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Coronavirus may have been spreading around the UK for two months before it was detected

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Reports suggest that coronavirus may have been spreading across the UK since late 2019, months before it was detected.

The World Health Organisation has said that it was struggling to obtain information regarding coronavirus from China in the early days, before it was declared a global pandemic. 

The Guardian reports that genetic analyses of the new coronavirus suggested the virus emerged in humans in China in late November to early December 2019, with some data suggesting the first known case was observed on November 17th.

China’s official submission to the WHO states the first infection was December 8th. 

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The first confirmed date of coronavirus in the UK was January 31st. But as our understanding of the range of distinct symptoms of the virus has grown, many people wonder if they or their loved ones could have had it earlier. 

Dr Stephen Baker at Cambridge University’s Infectious Diseases Institute told The Guardian: “People are on heightened awareness about any sort of respiratory infection and it is easy to retrofit stories to things.

“Let’s say it was kicking off fairly substantially in Wuhan and people weren’t being informed: could there have been people travelling to and from China at that point who may have been infected by coronavirus? That is completely possible. Is it then possible that they transmitted the virus to other people when they were in the UK? Yes, of course that’s possible.”

Last month it was reported that swabs from a man, thought to be suffering from pneumonia, tested positive for Covid-19 in Paris on December 27th. This would mean that COVID-19 was in Europe a month earlier than previously thought.

Last month Tim Spector, an epidemiologist professor reporting on the symptom-tracking app developed at King College London, said: “The reports I am getting are from people who were ill from early January onwards and strongly suggest they had Covid-19 but were not recognised as such.”

On March 13th, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies concluded that: “there are more cases in the UK than previously thought and we may therefore be further ahead of the epidemic curve”.

Dr Baker explained that it would take an influx of infected people to cause real growth in the epidemic in the UK. He attributes this potentially people coming back from holidays in February half term such as ski holidays in Italy.

He said: It’s really at the point when you get a number of introductions in one go that onward transmission is more likely to happen … as soon as you get a certain number of the population infected in one go then you make that expansion of an epidemic [more likely].”

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Baker also says that not everyone who has coronavirus is equally infectious and earlier cases might have been people who did not come into contact with others. He said: “When you’re ill, you tend to stay at home, so people may have been self-isolating on the basis that they didn’t feel very well.”

A clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at King’s College London, Nathalie MacDermott, has said that the virus could have been spreading silently and gaining access to more vulnerable sections of the population. 

The WHO has encouraged countries to investigate other suspicious cases to better understand the circulation of the virus. 

Public Health England has also acknowledged that it ‘cannot exclude the possibility that Covid-19 was in the UK in December or early January’.

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26-year-old who died in horror crash named as family pay tribute to ‘sensitive soul’

‘Saadat was a much-loved brother, son, and great human being’

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A 26-year-old man who was killed in a horror crash in Manchester this weekend has been named.

Three others were critically injured in the collision, but have since been confirmed as being in a ‘stable’ condition by police.

The incident occurred on Chancellor Lane around 7am Sunday morning, and within minutes officers had attended the scene.

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The man who sadly passed away has now been named as Saadat Shah, with his family paying tribute to the ‘sensitive soul’.

Saadat’s family said: “Saadat was a much-loved brother, son, and great human being. His life was just starting, and he just came back from Paris for his birthday last week.

“He had so many plans and was going to get married soon. He was very close with all members of his family, and he greatly loved everyone.

“A sensitive soul, he will be dearly missed by everyone forever. RIP.”

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According to police, a car travelling away from the city centre lost control before colliding with a bollard – with no other vehicles involved.

Four men were taken to hospital to be treated, however Saadat sadly passed away despite the best efforts of medics

The other three occupants, aged 23, 24 and 29, suffered ‘life threatening injuries’, however in an update on Monday, December 5th, a Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said the car’s driver was in a ‘critical but stable’ condition.

The vehicle’s two other passengers are also in a stable condition, police said, but both have serious injuries.

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No arrests have been made in relation to the crash, and GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit are still appealing for anyone who may have seen the accident during the early hours to get in touch.

Officers want to speak to anyone who may have footage – including dashcam, mobile phone or CCTV/doorbell footage – from the area in the moments both before and after the crash.

Anyone with information can contact police on 0161 856 4741 quoting incident 713 of 4/12/22, or pass on details via their LiveChat function at www.gmp.police.uk or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Five-year-old girl becomes ninth child to die after contracting Strep A

Make sure you know what signs to look out for

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A five-year-old girl has sadly passed away after contracting Strep A, making her the ninth child to die after becoming ill with the infection.

The girl, who went to the Black Mountain Primary School in Northern Ireland, became severely ill last week before being treated at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Tragically she passed away on Monday, December 5th.

According to the BBC, the Public Health Agency (PHA) sent a letter to parents of children at the school on Friday, asking them to attend a clinic to be seen by a doctor and receive a preventative course of antibiotics.

Black Mountain Primary has said the girl’s death was a tragic loss, as it seeks to reassure parents that it was working closely with the PHA.

Meanwhile across the rest of the UK, seven children in England and one in Wales have sadly died since September as a result of complications from Strep A bacterial infections.

The message from health officials is for parents to be vigilant, and that while most cases of Strep A are mild, if your child deteriorates rapidly you should seek urgent medical advice.

According to some experts, the UK is experiencing this outbreak due to the last two years of the Covid pandemic where children didn’t mix as much.

This means their systems are not immune to a number of different infections, and there’s been a warning that the number of cases of both Strep A and scarlet fever will rise in the next few weeks.

The chairman of the GP committee of the British Medical Association, Dr Alan Stout, has said that the number of deaths among children in the UK was ‘slightly unusual’.

He said: “The last proper outbreak was four or five years ago, there were maybe four deaths associated with that – not even direct effect, but associated with the infection. So to get to eight or nine now [across the UK] is slightly unusual.”

Warning signs of the invasive disease include a fever (a high temperature above 38C) and severe muscle aches.

The UKHSA is advising anyone with a high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea to seek urgent medical assistance.

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Cheers star Kirstie Alley dies aged 71 after short illness 

Sad news this morning

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Cheers star Kirstie Alley has sadly passed away aged 71 after a short illness.

Alley also starred with John Travolta in the 1989 romantic comedy Look Who’s Talking, as well as on Celebrity Big Brother.

Her children posted an update to Instagram: “To all our friends, far and wide around the world…

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered.

“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.

“We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care.

“Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did.

“We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.

“With love always, True and Lillie Parker”.

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