14 more UK coronavirus deaths as confirmed cases soar to 1,372

A further 14 people have died having caught the coronavirus as the number of cases in the UK reached 1,372.

As of 9am on Sunday, 232 more people were diagnosed and the death toll hit 35. Some 34 people have died from the virus in England, while there has been one death in Scotland.

A total of 40,279 people have been tested in the country, since the first case was recorded on January 31st.

The Department of Health and Social Care tweeted: "UPDATE on coronavirus (#COVID19) testing in the UK: As of 9am on 15 March, a total of 40,279 have been tested: 38,907 negative 1,372 positive Across the UK, 35 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have sadly died."

Yesterday, the number of UK cases stood at 1,140 while the death toll reached 21 after 10 more people died from the disease.

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NHS England said the patients whose deaths were announced on Sunday were aged between 59 and 94, and they had underlying health conditions.

They were being cared for at 12 different NHS Trusts across the country, including ones in Manchester, Epsom, Wolverhampton and Bristol.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed on Sunday that everyone over 70 in the UK will be asked to self-isolate for months to protect themselves from coronavirus.

He admitted it was a "very big ask", but a measure which is for their own "self-protection".

Asked to confirm reports of the drastic measure which emerged last night, Mr Hancock said: “That is in the action plan, yes.

“And we'll be setting it out with more detail when it is the right time to do so because we appreciate that is a very big ask for elderly and vulnerable people.”

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He said the strategy would be introduced “in the coming weeks.”

And he said the government is prepared to ban large gatherings if necessary.

Mr Hancock coronavirus is "a very significant challenge" that will "disrupt the lives of almost everybody" in the UK.

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Speaking to The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, he added: "The thing the NHS needs now more than anything else is more ventilators. We've been buying as many as we can but we need to produce more too.

"We are going to take the powers to make sure that we can quarantine people if they are a risk to public health, yes, and that's important.

"I doubt that actually we will need to use it much, because people have been very responsible."

A series of drastic measures which will have a profound impact on everyday life are expected to be brought in over the coming weeks.

New government plans could see schools and pubs close, the army called in to stock supermarket shelves and all over-70s may have to self-isolate for four months.

Today it also emerged that police could arrest sick people refusing to stay in quarantine as the government draws up emergency coronavirus laws.

The government will have the power to force people into quarantine, close shops, pubs and restaurants if necessary to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus questions answered

Q: Will my pension be affected?

A: It depends what type of pension you’re paying into, how far off retirement you are, or if you have already retired.

As a general rule of thumb, the longer you are from retiring, the less reason there is to be concerned.

Q: I’ve got a private pension and am a few months off retiring?

A: The closer you get to retiring, the more of your pot your pension provider will shift from equities (shares) into other assets, such as cash. Doing so will limit the impact of the slump should you opt for an annuity – an insurance policy that pays out in retirement.

Q: I’m retired and I opted for a drawdown pension. How am I affected?

A: Drawdowns allow you to flexibly take cash out of your pension pot as and when you want.

But your funds remain invested and, therefore, at the mercy of stock markets, so can go down as well as up.

Q: I’m in a defined benefit pension, including a final salary scheme, will I be affected?

A: Unlikely. While the share slump could well hit the fund you’re in, it’s the responsibility of the firm that’s behind it. As long as the firm – or “sponsor” – is doing OK, you’ll be fine.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said emergency powers would be passed into law this week.

A husband has meanwhile become British youngest fatal victim of the coronavirus pandemic, it is thought.

The 59-year-old man, who had underlying health conditions, died in a hospital in Bristol city centre.

His devastated wife called him her "soul mate," according to reports today.

In a statement, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said: "Sadly, we can confirm that a man who was being cared for at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, and had tested positive for Covid-19, has died.

"The patient who died was in his late-fifties and had underlying health conditions.

"The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. We will not be commenting further and ask that everybody respects the family's privacy."

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