Tory MP claims Hyde Park will be coronavirus morgue – then backtracks

A Tory MP claimed London's Hyde Park could be turned into a coronavirus morgue – before denying there were plans to do so.

Nickie Aiken, Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, initially said there "contingency plans to open up a morgue in Hyde Park, in tents."

In an interview, she said: "We would run the morgue for most of central London."

Later, Aiken went on to say there were in fact no such plans.

She said: "There are no plans to turn Hype Park into a morgue. I've had that confirmed by Westminster City Council this evening."

The iconic London park was however once a used as a refuge from the plague in the 17th century.

Tonight, it was revealed a twentieth person has tested positive for coronavirus in the first case of transmission within the UK.

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The virus was passed on within the UK, Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Witty said.

The patient, a Surrey resident, is in isolation in a London hospital this evening.

Prof Whitty said: "The virus was passed on in the UK.

"It is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad.

"This is being investigated and contact tracing has begun. The patient has been transferred to a specialist NHS infection centre at Guy's and St Thomas'."

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The patient has not been identified by health bosses.

The  Guardian  reported earlier today that a Surrey GP was feared to have the illness, raising fears for the patients he has been seeing.

The newspaper reported the potential case had prompted alarm among health officials trying to curtail the spread of the virus as they launched an urgent investigation to trace his patients.

However PHE said the latest confirmed patient in Surrey was not a doctor.

Dr Alison Barnett, Centre Director at Public Health England South East, said: "Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

"One of the latest cases is a resident of Surrey and we're working closely with NHS colleagues in that area as well as Surrey County Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases."

She continued: "Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case.

"This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public."

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