Coronavirus live blog as it happened: positive UK cases rise by 208, Scotland confirms first death, mass disruption to sporting calendars

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 9:18 am
Updated Friday, 13th March 2020, 5:16 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty and Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance detailed the government's next steps to tackle the covid-19 threat yesterday (Getty Images)

Scroll down and refresh for the latest on the coronavirus outbreak, as we keep an eye on the national and global picture.

Before you do that here are some articles offering practical advice

We will be providing live updates until 5pm

Coronavirus live blog, March 13

Last updated: Friday, 13 March, 2020, 12:03

Chief Scientific Officer defends government measures

Sir Patrick Vallance has made an appearance on Radio 4 defending measures announced by the government last night following an emergency Cobra meeting.

Many had criticised the measures for being too relaxed compared to measures introduced in neighbouring countries

He said: "If you suppress something very hard, when you release those measures it bounces back at the wrong time so our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not to suppress it completely. So because most people get a mild illness, to build up some degree of herd immunity as well, so that more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission, at the same we protect those who are most vulnerable."

Canadian Prime Minister's wife test positive for Covid-19

Hudson-Odoi and Arteta test positive for Covid-19

Chelsea footballer Callum Hudson-Odoi and Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta have both tested positive for Covid-19. 

The Premier League are to meet today to weigh up action following the news. 

Italians sing to lift mood during lockdown

Italians under lockdown in Siena have taken to singing to lift the mood of fellow residents. 

In a clip uploaded by David Allegranti, singers can be heard sernading their neighbours above the empty streets below. 

Jeremy Hunt describes government's response as "concerning"

Former health minister, Jeremy Hunt, last night described the government's measures as "surprising and concerning".

Speaking to Jon Snow of Channel 4 news, Hunt questioned the government's decision to not ban mass gatherings. 

He said: "You would have thought that every single thing we do in that four weeks would be designed to slow the spread of people catching the virus,

He added that he was "personally surprised that we're still allowing external visits to care homes."

Mayor of Madrid refuses to rule out lockdown of city

José Luia Martínez-Almeida, the Mayor of Spain's capital, has refused to rule out a lockdown of the city. 

He said: "We can’t say that it’s going to happen immediately, nor can we say we’ve ruled it out. "

Many British holidaymakers will be concerned about visiting the country which has recorded 3,146 positive cases and 86 deaths. Read the latest on travel advice to the country here

Health chief explains why Old Firm debry will go ahead and "draconian measures" won't be introduced

Professor Jason Leitch, who is responsible for planning in the Scottish NHS, has explained why Scotland and the rest of the UK aren't resorting to "draconian measures". 

He said: said: "The best science available says that if you allow the growth at a certain level - and you can't control 60 million people exactly - we will control the rising of the peak and we won't create a second peak. We fear that in other parts of the world that's what they're doing."

Explaining why the Old Firm debry between Rangers and Celtic this Sunday will go ahead, he said: "The shifts are already in place... the plans are already in place... so over the weekend we are comfortable we can manage both in the health service and at the Old Firm game."

Wetherspoons staff in Edinburgh self-isolate after manager tests for Covid-19

Staff at Wetherspoon pubs in Edinburgh are self-isolating while a pub manager at The Playfair within the OMNi centre undergoes testing for coronavirus.

The manager recently returned from Italy and is being tested for COVID-19 with results expected back later today.

Read more here

Doncaster school in lockdown

Pupils and staff at a Doncaster school have been told to self isolate after a member of staff came into contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

A school spokesperson at West Road Primary Academy said: “Due to the fact that member of staff has had direct contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, we have been advised by Public Health to close our Year 1 Unit. “Therefore all Year 1 children and staff must self-isolate.

Read more here

Donald Trump takes aim at Barack Obama...

President Donald Trump has blamed Barack Obama for the United States' response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has come under criticism in recent days.

Wales vs Scotland to go ahead

Wales vs Scotland will go ahead this Saturday as planned.  

In a statement, the Welsh Rugby Union said: "WRU representatives have been in dialogue with Welsh Assembly Government minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething, who provided much-needed clarity on the Cobra meeting held yesterday.

"Throughout, the WRU board have followed the scientific advice of government, Public Health Wales and medical experts and determined that any game would be held or postponed based on that advice.

"Enhanced facilities for hand-washing and sanitisation will be available at the stadium, and there are measures in place to manage any issues with attendees on the day.

"In addition, supporters are urged to follow the advice that is widely available on government websites in relation to the virus."

Premier League, EFL and WSL suspended until April 3

The English Premier League, English Football League and FA Women's SUper League have all been suspended until April 3.

In an official statement the FA said: Following a meeting of Shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: "Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19. 

"In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority."

Scottish football - including Old Firm - to be suspended

Earlier today we brought you comment from Jason Leitch of the Scottish NHS sayign that the Old Firm derby would go ahead, but that is no longer the case. 

More on Scottish football suspension

Staff union for the NHS ask government for po of private hospital beds'

Warren Kenny of GMB London has asked that the government give them powers to utilise private hospital beds should the public sector's capacity be stretched to it's limits by the spread of Covid-19. 

He said:  "There are approximately 128,000 overnight beds in the NHS in England. Only a small number of these are intensive care beds.

"It is not clear what the current numbers are of beds in private sector hospitals but estimates put the figure somewhere in the region of 8,000. Some of these will also be intensive care beds.

"GMB London know that all sorts of contingency plans will be being drawn up in the background by very capable medical and scientific advisers to deal with the emergency. Some of these plans will involve cooperation with private sector hospitals.

"However, the Government and their advisers must have available to them the powers to requisition these hospital beds if required to increase capacity to deal with the crisis."

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