said.
Hancock said it was a “really big ask and really difficult” but are for “people’s own protection” – adding people in those categories should “take themselves away from all social contact from Monday onwards”.
Almost all those affected are expected to get a text message to their mobile phone before Monday.
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