UK scraps coronavirus plans to isolate patients as sufferers told to stay home

Attempts to quarantine patients with coronavirus in specialist centres have been abandoned as cases with milder symptoms are told to self-isolate at home.

The first person with coronavirus has died in Britain, believed to be an elderly woman in Berkshire.

The Mirror understands that the patient had not recently travelled abroad and authorities are trying to work out how she was infected in the UK.

This death marks a new phase in tackling Covid-19 as attempts to isolate confirmed cases in specialist centres is abandoned.

Patients with milder symptoms will be allowed to remain in the community and will now be instructed to self isolate and stay at home.

Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said: "I'm very sorry to announce that a patient earlier on today died of novel coronavirus.

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"The patient was elderly and with underlying health conditions.

"Our condolences are absolutely with the family at what must be a very difficult time."

The shift to stopping efforts to isolate infected patients in specialist centres is part of a move from the "containment" strategy to "delay".

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Only patients who are seriously ill with the virus will now be taken to hospital.

Prof Whitty added: "Where people have mild symptoms and they are clinically safe we think it's more pleasant for them to self isolate in their own home."

Of the 116 Brits who have tested positive 45 of the 98 who have not recovered are now self isolating at home.

Dr Susan Hopkins, infection director at Public Health England, said: "Many of them are self isolating and only coming out of their bedroom to get food and water."

A spokesman for the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust said: "Sadly, we can confirm that an older patient with underlying health conditions has died.

"The patient has previously been in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons, but on this occasion was admitted and last night tested positive for coronavirus.

"The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We will not be commenting further and ask that everybody respects the family’s privacy."

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