A baby has tested positive for coronavirus very soon after being born.
The child was born to a mother who had been taken to a north London hospital with suspected pneumonia.
The mother tested positive at North Middlesex hospital, in Enfield, and the baby was tested shortly after the birth.
The NHS trust has confirmed that two patients tested positive for coronavirus. Staff involved in their treatment have been advised to self isolate.
Across the UK, there has been a massive leap in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,140 patients on Saturday – up by 342 from Friday when there were 798 cases. The death toll has doubled to 21 in the UK.
In Wales, 22 more people were diagnosed with coronavirus on Saturday taking the total to 60.
In a statement, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS trust said: “Two patients at North Middlesex University hospital have tested positive for coronavirus. One has been transferred to a specialist centre and one is being treated in an isolation room.
“The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority, so in following guidance from Public Health England, we are regularly deep cleaning the areas where the patients are cared for and staff who were in close contact with these patients were advised to self-isolate.”
Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has said previously that pregnant women should not start worrying about coronavirus.
The government says there is no clinical evidence so far to indicate that the virus can be transmitted via breast milk.
Prof Richard Tedder, Visiting Professor in Medical Virology, Imperial College London, said: “The description of the apparent detection of Covid-19 infection in a newly born child of a mother with Covid-19 infection herself raises concerns about the potential ways in which this transmission may have occurred.
“It is important to say at this point in time that the detection of Covid-19 nucleic acid on the sample from the child does not necessarily mean that the child was infected.
“It could well have come from the mother at the time of delivery, further follow-up of the infant will clarify whether or not the infant is infected.
“Previous data from colleagues in China, published in the journal The Lancet , albeit on a small number of mother and infant pairs, did not show infection in any of the infants at the time of birth.
“Neither did sampling of breastmilk immediately after birth contain detectable virus. Thus, the UK observation of a possible neonatal transmission is unexpected and needs further confirmation.
“The question of risk to a newly born child being nursed by a mother who is known to be infected is a matter that will need careful consideration.”