THE GOVERNMENT has so far invested £40million into finding a vaccine for the coronavirus.

So far there are no confirmed cases in Dorset, and schools have been testing pupils and staff.

Hampshire had their first confirmed case on Tuesday, and there are now 51 in total across the UK.

The Department of Health and Social Care release updates at 2pm each day. 13,911 people have been tested so far. These figures were correct as of 9am on March 3.

Matt Hancock, health and social care secretary, said: “We are taking all possible steps to contain this virus and they will remain driven and grounded by science.

“We have always said this outbreak could worsen before it gets better. Today’s battle plans, backed by our world-leading infectious disease experts, set out what actions the public can expect from government now and if the virus does progress. Protecting the most vulnerable is our absolute priority.”

Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of Public Health England, told BBC Breakfast: “I wouldn’t say (widespread infection) is inevitable, but it is now highly likely.”

Public Health England have advised schools to ask pupils who have recently returned from infected areas, such as northern Italy, to self-isolate and not return for 14 days.

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Department of Health and Social Care tweeted a video asking people to wash their hands with soap, catch your cough or sneeze, and follow the traveller advice if you have recently returned to the country.

Last week, schools across Dorset were asking pupils and staff to self-isolate after showing symptoms of the virus.

These included St Aldhelm’s Academy, Broadstone Middle School, Corfe Hills and Jewell Academy, and Queen Elizabeth’s School in Wimborne.

Some students were tested and were awaiting results.

Ballard School have confirmed the student they tested has been given the all-clear.

A local doctor shaved his beard ahead of a weekend working at Poole Hospital.

Dr Matt Thomas tweeted: “The beard has gone so I can be FIT tested for my mask ready for on call next weekend helping Poole Hopsital.”

Professor Cosford, on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, said: “The extent of infection we are seeing in other countries suggests it is likely that we will see more widespread infection in the UK.

“We should expect at times that might be quite challenging for us, it is therefore very important that we do everything we can to reduce the spread of infection.

“At the moment, the vast majority of cases we see in the UK are still linked to countries where there is more widespread infection, either in Italy or South East Asia.

“It is true to say there is a small number now where it is much more difficult to find that link, and that is leading us to think we may well see more widespread infection in the UK fairly soon.

“It could happen in the next few days or it could take a little longer.”