Forty two more people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK in one of the biggest rises in a 24-hour period – taking the national total to 206.
The vast majority of confirmed infections of COVID-19 – the disease caused by coronavirus – are in England.
They include 29 in London; 24 in the South East; 22 in the South West; 21 in the North West; 13 in the North East and Yorkshire; 12 in the Midlands; 11 in the East of England, and 15 where the locations have not yet been established.
In Cornwall, a second case has been confirmed – a resident of the county who had travelled to northern Italy, which has been severely hit by the global outbreak. A resident of Leicestershire is also one of the latest cases.
There have been five more infections in Scotland, taking the number of cases there to 16.
Two new cases have been reported in Lanarkshire, with an increase of one case in Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Grampian.Two new cases have been reported in Lanarkshire, with an increase of one case in Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Grampian.
The Department of Health said as of 7am today, some 21,460 people have been tested in the UK, of which 21,254 were negative.
They are a man aged in his early 80s who passed away at Milton Keynes Hospital and a woman in her 70s who lost her life in hospital in Reading, Berkshire.
They died earlier this week and both were thought to have had underlying health conditions.
The UK’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries has told Sky News that the country “has planned for pandemic flu for many, many years”.
She added: “It’s important at any time of year, particularly in winter, that if you have elderly relatives and are particularly unwell yourselves, you should avoid visiting them.”
The government has been urging people to refrain from stockpiling – amid reports that some supermarkets are running out of toilet roll, painkillers and certain non-perishable goods.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed that the government is “working to makes sure that if people are self-isolating, they will be able to get the food and supplies that they need”.
In China – the epicentre of the outbreak – a hotel used to house people in quarantine has collapsed, trapping about 70 people.
It happened in the city of Quanzhou, in southeastern Fujian Province. So far, at least 23 people have been rescued.
Meanwhile, a coronavirus-hit cruise ship with more than 3,500 people on board, including 140 Britons, which is off the Californian coast, has been directed to a non-commercial port for testing.
It comes after 21 people on the Grand Princess tested positive for the illness.