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Three new coronavirus cases in Scotland takes UK total to 90

Three new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Scotland, taking the UK total to 90.

It comes as England's chief medical officer told MPs the UK is now in the second phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Professor Chris Whitty said Britain was "mainly" in the "delay" phase of the government's four-stage approach to COVID-19.

He said he was "optimistic" action to try and contain the spread of the virus could be a success.

But added he was expecting the number of UK cases to go up later on Thursday and over the coming weeks due to evidence of "some level of community transmission".

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Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, said the new patients are from the Forth Valley, Greater Glasgow & Clyde, and Grampian areas.

All of them tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, after coming into contact with others who already had the virus.

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It brings the total number of confirmed cases in Scotland to six.

Dr Calderwood said: "Clinicians are now conducting contact tracing, the process of gathering details of the places those who have tested positive visited and the people they have been in contact with."

She said close contact involves either face-to-face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an infected person.

The risk is very low in situations where someone may have passed a patient on the street or in a shop, she added.

On Wednesday, 36 new patients in the UK were confirmed to have tested positive – 32 in England, two in Scotland and two in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health said three of the new cases in England contracted the virus in the UK, raising fears that community transmission may now be taking hold.

In its 27-page plan to deal with a major outbreak, the government has said up to one in five workers could be off sick during a peak in coronavirus cases.

In a worst case scenario, it said up to 80% of the population could become infected, with people hospitalised with pneumonia and a relatively high death rate among the elderly and frail.

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