15 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Lancashire after 6,650 test positive in UK
15 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Lancashire, bringing the total number to 66 in the county.
Figures released by Public Health England reveal 6,650 people have tested positive for Covid-19 as of 9am today (March 23) - an increase of 967 from the day before (March 22).
There are now 59 confirmed cases in areas managed by Lancashire County Council, six in Blackpool, and one Blackburn with Darwen case.
This brings the total number of cases to 66 in the county.
335 people in the UK have now died after testing positive for Covid-19 - an increase of 54 since yesterday.
Scotland and Wales also reported another four deaths each, taking the totals to 14 and 16 respectively.
Two people have died in Northern Ireland.
Patients were aged between 47 and 105 years old and all had underlying health conditions,” said an NHS England statement.
“Their families have been informed.”
Today it was confirmed Bill Smith, from Great Harwood, died at Royal Blackburn Hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.
Mr Smith was in his 80s and suffered from underlying health conditions. He passed away on the intensive care unit.
His death is the first to be confirmed in Lancashire.
As the number of cases of coronavirus in the UK continues to climb, the government is urging people to follow its guidance on social distancing in an effort to contain the spread.
The government is currently advising Britons to avoid unnecessary social contact and travel amid the health pandemic, but there are fears the country could be put under full lockdown if people fail to follow the advice.
While the drastic measure has not yet been announced, if it is implemented it is expected to last for at least “several months”, and possibly up to a year to allow the country to get over the worst of the virus.
The prime minister has cancelled his daily coronavirus news conference and will instead make a "statement to the country" tonight at 8.30pm.
Boris Johnson has been chairing an emergency COBRA meeting over the pandemic this afternoon.
The UK is currently only advising people to follow social distancing measures, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the government “may have to take further action” if people continue to flout social distancing rules of staying two metres away from each other.
Mr Hancock told Sky News: "This is not the sort of thing that anybody would want to do but, of course, it is the sort of thing we might have to do in order to protect life.
"If you do go out, you must not get closer than two metres from someone who isn't in your household.
"It is a really simple rule and incredibly important, because to protect life and the NHS we need to stop the spread of this virus and the virus spreads by people coming into close contact with each other."
The Health Secretary condemned the behaviour of people ignoring social-distancing rules as "very selfish".
Mr Johnson said further measures would be considered in the next 24 hours to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if people fail to stay 2m (6.5ft) apart.