New coronavirus warning as smokers and vapers ‘more likely’ to get deadly bug

A new coronavirus warning has been issued to smokers and vapers amid the rising death toll.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has today said that smoking and vaping increases a person's vulnerability to becoming infected by COVID-19.

De Blasio also said people over the age of 50 and with heart disease, lung disease, cancer, immune system vulnerability or diabetes are at a higher risk of becoming infected with the virus.

It comes as the coronavirus death toll from around the world rose to 3,600.

More than 106,000 people have been infected and of that number more than 270 are in the UK.

As of 9am on Sunday, 273 people had been diagnosed with Covid-19 – an increase of 67 from the 206 cases confirmed at 7am on Saturday.

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It represents the largest day-on-day increase in diagnoses.

More than 23,500 people have been tested for the virus in the UK, with two patients with Covid-19 having died.

Two more cases have been confirmed in Scotland, bringing the total there to 18.

On Saturday night, three more people were diagnosed in Northern Ireland pushing its total to seven, while on Sunday morning it was announced confirmed cases in Wales had risen from two to four.

Supermarkets have started placing restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling.

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Commenting on reports of people panic-buying in shops, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday: "We've had no advice from the scientific advisers or medical officers that there's any need for people to buy stuff in.

"If you think you have symptoms, the best thing to do as you know is to stay at home and contact the NHS.

"We will make sure we give the NHS… the investment it needs to cope with this crisis."

The latest coronavirus figures were published as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a "national effort" is required to tackle the outbreak.

He hailed the "good example" set by a group of people released from hospital quarantine on Sunday, who had been repatriated to the UK last month from the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

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The group of 30 Britons and two Irish nationals are now allowed to leave Arrowe Park hospital in the Wirral, having been given the all-clear from infection.

Mr Hancock said: "Tackling coronavirus is a national effort and they have set a good example for the rest of the public as more people may need to self-isolate themselves at home.

"Public safety is our top priority and we all have a part to play in containing the spread of the virus."

Meanwhile in Italy, more than a quarter of the population has been placed in mandatory quarantine as the government attempts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

On Sunday evening, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was advising against all but essential travel to a wide area of northern Italy, including the popular tourist destinations of Venice and Milan.

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One unnamed man diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK told BBC Radio 4 he was "shocked" and "surprised" at the lack of coronavirus information when he arrived at Manchester Airport after a skiing holiday in northern Italy last weekend.

Immediately self-isolating at home with his wife, he said the experience of being tested was "frightening" but was now feeling "well recovered" as he waited for a further test.

"By self-isolating think of all the lives we've saved," he said.

Mr Hancock has set out plans contained in emergency legislation to deal with the impact of the virus.

The Bill, which is likely to go through Parliament by the end of the month, is expected to include measures to allow some court proceedings to be conducted via telephone or video.

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Volunteers will be given additional employment safeguards, allowing them to leave their main jobs and temporarily help health and social systems in the event of a widespread pandemic.

The chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Martin Marshall, told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday that tackling coronavirus will likely lead to hospitals having to cut down on "other work".

He also said he expected retired doctors and other medical professionals to answer the Government's call to assist with the crisis.

"Most likely these doctors, because they are in the higher risk patient group, would not do face-to-face contact but there's lots of things they can do – managing 111, providing online care or telephone-based care," he said.

  • NHS
  • World Health Organisation
  • Smoking
  • Vaping
  • Coronavirus

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