Coronavirus: UK daily death toll third highest in world behind US and France

Medical workers wearing protective equipment to bring a patient to St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London. (AP)

The UK has recorded the third highest daily death toll from coronavirus in the world, behind only the US and France.

On Tuesday it was announced that 786 people had died in the UK in the past day, bringing the total to 6,159.

The number of deaths was higher than that seen in Italy and Spain, the two European countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spain’s death toll increased by 743 on Tuesday, while Italy recorded 604 new deaths.

France reported a total of 1,417 deaths in 24 hours, while the US saw the highest daily increase of any country at more than 1,800.

A patient is tested for coronavirus in Rome. (AP)

The increase brings the total number of deaths in the US to nearly 13,000.

Spain’s death toll for Tuesday compared with 637 deaths registered during the previous 24 hours, taking the total number of dead to 13,798, the second highest in the world after Italy.

In Italy, the total death toll now stands at 17,127. There were 3,039 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the virus to 135,586.

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Spain has been living under severe restrictions for more than three weeks, and the lockdown measures have now been extended to at least 25 April.

Family members in Barcelona, Spain, play instruments on their balcony in support of medical workers. (AP)

Health minister Salvador Illa said at the weekend that 1 million testing kits were due to arrive in Spain and would act as "rapid screening" in places such as hospitals and nursing homes, part of an effort to pinpoint the true extent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government ministers cautioned it was too early to say when Spain could start lifting its lockdown on public life.

Italy has been in lockdown since early March.

Now slowing death rates in both Spain and Italy are raising hope that strict social distancing measures are curbing the spread of COVID-19.

It comes as Boris Johnson spent a second night in an intensive care in London.

The prime minister’s condition remains “stable”, according to the latest bulletin from Downing Street, issued on Tuesday evening.

Boris Johnson claps during Thursday's nationwide Clap For Carers NHS initiative. (AP)

He was said to be in “good spirits” in St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where he is undergoing “close monitoring” after his condition worsened on Monday.

Read more: Inside the new 4,000-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital at London’s ExCel centre

“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance,” a spokesperson said.

“He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”

In Johnson’s absence, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, will stand in for him “whenever necessary”, including leading the daily meetings of the coronavirus “war cabinet”.

The PM’s weekly calls with the Queen have been suspended while he remains indisposed.

Ministers insisted that despite Johnson’s absence, along with that of other key No 10 figures, the business of government was continuing as normal.

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