Confirmed coronavirus cases rise as first Hertfordshire patient tests positive
PUBLISHED: 14:41 29 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:52 01 March 2020
Three more patients have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK today, with one of the cases confirmed as being in Hertfordshire.
The Department of Health tweeted the update at around 2pm this afternoon.
In total, 23 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.
Tweeting, England's Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty, said: "As of 9am this morning, three further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19 [coronavirus]
"Two patients recently returned from Italy and the other returned from Asia. All three are being investigated and contact tracing has begun."
Government officials are yet to confirm the exact location within the county.
Public Health England East and Hertfordshire County Council have issued a joint statement following the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Herts.
Dr David Edwards, consultant in health protection, Public Health England East, said: "Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
"The case is a resident of Hertfordshire and we're working closely with NHS colleagues in that area as well as Hertfordshire County Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.
"Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case.
"This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public."
Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health, Jim McManus, added: "There is no need for Hertfordshire residents to be unduly concerned.
"We expect to have cases of coronavirus arising and our services have planned for, and are ready, for this situation.
"Current evidence indicates that most cases appear to be mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a fever and a cough.
"Following Government guidance to take basic hygiene precautions remains the best way of significantly reducing the chances of spreading any virus: sneeze or cough into a tissue, bin it, wash your hands frequently and don't touch your face unless you've just washed your hands.
"We should do this all day every day as we should for flu."
Further updates to follow as we get them.