Coronavirus news: British territories bracing for virus – ‘Ticking time bomb’ | World | News

And he stressed Gibraltar, where the total number of COVID-19 cases stands at 35, 22 of which remain active, was of particular concern due to its close proximity to Spain, the second-worst hit country in Europe. According to the latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care, 11,658 people have tested positive with the virus in the UK – with 578 sadly dying. However, Andrew Rosindell, Tory MP for Romford and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories, said the figures did not take into account the many small islands and other areas which are closely aligned with the UK.

Mr Rosindell told Express.co.uk he had already raised his concerns with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, as well as mentioning it during Home Affairs questions in the House of Commons chamber on Monday.

He added: “This could be a ticking time bomb if we don’t take it seriously.

“Essentially, we have a duty, a responsibility not to forget these places.

“They are small places and they don’t always have the expertise or the resources that the UK Government have.

“So it is vital that we do not miss them out and we include them in all the advice.”

Mr Rosindell added: “I know Gibraltar has made a desperate appeal for support, particularly for equipment and medical supplies, directly to the Prime Minister which I hope the Government are delivering on.

Elsewhere, Bermuda has six, the Cayman Islands five, and Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands one apiece.

Fortunately, there is no sign of local transmission so far.

Mr Rosindell said: “I’m pleased that most of the territories don’t seem to have been hit too badly so far but even so there are no guarantees.

“It’s important we stay in touch with the Falklands, and everywhere else, to make sure they have supplies and everything they need.”

An FCO spokesman told Express.co.uk: “The UK Government is working closely with the Overseas Territories to ensure they receive the help that is necessary.

“The UK Government is procuring medical equipment and support for each Territory immediately.

“But we will also stand by the Overseas Territories in the long run as they deal with the impacts of the pandemic.”

It comes as data from the Johns Hopkins University says there are now more than 500,000 suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally.

The huge figure was reached after Italy reported 6,153 new cases, taking its total to 80,539.

China stands at 81,782, according to Johns Hopkins University – but has seen a huge slowdown since implementing strict measures to halt the virus.



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