A THIRD patient who tested positive for coronavirus in the UK has died tonight – as ministers warned 100,000 Brits could die from the deadly bug.
Medical experts are now expected to recommend the government move into its second "delay" phase in a desperate attempt to stop the killer virus.
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The Department of Health and Social Care this evening confirmed a third patient in the UK had died from the virus.
The man, in his 60s, was being treated at the North Manchester General Hospital.
A spokesman for North Manchester General Hospital said: "The man in his sixties tested positive after travelling to Italy and had a number of underlying health problems.
"Our thoughts are with the patient's family who are being supported by our specialist bereavement staff."
Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: "I am very sorry to report that a third patient in England who tested positive for Covid-19 has sadly died.
"I offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends and ask that their privacy is respected."
He said that contact tracing was already under way.
Meanwhile it was revealed 273 people had tested positive for Covid 19 today – up from 209 yesterday.
The jump of 64 cases comes after the "worst case scenario" of 100,000 deaths were revealed by the Sunday Times overnight.
One official who has been involved in the planning said: "The central estimate of deaths is about 100,000.
"Everyone has been focusing on the worst case but this is what the experts actually expect to happen. Some of those people would have died of other flus."
The death toll now stands at three – after two elderly patients in Milton Keynes and Berkshire became the first to die from the disease in the UK.
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who sits on the Cobra committee, today said a 100,000 coronavirus death toll was a "worst case scenario".
Among the 100,000 are those most likely to die from seasonal flu, which averaged 17,000 over the past five years.
The Prime Minister is set to head an emergency Cobra meeting on Monday to discuss how to halt the spread of the killer bug.
Part of the government's battle plan could see doctors brought out of retirement as well as encouraging people to work from home.
And supermarkets have been gripped by panic buying as Brits start to stock-piling tinned foods amid fears they will be put into lockdown for 14 days.
Among the most recent cases was an Oxford University student who tested positive "after returning home from a specified country".
There are currently more than 106,000 cases of the bug globally, with more than 3,590 deaths.
In Italy, 16 million people have been quarantined in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the killer bug.
More than a quarter of the country's population has been put into lockdown, including cities Venice and Milan, with sporting events, school classes, weddings and funerals banned.
The UK government is trying to prepare the public without causing widespread concern, with ministers already nervous about the effect on the economy.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, former Chancellor Philip Hammond said the government needed to address problems in supply chains to businesses, exposed by coronavirus.
He said contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit envisaged goods being "stuck on the other side of the Channel", The Times reported.
But Mr Hammond said the risk with coronavirus is that "goods and components are not being manufactured at all because factories have closed down and shipping is disrupted".
He added that the spread of the disease had the potential to create a "catalyst for a tipping point in the economy", or even push the UK into recession.
"Obviously if growth becomes negative the prospect of a recession looms" he said.
"Growth is stronger in the UK than it is in quite a few other countries in Europe, but it’s not anywhere near as robust as we would have liked it to be going into this kind of crisis."
He urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to create a war chest to counter the potential effects of a no-deal Brexit, to stimulate the economy should the crisis escalate.
On Friday an 83-year-old great-grandfather became the second person to die in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus.
The victim had been admitted to Milton Keynes Hospital with pneumonia on March 3 and was described as "somebody older" who had "underlying health conditions".
It is understood the pensioner had visited several countries on a dream Caribbean cruise and officials are now scrambling to contact others he had been in contact with.
His family claim medics didn't spot the deadly disease – and left him coughing on an open ward before his death.
The Sun Online understands 10 members of hospital staff and five patients have been put into isolation following his death.
A source said: "He was coughing excessively and another patient in the ward had complained to a nurse that should be checking him for coronavirus.
"The nurse told him not to worry about it and that he is being dealt with."
The first death came on Thursday when a 75-year-old woman died after testing positive for Covid-19.
Health chiefs said the woman had been suffering underlying health conditions and was "in and out of hospital" before passing away at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.
The government yesterday revealed a £46m emergency package to help find a coronavirus vaccine and develop a faster test for the virus.
But there are fears the disease could peak around Easter and last for six months – with millions set to be infected.
Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, warned Britain was at the start of an outbreak.
He said: "We have cases across Europe, across the world, this is a global epidemic and we would expect to see more cases in the UK.
"We've got a reasonable worst-case scenario… that involves 80 per cent of the population and we think the mortality rate is one per cent or lower. I expect it to be less than that.
"It takes about 12 weeks to reach the peak then maybe about 12 weeks to go away again.
"You expect about 90 per cent of cases in the nine weeks in the middle of that and 50 per cent of cases in the three weeks of the middle of that."
Up until now most cases were in clusters around people who had travelled back to the UK from aboard.
But now – with the rate of cases rocketing – the outbreak from person to person in communities has taken hold.
Two British Airways baggage handlers working at Heathrow Airport are among the new positive tests, sparking fears over how many items of luggage they handled while carrying the virus.
A ward at Watford General Hospital was evacuated after a patient was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.
Meanwhile a child at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool has also tested positive for coronavirus.
The patient is one of at least three children in the UK to have become infected with the deadly bug.
Last week, a pupil at Churston Ferrers Grammar School in Torbay, Devon, was diagnosed after returning from holiday in northern Italy.
A pupil at Kingston Academy school in Surrey also tested positive after returning to the UK from a foreign trip.
Elderly patients are the most vulnerable to the virus, with mortality rates of around nine per cent – one in every 11 people – recorded so far in people aged over 80.
In children and adults aged under 30 the mortality rate plummets to fewer than one in every 500 cases.
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