A FURTHER three patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus, one being in Berkshire.
Two of the patients had recently travelled back from Italy while the other had returned from Asia, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said.
The three cases – one in Gloucestershire, one in Hertfordshire and another in Berkshire – are being investigated and any individuals who had contact with the patients are now being traced.
It has not been confirmed where in Berkshire the case is.
As of 9am on Saturday, more than 10,000 people in the UK had been tested for the virus, also known as Covid-19 – with 23 confirmed as positive.
It comes as health officials continue to trace anyone who had contact with a patient in Surrey who became the first to catch the illness within the UK.
It was not clear if the patient had contracted the virus “directly or indirectly” from somebody who had recently travelled abroad, Prof Whitty said on Friday.
He added that the patient had been transferred to a specialist NHS infection centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
It comes as the Government prepares to bring in new emergency powers to help stop the virus spreading.
It is understood that this will give schools, councils and other parts of the public sector powers to suspend laws – including health and safety measures – to cope with a pandemic.
Meanwhile, a British man, reported to be in his 70s and said to have lived abroad, was confirmed as the first UK citizen to die from the virus on Friday.
The man, who was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off Japan’s coast amid the outbreak, was the sixth person from the vessel to have died.
The three new cases on Saturday takes the total number in England up to 21, while there has been one confirmed case in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.
The number of people sickened by the virus climbed to more than 85,000 globally on Saturday and there were more than 2,850 deaths, most of them in China.