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Coronavirus: UK death toll passes 1,000 as 260 die in 24 hours

More than 120,000 coronavirus tests have taken place, with more than 17,000 positive results.

An empty London St Pancras International railway station.
An empty London St Pancras International railway station.
Image: PA Images

THE NUMBER OF people who have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus passed 1,000 as it was revealed another Cabinet minister has been forced to self-isolate.

The jump in Covid-19-related deaths in the UK from 759 to 1,019 is an increase of 260 – by far the biggest day-on-day rise in the number of deaths since the outbreak began.

More than 120,000 coronavirus tests have taken place, with more than 17,000 positive results.

The latest figures come after Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack revealed he had developed mild symptoms of coronavirus and was self-isolating.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is already having to lead the response to the pandemic from isolation in Downing Street after he was diagnosed with the disease.

He has been accused of failing to follow his own social distancing rules after Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive and England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty began self-isolating with symptoms.

In other UK developments this weekend:

  • NHS workers began being tested for coronavirus at a temporary drive-through testing station in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.
  • Photos revealed the inside of the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital with two wards, each for 2,000 people, to help tackle the coronavirus response.
  • The British Red Cross said evictions of asylum seekers from government accommodation are to be halted amid fears about the disease.
  • Police urged motorcyclists to stay out of the countryside and told them they cannot claim it is part of their permitted daily exercise under lockdown rules.

The total number of deaths is 34% higher than the equivalent figure on Friday and the largest day-on-day percentage increase since 18 March, when the total rose from 71 to 104 (46%).

It took 13 days for the number of deaths in the UK to go from one to more than 100. It has taken a further 10 days for the total to go from more than 100 to more than 1,000.

Meanwhile, the number of people tested in the UK for coronavirus was 120,776 as of 9 am this morning. 

Just under 50,000 tests (47,958) were carried out in the seven days to 9 am today. In the previous seven days the number of tests was 35,072.

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK now stands at 17,089, as of 9am on Saturday.

One week ago, on March 21, the total stood at 5,018. The government’s aim is to carry out about 800 tests at designated sites in hotspot areas such as London and then scale them up in the weeks ahead.

At a government briefing this afternoon that was delivered by Business Secretary Alok Sharma, he said “red tape” will be reduced to allow new producers of hand sanitiser to bring products to market “in a matter of days”.

“We are also introducing a range of measures to boost the supply of personal protective equipment, such as face masks, to protect frontline NHS staff,” he told the daily coronavirus press conference in Downing Street.

“And we’re removing administrative barriers to the production of hand sanitiser.

“By reducing the amount of red tape, new suppliers and businesses that produce ingredients for safe hand sanitiser will be able to bring their products to market in a matter of days.”

Johnson held a video conference call this morning and continues to lead the government’s efforts to combat Covid-19 as he self-isolates, Sharma added.

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