A British man has become the first UK citizen to die from coronavirus after being infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
He is the sixth passenger to die from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, Japan’s health ministry said.
Another person has tested positive for the virus in England, which they caught in the UK.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the UK now stands at 20.
Confirming the latest UK case, Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said: “It is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad.”
The patient has been transferred to a specialist NHS infection centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is due to chair an emergency Cobra committee meeting on Monday, said preparing for an outbreak in the UK was now the government’s “top priority”.
Speaking from Downing Street on Friday evening, Mr Johnson offered his condolences to the family of the British man who died from Covid-19.
When asked if the government should have acted sooner for Britons on the cruise ship, he said it had been following the “best medical advice” about not repatriating people unless it is certain there will not be a spread to the UK.
Mr Johnson has also faced criticism from Labour for waiting until Monday to hold the government Cobra meeting.
But he said he had been working behind the scenes, meeting with the health secretary and chief medical officers to discuss the NHS’s preparations.
Hundreds of people on board the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship became infected while it was held in quarantine off the port of Yokohama earlier this month.
A group of 30 British nationals and two Irish citizens were flown back to the UK from the cruise liner last Saturday.
They were taken on coaches to Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, where they are spending two weeks in isolation.
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