The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Essex now stands at 67.

The news comes as an 80-year-old Covid-19 patient became Princess Alexandra hospital’s first pandemic death.

Lance McCarthy, chief executive of the trust which runs the Harlow hospital, said: “We can confirm that sadly, a patient in their eighties, who had underlying conditions has passed away at The Princess Alexandra Hospital. They had tested positive for Covid-19.”

Public Health England has reported 6,650 total UK cases of the deadly virus which has so far claimed 335 lives.

Yesterday evening, the Prime Minister announced strict new measures to tackle the spread of the virus.

People should only leave home to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, shop for essential supplies, and fulfil medical needs.

Boris Johnson also ordered the closure of non-essential shops, including electronic stores and clothing stores.

Police have been handed emergency powers to enforce these rules, including breaking up public gatherings of two or more people.

The new measures follow a weekend on which swathes of the British population ignored the government’s guidance on “social distancing” with crowds flocking to markets, parks and beaches.

The new rules are in place for three weeks, at which point they will be reviewed.

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