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Coronavirus: Number of cases in Kent confirmed at six

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Kent now stands at six.

Data published by Public Health England today reveals four are in Kent, with two in Medway.

The number of coronavirus cases in Kent has jumped to six
The number of coronavirus cases in Kent has jumped to six

The first instance of the virus in the county was diagnosed a week ago and involved an employee at an NHS trust who worked out of Maidstone studios in Maidstone. He had returned from a trip to Rome.

On Friday, news of Kent's second case emerged with health officials saying this person was connected to the first victim.

Yesterday Medway school St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School in Chatham announced it would be closed tomorrow and Tuesday for a deep clean after a Year 8 pupil tested positive for coronavirus.

It emerged this was one of two people confirmed in the Medway area as having COVID-19.

Public Health England publishes data based on local authority geography. Today it revealed the Kent County Council area has seen a jump to four instances with two in Medway. No further information has been reported on what links the cases might have.

Andrew Scott-Clark, KCC's director of public health speaking on Friday after a second Kent coronavirus diagnosis, has issued health advice

In a statement on the St John Fisher's website, Dympna Lennon wrote to say the school would be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

She said: "The school has acted in conjunction with Public Health England and acted on their guidance.

"If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed cases you do not need to take any action at this time.

"However, to ensure the well being of all our school community, I have taken the decision to close both sites of the school on Monday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10 to allow for a full and professional deep clean of all areas and surfaces."

James Williams, director of public health for Medway Council said: "In Medway, we are as on the front foot as anywhere else in the country so our community is at no further risk or any other risk as anywhere in the UK at this moment.

The Grand Princess cruise ship and Jackie Bissell, who is stuck in her cabin amid a coronavirus outbreak
The Grand Princess cruise ship and Jackie Bissell, who is stuck in her cabin amid a coronavirus outbreak

"We are hoping there isn't a surge in cases because of all the work that not just my team are doing but actually everyone else.

"We have seen a drop in terms of influenza-like illness in terms of this time last year and that's really good because that shows that some of the messages – particularly in terms of hand hygiene, not touching your face, catching it if you have a cold or whatever else, using a disposable tissue, and washing your hands after that or using hand gel –those kind of messages are getting through."

Meanwhile, a grandma from Dartford on board a cruise ship afflicted with COVID-19, is pleading for the government for help getting back to Britain.

Jackie Bissell has been on board the Grand Princess ship since Wednesday and is currently quarantined to her cabin on the ship off the coast of California.

The Department for Health and Social Care revealed the number of cases in Britain jumped to 273, up from 206 yesterday. It was confirmed tonight a third person in in Britain died from the virus.

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