Deadly coronavirus outbreak in West Midlands 'linked to church attended by infected worshipper'

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2 min read
BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 19:  A sparse number of shoppers in New Street on March 19, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
A sparse number of shoppers in New Street in Birmingham (Picture: Getty)

A coronavirus outbreak in the West Midlands that has killed several people has been linked to a worshipper who attended a church without knowing they were infected, a new report claims.

The person is said to have passed COVID-19 to two other members of the congregation after they attended a service, according to a source who talked to The Times.

The origin of the outbreak was traced back to the worshipper after a patient was tested for the infection when they died, the newspaper added.

At least 21 people have died from coronavirus in the West Midlands, which is only second to London for the number of fatalities.

BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 19:  A sparse number of shoppers in the Bull Ring on March 19, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
The Bull Ring in Birmingham (Picture: Getty)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday the Government was looking “very, very closely” at why there was a coronavirus hotspot in the West Midlands.

The number of people across the country who have died after testing positive for COVID-19 reached 233 on Saturday, with a 41-year-old patient thought to be the youngest victim in the UK since the outbreak began.

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All 53 whose deaths were announced in England had underlying health conditions and the eldest was 94, NHS England said.

Wales’s death toll has risen to five, Scotland’s now stands at seven and Northern Ireland’s remains at one.

NHS England announced on Saturday it had struck a deal with the country’s independent hospitals to provide thousands more staff and nurses to the public healthcare system.

Under the agreement, the independent sector will reallocate practically its entire national hospital capacity en bloc to the NHS.

It will be reimbursed “at cost” – meaning that it will not make any profit for doing so.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said they were taking “immediate and exceptional action” to gear up to deal with an unprecedented global health threat.

“The NHS is doing everything in its power to expand treatment capacity, and is working with partners right across the country to do so,” he said.