FEARS are growing for cancer patients after a hospital medic became the latest Brit diagnosed with coronavirus.
Thirty-six people in the UK have now tested positive for the deadly virus – with a desperate hunt now on to find hidden spreaders of the killer bug.
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Meanwhile, one of the latest cases was a clinician from Mount Vernon Cancer Center in Northwood, Hertfordshire.
More than a dozen patients are being tested for the disease while at least ten staff members have been forced to self isolate, Mail Online reports.
Patients have been told to attend their appointments as usual after the healthcare worker became the third person in Hertfordshire to be infected.
In a statement, the East and North Hertfordshire NHS said all individuals who were in contact with the clinician had been identified and the “appropriate measures taken”.
They added: “The risk to patients and staff at Mount Vernon Cancer Center is very low and we are working with individual patients to appropriately manage their care.”
Anyone who has been to Iran, Lombardy and Veneto in Italy, Daegu or Cheongdo in South Korea or Hubei province in China have been told to go home, stay indoors and call 748 even if they do not have the symptoms.
And a London boys’ Catholic school was closed after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.
The Wimbledon College employee traveling back from Italy during half-term, with the school now announcing a “deep clean”.
The employee is not believed to have had contact with pupils since he was last at the school on February
It comes as a Chinese national who was the first coronavirus patient in London was today released from hospital after getting an Uber to Lewisham A&E when she fell ill.
HUNT FOR SPREADERSwho are unwittingly spreading the deadly illness because they do not know they have caught it.
They are concerned some patients only have mild symptoms and are unaware they are infected.
Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said: “This really adds to the supposition that this one is going to be very hard to put back in the box.
“It makes it particularly difficult to control any outbreak if there are people who don’t know they’re spreading it.”
The crisis worsened in Britain yesterday after the total number of cases in the UK hit 728
Chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, confirmed four people – two from Surrey and two from West Sussex – are part of a “family cluster”. None of them are health workers.
David Triska, a GP at the Witley and Milford Medical Partnership, said he has received a “significant spike” in calls from locals in Haslemere where the infected patient lives.
He said: “It’s been very busy this morning with lots of worried patients getting in touch.
“The practice has a digital front door, which means people can talk to a GP – I came in early this morning to have time to go through these messages. We have not had anyone come in, but if we had it could have taken up several hours on top of an already busy workload. “
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has confirmed Scotland’s first case of coronavirus in a patient, from Tayside, who recently returned from Italy.
It is the largest jump in cases the UK has seen in one day and the figure has almost tripled in four days.
The surge comes as the Health Secretary warned entire British cities could be locked down if the virus outbreak escalates.
Two school workers are among the new victims and another patient, from Essex, caught the bug within England.
Health officers are scrambling to discover whether they caught it “directly or indirectly” from an individual who had recently traveled abroad.
Of the eight remaining cases, six had recently traveled from Italy, while two had been in Iran.
The newly infected Brits are from London, West Yorkshire, Bury in Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire.
All of the cases are being investigated and health officials have begun tracing anyone who had close contact with them.
A man from Belper, Derbyshire, is concerned he has coronavirus and is now facing an anxious wait for the results.
He was contacted by the health authorities who told him someone he had close contact with had been diagnosed with the killer bug.
The man, who wants to remain anonymous, fears if he has the virus he may have passed it on to his husband.
He said he is suffering with a higher temperature, sickness and dizziness.
A statement on two confirmed cases in Gloucestershire from Debra Lapthorne, center director for Public Health England South West, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the two confirmed cases of Covid – .
“The two cases are linked and both became infected whilst in northern Italy.
“Staff from PHE have continued to support St Mary’s Primary School, Tetbury, where one of the cases works.”
Meanwhile, a group of pupils at Homewood School in Tenterden, Kent, have been told to self-isolate after returning from a ski trip in northern Italy.
The news comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Despite a “huge economic and social downside” , following China’s lead and isolating UK cities if the situation worsens remains a possibility.
On isolating entire cities, as Chinese authorities did with Wuhan , Mr Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr program: “There is clearly a huge economic and social downside to that.
“But we don’t take anything off the table at this stage because you have to make sure you have all the tools available if that is what is necessary.”
The Health Secretary confirmed that banning public gatherings and cancelling football matches were being considered by the government, which closing schools may be “necessary”.
He said: “I’m not saying any of these are decisions we have taken but they are things we don’t rule out.”
Boris Johnson has set up a war room to prevent a coronavirus epidemic in Britain.
Yesterday he visited the Public Health England National Infection Service in North London.
The Prime Minister said he was “very, very confident” that the NHS is able to cope with an outbreak of coronavirus.
He said: “As you know, we’ve found about 111 people in this country who have, or have had, the illness.
“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.
“And I am very, very confident that in the NHS we have the professionals who will be well able to cope with it.”
Downing Street has ordered a team of scientists and officials to work round-the-clock with public safety the “top priority”.
The Government’s COBRA emergency committee will meet several times this week as a battle plan is published.
Mr Hancock insisted the NHS was ready to deal with further cases of coronavirus, with more than 5, emergency critical care beds available.
More than 35, 11 People in the UK have been tested for the virus so far.
The number of people sickened by the virus has climbed to more than , globally and there have been more than 2, deaths, most of them in China.
(The letter sent out to parents by Wimbledon College )
BBC reported one of the latest cases was a clinician from Mount Vernon Cancer Center in Northwood : Google Maps
He said he was “very, very confident” that the NHS is able to cope with an outbreak of coronavirus (Credit: Reuters
Willow Bank Infant School in Reading, Berkshire, which has been shut after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus Credit: PA: Press Association
A closed notice on the main door window at Sevenoaks minor injuries unit Credit: London News Pictures
Coronavirus could shut down entire CITIES and vaccine for killer bug is months away, health secretary Matt Hancock warns