THE North-East's first coronavirus case has been confirmed by Public Health England and a search to trace those who may have been in close contact with the patient is underway.

On Wednesday (March 4), a case of Covid-19 in Newcastle was confirmed by health officials as the government announced the number of cases had significantly jumped since yesterday.

Despite patients testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this year and receiving treatment at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI)in Newcastle, this is the first case to be confirmed in the region.

A coronavirus case has also been confirmed in York this afternoon. An email to councillors from City of York Council’s director of public health says the authority has been advised of one positive case of the virus.

It says: “This case came about as a result of travel to northern Italy and the individual followed all necessary health advice and has been in self-isolation at home so there is a very low risk of the virus having been transferred to anyone in York.”

The developments come as across the UK today, local authorities in Liverpool, Manchester, Derbyshire and Lancashire have all confirmed they are dealing with confirmed cases.

Dr Simon Howard, consultant in health protection for Public Health England North East confirmed the region's first case earlier today.

He said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with one case of Covid-19 confirmed in Newcastle.

"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 cases."

Describing the search to find those who had been in close contact with the patient as a "tried and tested" method, Dr Howard said it would minimise risk to the public.

The Northern Echo: The RVI previously treated the UKs first coronavirus casesThe RVI previously treated the UKs first coronavirus cases

Professor Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health for Newcastle City Council said "robust" measures were in place and offered reassurances to members of the public

'Newcastle still open for business'

He said: “We would like to send our best wishes to the affected individual and wish them a speedy and full recovery.

“Newcastle has robust infection control arrangements in place and strong partnership arrangements across the health and care system.

“The council is working closely with Public Health England, the NHS and all our health and care partners to prevent further spread of the virus.

“As such, the risk to people living, working, studying and visiting Newcastle remains low and the cities are very much open for business. 

“Newcastle City Council will continue to work with Public Health England to share timely and relevant information with the public and our partners.

  • Those who show symptoms ring NHS 111 rather than ring your GP or go to a hospital. For the latest NHS advice visit