Wales, UK: Latest updates on Coronavirus

Last updated April 1 at 20:34 p.m. BST

Health boards across Wales have reported a total of 1,837 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and a death toll of 98, according to data from geographic information system, ArcGIS. U.K. coronavirus cases have topped 29,474 while at least 2,352 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.K. have died.

The newly discovered virus, which causes fever, tiredness and a dry persistent cough, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is now circulating in all of the country’s eight counties, with 32 of the 1,837 cases yet to be confirmed.

“The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the National Health Service (NHS),” Robin Howe, Incident Director at Public Health Wales said in a statement on April 1. “People no longer need to contact [the NHS on hotline 111 from the United Kingdom] if they think they may have contracted novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” Howe said. 

Anyone who suspects that they have caught the virus has been advised to avoid visiting their GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy. Only if coronavirus symptoms become unmanageable, worsen or do not get better after seven days should the hotline be called, Howe said.

In an effort to stamp out the virus and to stop the NHS from collapsing under pressure, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday (March 27) — issued a televised “stay-at-home” order on March 24, which bans citizens from leaving their homes unless absolutely essential. The four limited purposes for venturing outside are: doing one form of exercise a day either on your own or with household family members, traveling to or from work if vital, providing medical services or shopping for basic necessities.

“You should not be meeting friends [and] you should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home,” Johnson said in the statement.

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The intended three-week lockdown, which could be extended, echoes the restrictions imposed on Britain during World War II, and sees the closure of non-essential shops, gyms and places of worship. Social events, which violate the rules of social distancing, such as weddings and christenings, have also been postponed. Johnson, however, has allowed for funerals to take place.

“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope. There won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and Vaccine Group have begun recruiting 510 healthy 18-55 year-old volunteers for an upcoming coronavirus vaccine trial.

The university’s announcement on their Twitter account states the trial is a “crucial step” in the fight against the virus, which makes use of adenovirus cells derived from chimpanzees. Adenoviruses are common viruses that can cause mild to severe illnesses, including cold-like symptoms, sore throat, pneumonia, conjunctivitis and fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“A chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector (ChAdOx1) was chosen as the most suitable vaccine technology for a [COVID-19] vaccine as it can generate a strong immune response from one dose and it is not a replicating virus, so it cannot cause an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual,” Oxford University said in an online statement.

“This also makes it safer to give to children, the elderly and anyone with a pre-existing condition such as diabetes. Chimpanzee adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type, having been used safely in thousands of subjects, from one week to 90 years of age, in vaccines targeting over ten different diseases,” the researchers said.

National Health Service (NHS) COVID-19 hotline: 111

For life-threatening emergencies: 999

Cases by health boards and the regions they serve:

  • Aneurin Bevan (Gwent): 681
  • Betsi Cadwaladr (Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Wrexham): 91
  • Cardiff and Vale University (Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan): 460
  • Cwm Taf Morgannwg (Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf): 210
  • Hywel Dda University (Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion): 107
  • Powys Teaching (Powys): 29
  • Swansea Bay University (Neath, Swansea and Port Talbot): 213
  • Residents outside Wales: 14
  • To be confirmed: 32

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