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Prince Charles tests positive for novel coronavirus

London: Britain’s Prince Charles has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, informed his spokesman on Wednesday.

The 71-year-old heir to the British throne is self-isolating in Scotland with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who has tested negative for the deadly virus which has claimed 422 lives in the UK.

“The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus,” the Clarence House statement read.

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“He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual, it notes.

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In keeping with social distancing advice during the pandemic, Charles has been noticeably using ‘Namaste’ as a greeting rather than a handshake when seen in public over the last few weeks, including during an event to mark Commonwealth Day on March 9 at Marlborough House in London.

His wife Camilla, 72, was seen wearing long black gloves during the same event.

“The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus. In accordance with government and medical advice, the Prince and the Duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland, Clarence House said.

The Royals were tested on Monday after they had flown out to Scotland in a jet on Sunday and the royal couple have remained there since then.

The statement adds: “The tests were carried out by the NHS (National Health Service) in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing.

It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks.”

Charles last met 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II “briefly” on March 12, who has been based at Windsor Castle for nearly a week now.

Her Majesty the Queen remains in good health and is following appropriate advice, Buckingham Palace said.

Prince Charles‘ last public event was a reception and dinner in aid of the Australian bushfire relief effort on March 12, which took place at Mansion House in London.

Earlier that day, he had attended an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, where he also greeted recipients with a ‘namaste’ due to concerns building around the spread of the pandemic.

This comes as Britain entered its second day of a national lockdown. Police are patrolling the streets to enforce the lockdown.

According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, there are 428,405 confirmed cases across the world, 19,120 deaths.

In the UK, the number of confirmed cases are 8,167 and the death toll increased by 87 to 422.

Meanwhile, Spain’s coronavirus death toll overtook that of China on Wednesday, rising to 3,434 after 738 people died over the past 24 hours, the government said.

Across the world, only Italy now has a higher death toll than that of Spain. In China, where the virus emerged late last year, 3,281 people have died.

The spiralling number of deaths came as Spain entered the 11th day of an unprecedented lockdown to try and rein in the COVID-19 epidemic that has now infected 47,610 people, the health ministry said.

As the authorities stepped up testing, the number of cases showed a 20 per cent increase on the figures for Tuesday, while the death toll showed a 27 per cent rise over the same period.

Despite the national lockdown imposed on March 14, which is to be extended until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad.

“We are approaching the peak,” the ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said in announcing the figures.

Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.

The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 14,597 infections — just under a third of the total — and 1,825 deaths, or 53 per cent of the national figure.

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With hospitals on the brink of collapse from the surge in patients, troops have set up a massive field hospital in Madrid’s vast IFEMA exhibition centre which currently has 1,500 beds but which could be expanded to take in up to 5,500 people — making it the largest hospital in Spain.

And with the city’s funeral services overwhelmed, officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue.

(With agency inputs)

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