Health

Coronavirus: UK deaths rise by more than 100 in a day

The number of people in the UK who have died with coronavirus has jumped by more than 100 in a day for the first time.

The death toll has risen from 475 to 578, health officials have confirmed.

A total of 104,866 people have been tested, of whom 93,208 tested negative and 11,658 were positive.

Those latest figures come after Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled an aid programme to help the self-employed.

Mr Sunak said the steps taken so far were "already making a difference" but it was right to go further "in the economic fight against the coronavirus".

Thursday saw a change in the way NHS England and the Department of Health are reporting deaths.

The latest figures are for a 24-hour period, but Wednesday's were not – they were only for eight hours – from 0900 to 1700 on Tuesday 24 March.

Thursday's figures are for a full 24-hour period, from 1700 on Tuesday 24 March to 1700 on Wednesday 25 March.

So Wednesday's rise of 28 reported deaths and the 107 reported deaths on Thursday cannot be directly compared.

How many confirmed cases are there in your area?

Earlier, a senior hospital figure warned that London hospitals are facing a "tsunami" of coronavirus cases and are beginning to run out of intensive care beds.

Chris Hopson of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said while critical care capacity had been expanded hospitals in the capital had seen an "explosion" in demand.

A third of the UK cases have been diagnosed in the city.

Meanwhile, in a further development, data collected via the NHS's 111 telephone service is to be mixed with other sources to help predict where ventilators, hospital beds and medical staff will be most in need.

The goal is to help health chiefs model the consequences of moving resources to best tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Ministers are being urged to step up testing for coronavirus, especially among health workers.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries was asked on Thursday why the UK did not order testing kits sooner.

She said that "this is not an issue of a lack of foresight in planning, it is an unprecedented event".

Dr Harries added that "it is a brand new virus, so even to understand how you might test it you need to have the virus and understand a little bit about it before you can start".

A glimmer of hope?

It was just a brief moment in the daily press briefing, but deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries did offer some positive news.

She said the coronavirus outbreak was "starting to move in the right direction".

Other countries who have been on a steep curve have seen the number of new cases rise by a third every day.

But the UK trajectory is nowhere near that steep.

Five days ago 1,000 new cases were reported. On Thursday 2,000 were.

That may seem alarming, but if we had been on a steep upwards path today's figures would have been twice as high. It suggests some of the early social distancing measures taken before the lockdown have maybe started to have an impact.

We should be cautious. It is only a few days' worth of data – and Dr Harries was clear we must not take "our foot off the pedal".

In other developments:

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