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Coronavirus came to UK 'at least 1,300 times'

11.06.20, 10:11
Coronavirus came to UK 'at least 1,300 times'
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Coronavirus was brought into the UK on at least 1,300 separate occasions, a major analysis of the genetics of the virus shows.

"This happened later than perhaps we would have expected," added Prof Loman.

The study estimates 80% of those initial cases arrived in the country between 28 Feb and 29 March - the time the UK was debating whether to lockdown.

After this point, the number of new imported cases diminished rapidly.

The earliest one could be traced back to the beginning of February, but it is possible there were cases even earlier that could not be picked up by the analysis.

The study also says the controversial football match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, on 11 March, probably had very little impact on bringing the virus into the country.

An estimated 3,000

fans flew in from Spain to watch the game, but there were 20,000 people flying in from Spain every single day in mid-March.

"[It] shows that individual events such as football matches likely made a negligible contribution to the number of imports at that time," the study says.

The imported cases each started off a chain of transmission where the virus is passed from one person, to the next, to the next and so on.

However, the study shows lockdown has massively disrupted the spread of the virus.

"If there's good news here, these chains of transmission were and are being suppressed and going extinct as a result of social distancing and we continue to see that now," Prof Loman said.

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