UK coronavirus death toll exceeds 1,000 after biggest 24-hour increase so far
The number of UK deaths from coronavirus has passed 1,019, up from 759 yesterday – a dramatic increase of 260 in just 24 hours.
Of these 260 new deaths, 246 fatalities were in England, four in Wales, seven in Scotland, and two people died in Northern Ireland.
According to NHS medical director Stephen Powis, if the number of deaths overall remain below 20,000, then the government will have done well.
Powis believes the country could still beat coronavirus but only if people continue to take physical distancing measures seriously to reduce the transmission of the virus.
Another 260 people have died of coronavirus in the UK in the largest daily jump since the outbreak began.
There are now 17, 089 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, while 103,687 people have tested negative for the virus. 2,438 of these are in the Midlands.
Unlike many other countries, the UK is not presently committed to wide-spread testing, meaning the number of infected people is likely much higher than official figures reveal.
However, the government has now disclosed plans to ramp up testing for frontline hospital staff who have symptoms, as well as those who live with people who have symptoms. This means testing of critical care doctors and nurses will be prioritised first, followed by A&E staff, paramedics and GPs.
Having faced criticism for not prioritised mass testing these last few weeks, the government is now making this a priority.
Around 6,000 people are currently being tested daily, but the government wants to increase that number to 10,000 a day by the end of March and 25,000 a day by mid-April; a measure the British Medical Association as described as “long overdue”.
At Chessington World of Adventures, a temporary drive-through has ben set up at the attraction’s car park to test NHS workers.
Temporary field hospitals are also being set up in major British population centres. Earlier this week, it was suggested that the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) near the airport in Solihull could double up as a field hospital, in a similar model as planned for the smaller London’s ExCeL Centre.
WATCH: Birmingham city centre under coronavirus lockdown
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