Elderly British man becomes second UK coronavirus death as total infected sees biggest leap yet to 163

AN ELDERLY British man has become the second patient to die after testing positive for the coronavirus as the total number infected has leapt to 163.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described as “somebody older” who had ”underlying health conditions”.

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The man is believed to have died at Milton Keynes Hospital.

Mr Hancock told ITV: "I am very sorry to hear the news of a second death here in the UK of somebody with coronavirus.

"My condolences go out to the family and to his loved ones."

It comes as the government's chief scientific adviser has today confirmed a coronavirus outbreak has started in Britain in a terrifying sign the deadly bug is now out of control.

Sir Patrick Vallance, 59, warned the killer disease is now exploding around the country and is easily passing from person to person.

Up until now most cases were in clusters around people who had travelled back to the UK from aboard.

However, now – with the rate of cases rocketing – the outbreak from person to person in communities has taken hold.

The Department of Health confirmed the bug is spreading at its fastest rate yet as a total of 47 people tested positive in the last 24 hours.

It comes as a second coronavirus victim is feared to have died at a hospital in Milton Keynes – just a day after a 75-year-old woman died in Reading after testing positive for the bug.

The chilling development means the Government's battle plan will inevitably reach the "delay stage" – meaning large scale events such as the London Marathon may be cancelled.

Children will also be allowed to complete schoolwork from home and one in five workers could be forced to stay away from the office.

Sir Patrick, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, told Sky News: "This is a global epidemic and we would expect to see more cases in the UK.

"This is the start of an outbreak clearly. We are in the position now where we have got person-to-person transmission of this in the UK and therefore we can expect more cases.

"This is now outbreaks in the community where we have got some individuals that we don’t know where it has come from.

"That tells you that something is circulating, we are definitely in that phase."

On Friday afternoon, patients at a ward in Milton Keynes Hospital were placed in isolation following the death of a man in his 80s.

It is feared the man died after becoming infected with coronavirus but health bosses have yet to confirm he was a positive case.

Yesterday, a 75-year-old British woman became the first patient to die in the UK after testing positive for the disease.

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.

More than 20,000 people have now been tested for coronavirus in the UK.

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