FILE PHOTO: A woman wears a surgical mask as she sits in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON (Reuters) – The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom has risen by 64 to 273, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Sunday, a leap of 30% and the biggest one-day increase so far.
More than 23,500 people in Britain have been tested for the virus. So far, two patients have died. The biggest concentration of cases is in London, which has had 51.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government would invest whatever was needed to deal with the spread of the virus, including more money for the health service and help for companies suffering short-term cash flow problems.
After reports of people stockpiling goods such as hand sanitizer, soap, dried pasta and toilet rolls, the government said on Friday that supermarkets had contingency plans in place to prevent shortages.
Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, said it was restricting bulk buying of several products in stores and online. Customers will be limited to buying five units of items such as anti-bacterial gels and wipes, dried pasta and long-life milk.
The government said the environment minister would hold a call with the chief executives of Britain’s main supermarkets and industry representatives on Monday to discuss their response to the coronavirus, in particular support for vulnerable groups in isolation. It follows a similar call on Friday.
The government also set out details of planned emergency legislation, including the possibility of holding more court proceedings via telephone or video link, and steps to protect the jobs of those who volunteer for the health service.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency committee on Monday.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Kevin Liffey
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