A total of 5,018 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK, a rise of more than 1,000 in a day. The actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher.
The number of deaths is now 233, according to the latest figures available. Some 67,800 other people in the UK have been tested for the respiratory infection but were found not to have it.
All schools in the UK have now closed, except for vulnerable pupils or children of key workers.
Cafes, bars, leisure centres and other social venues have also been told to close.
Find out how many people have confirmed cases in your area:
The following charts and graphics will help you understand the situation in the UK and how the authorities are dealing with it.
1. The UK has increased measures to combat the virus
The new coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease known as Covid-19, was first confirmed in the UK at the end of January.
While there were a number of people testing positive throughout February, figures in the UK began to increase at the beginning of March.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further significant measures telling cafes, pubs and restaurants to close from Friday night, except for take-away food.
Night clubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres were also told to close.
The government had already asked people to work from home where possible, halt all unnecessary travel, and asked those aged over 70 to self isolate at home in the coming weeks.
While rising, confirmed UK figures are lower than other European countries, such as Italy, for example, where there have been more than 53,500 cases and almost 5,000 deaths, according to 21 March figures from the Johns Hopkins University.
Globally, authorities have confirmed more than 297,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 12,700 deaths.
There have now been more cases in the rest of the world outside China, the country where the virus originated in December, than inside.
2. We are in the second phase of the government’s response
The government has published its action plan for dealing with the virus, which involves three phases – contain; delay; mitigate – alongside ongoing research.
While the emphasis has been on the contain and research phases up until this week, the country has now moved to the “delay” phase to stop the wider spread of the virus.
As part of the delay phase, people with even mild coronavirus symptoms – defined as a temperature above 37.8 C or a “new, continuous” cough – are being asked to self-isolate at home for at least seven days to protect others and help slow the spread of the disease.
Even if you have no symptoms, the government says you should still:
- Stop all non-essential contact with others
- Stop all unnecessary travel
- Work at home where possible
- Avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues
The government is now encouraging self-isolation at home for over 70s, and those more vulnerable to the virus, for 12 weeks from Friday.
Mr Johnson said that through “determined collective action and scientific progress, we will turn the tide of this disease and beat it together”.
British nationals should avoid all non-essential foreign travel to tackle the spread of coronavirus, the Foreign Office has advised.
If the virus becomes even more widespread, the government may then decide to enter the third phase of mitigation, when health services are asked to focus on critical care and retired NHS staff could be asked to return to work.
3. People who think they have coronavirus should self-isolate
Symptoms include a high temperature and a “new, continuous” cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
If you think you have coronavirus you are advised not to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Instead, you stay at home for seven days. If you live with other people – they should also stay home for 14 days to see if they develop symptoms.
If your symptoms persist or worsen you should contact the NHS’s dedicated 111 online coronavirus service or call 111.