The number of coronavirus-related deaths reported in the UK has risen today to 7,097, an increase of 938 and the biggest daily rise yet.
The government posted the update this afternoon, which was larger than Spain reported today – though the UK is believed to be approaching its peak of infections while the Mediterranean country is hoped to be moving past it.
Health authorities across all four nations reported a combine increase of 936 deaths today, and the Health Department’s figures vary from the combined totals because of differences in accounting methods.
Globally, there have been more than 1.4 million confirmed cases, 82,000 deaths and 307,000 recoveries from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US.
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Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, who is in intensive care suffering from coronavirus, is “clinically stable” and responding to treatment, Downing Street said on Wednesday.
A spokesperson said: “He continues to be cared for in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’s Hospital. He’s in good spirits.”
Elsewhere, focus has turned to when the UK’s lockdown measures will be relaxed.
The restrictions, designed to massively reduce the virus’s opportunity to spread through the population, are due to be reviewed on Monday.
Dominic Raab, first secretary of state and foreign secretary, who is deputising for Johnson while he remains in intensive care, said yesterday the measures will not be reviewed until the government is sure the lockdown has worked.
“The critical thing is to take evidence-based decisions and so we’ve said that we will take any review once we’ve got the evidence that the measures are working,” he said.
“And having the kind of impact taking us past the peak which means that they can be responsibly done. We’re not at that stage yet.”
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the country needed to be past the peak in infections before decisions about relaxing the lockdown can be made.
London mayor Sadiq Khan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “When the prime minister announced the lockdown just over two and a half weeks ago he said he would review it in three weeks’ time, which is this Monday.”
He added: “We think the peak – which is the worst part of the virus – is still probably a week and a half away.”
Khan said London was not close to being let out of lockdown and that his thoughts and prayers are with public transport workers who have died after being infected with coronavirus.
These include nine bus drivers, including 36-year-old Emeka Nyack Ihenacho. His mother Anne Nyack has criticised the lack of protective equipment for bus drivers.
“[Khan] needs to get out there and have a look at the buses and see what condition the drivers are operating in,” she told Good Morning Britain on ITV.
“They are at risk, my son was at risk – sadly he died.”
Dr Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the World Health Organization’s director-general, said “the key to stopping this” is through testing, isolation and contact tracing.
“We are in the middle of a war, here – a very, very serious war that we are only beginning to understand,” he said.
“We have to accept we are in a situation and we have to do everything we can to save lives, reduce transmission, and get societies back to the new normal way of functioning.”