Prince Charles out of virus isolation: royal officials

Phil Hazlewood - Agence France-Presse
Prince Charles out of virus isolation: royal officials
In this file photo taken on February 13, 2020 Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales gestures during a visit to The Tower of London, central London. Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir of Queen Elizabeth II, is no longer in quarantine after showing mild coronavirus symptoms, his office said on Monday, March 30.
AFP / Eddie Mulholland / Pool

LONDON, United Kingdom — Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, is no longer in quarantine after showing mild coronavirus symptoms, his office said on Monday, as scientists said strict measures put in place across Britain to limit close-contact transmission could be having an effect.

"Clarence House has confirmed today that, having consulted with his doctor, the Prince of Wales is now out of self-isolation," it said in a statement.

The 71-year-old prince, whose age put him among the most-risk category for the disease, is said to be in good health and abiding by government health guidelines.

Royal officials announced last Wednesday that Charles was in self-isolation at the queen's sprawling Balmoral estate in northeast Scotland. He tested positive last Tuesday.

His wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 72, tested negative.

Both were seen in video footage last Thursday joining in nationwide applause for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals dealing with the outbreak.

Clarence House said doctors believe Charles became contagious on March 13 -- a day after last meeting his mother.

The 93-year-old queen has been staying with her 98-year-old husband Prince Philip at Windsor Castle, 640 miles (820 kilometres) south of Balmoral, since March 19.

Given their age — and Prince Philip's stay in hospital at Christmas — the prince's diagnosis prompted questions about their potential exposure to the virus.

But Buckingham Palace said the queen was "in good health", and her husband was not present when she last saw Charles.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 55, has also tested positive for the virus and is currently in self-isolation, as is his chief adviser Dominic Cummings, and two other cabinet ministers.

Constant increase

According to the latest figures, Britain had 22,141 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 0800 GMT on Monday with 1,408 deaths -- up from 19,522 and 1,228 on Sunday.

The head of the National Health Service in England, Simon Stevens, said more than 9,000 people were being treated in hospitals -- a 50 percent increase since Friday.

Britain last Monday began a three-week lockdown of non-essential shops and services to limit the close-contact spread of the virus and reduce the burden on the overstretched state-run NHS.

About one in four NHS doctors are off work sick or in isolation, according to the Royal College of Physicians. One in five nurses have been affected, the Royal College of Nurses said on Sunday.

A new 4,000-bed field hospital is opening this week in east London and similar facilities are being set up in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow for an expected surge in cases.

The true number of confirmed cases is likely to be an under-estimation, as Britain only tests people with severe symptoms who are taken into hospital.

Figures about deaths from COVID-19 in the wider community are to be published this week.

The government's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said he did not expect large differences.

He told a news conference the stringent social distancing measures imposed last week could be working, although it would take several weeks to see the effects in full.

The increase in the daily numbers of confirmed cases and deaths has been "pretty much" steady for the last few days, he said

"That shows that it's going up not in an increasing amount but going up in a constant amount that may suggest that we're already beginning to see some effects through," he added.

"I do expect that number to continue. I expect people coming every day to be about that, it may go up a little bit.

"And in two or three weeks you would expect that to stabilise and to start to go down a bit."

But Vallance said it was still too early to say how long the government's stay-at-home order would last and when  the measures could be lifted.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 19, 2021 - 4:17pm

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September 19, 2021 - 4:17pm

Australia's second-largest city will exit its coronavirus lockdown in late October if vaccine targets are met under an official roadmap released Sunday.

About five million people in Melbourne have been under stay-at-home orders since August 5, the sixth lockdown they have endured so far during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials in Victoria state, which includes Melbourne, announced those orders would be lifted when 70 percent of over-16s are fully vaccinated. They projected that target would be reached around October 26.

"Lockdown will end. The (limited) reasons to leave your home and the curfew will no longer be in place," Victoria premier Dan Andrews said, adding that a raft of restrictions would still be enforced.

Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen but only with a maximum of 50 fully vaccinated people seated outdoors, while a ban on visitors to homes will remain in place. — AFP

September 17, 2021 - 7:07pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 4,667,150 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

At least 226,967,810 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

The vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.

September 14, 2021 - 8:48pm

Frontline health and social care workers, older people and the clinically vulnerable in Britain will start to receive a booster jab against COVID-19 from next week, the government says.

Health minister Sajid Javid tells parliament he had approved a recommendation from advisory body the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to start the programme.

He also approved a controversial proposal to offer jabs to children aged 12-15 as concern mounts about the spread of the virus in schools. — AFP

September 14, 2021 - 5:51pm

All children aged 12-15 will be offered COVID-19 vaccinations, Britain  announces, following the advice of four top medical officers.

Britain has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, recording more than 134,000 deaths.

Despite a succesful vaccination programme, case rates remain stubbornly high due to the emergence of the Delta variant, and officials are anxious about them rising further now that schools have returned after the summer break. — AFP

September 14, 2021 - 2:21pm

Australian authorities extend a coronavirus lockdown of the nation's capital Canberra to mid-October, saying the measure was necessary while vaccinations are ramped up.

About 400,000 Canberra residents have been under stay-at-home orders since August 12, when a single case of COVID-19 was detected.

Now at just over 250 active cases, the cluster caused by the highly infectious Delta variant remains small but has been treated with caution in a city that had largely avoided outbreaks. — AFP

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