The UK’s coronavirus death toll rose by 757 on Wednesday, taking the nation’s total above 18,000. The figures include the latest deaths recorded in England (665), Wales (15) and Scotland (77) but do not yet include Northern Ireland – meaning the total is yet to rise further. The figure relates to deaths recorded in hospitals. It comes after the Government admitted England’s death toll could actually be much higher.
Experts have said the UK has now reached the peak of coronavirus infections.
During Monday’s press conference Dr Angela McLean, the Ministry of Defence Chief Scientific Adviser, said the rate of infection in the UK has “stopped rising”.
But a leading scientist has said the nation’s coronavirus peak actually occurred much earlier than this week.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, has claimed the UK’s data actually indicates the peak of infections took place at the beginning of the month, on April 8.
He said: “From an epidemiological perspective we can say that the numbers are consistent with the peak happening on April 8.
Coronavirus UK: Expert claims the nation’s peak was reached earlier this month
PMQS: Only a handful of MPs are sitting in the Commons chamber
“We’ve now tracked for 13 days that that has been consistent – it hasn’t jumped up.
“All of the other data surrounding this, the triangulation of the data is showing us that is the case.”
But he added: “What we are worried about is that in the background someone has made an error and pulled out some data sets.
“Looking at what the ONS are doing now is hugely impressive – I think we can be clear that in this peak it occurred on April 8 and in the last 13 days we’ve seen no change to that.”
If his claims are correct, that means the peak was reached ahead of the four day Easter bank holiday weekend.
But even if that is the case the Government continue to warn that the worst isn’t over yet.
England’s deputy medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, warned yesterday: “We are not out of danger yet. We must keep pushing on this.”
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Coronavirus UK: Daily new deaths in the UK
3.15pm update: Coronavirus deaths in the UK soars past 18,000
The Department for Health has confirmed the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the UK has now soared past 18,000.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in the UK has increased by 763 in the past 24 hours.
As of 5pm on Tuesday the total number of fatalities has increased from 17,337 to 18,100.
2.42pm update: Beer sales plummet during lockdown
Dutch brewing company Heineken has said global sales slumped 14 percent in March and is expected to fall even further over the next three months.
Worldwide beer volumes fell 2.1 per cent overall in the first quarter.
2.26pm update: Government admits UK death toll could be much higher
There were 975 coronavirus deaths in care homes in England by April 10, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
But the Government has admitted the actual figure is likely to be double this.
In a statement with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Government said: “It is anticipated that the number of deaths in care homes relating to Covid-19 reported by providers between April 11 and April 15 could be double the number of care home deaths reported yesterday.
“In common with the ONS, CQC’s preliminary analysis also indicates there may be a significant rise in non-Covid-19 deaths.”
2.17pm update: UK death toll rises by 757
The UK’s coronavirus death toll rose by 757 on Wednesday, taking the nation’s total above 18,000.
The figures include the latest deaths recorded in England (665), Wales (15) and Scotland (77) but do not yet include Northern Ireland – meaning the total is yet to rise further.
The figure relates to deaths recorded in hospitals.
Volunteer scientists process samples taken from people tested for COVID-19 at a facility in Cheshire
2.15pm update: Latest England figures published
A futher 665 people have died in English hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus.
1.49pm update: UK’s handling of coronavirus branded ‘a shambles’
Labour’s Barry Sheerman, appearing in the Commons via Zoom, told Matt Hancock the Government’s handling of coronavirus has been “shambolic”.
He said: “I believe it is a shambles of leadership and management. I believe we are letting down NHS staff, and they have been let down.”
The Health Secretary responded that the prime goals were to flatten the curve and ensure the NHS was not overwhelmed – both of which have so far been met.
1.17pm update: Hancock announces the UK is ‘at the peak’
The health secretary has said the UK has already reached the peak of coronavirus cases.
He told the Commons: “As we reach – have reached the peak – and as we bring the number of new cases down, so we will introduce contact tracing at large scale.”
12.56pm update: Virtual House of Commons will cost £369,267 a month
A new “hybrid” Parliament has been introduced, with just a few dozen MPs allowed to sit in the chamber while others connect via video link.
It cost £148,793 to set up the new working model with a further £369,267 needed to maintain it each month, according to the Commons authorities.
Dominic Raab is leading the first virtual PMQs
12.40pm update: Scotland’s death toll reaches 1,000
Scotland’s coronavirus death toll rose by 77 on Wednesday, taking the country’s total to 1,062.
Nicola Sturgeon said 9,038 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 366 from 8,672 the day before.
12.08pm update: 69 health care workers have died from coronavirus
During PMQs, Mr Raab said 69 care workers have died from coronavirus.
12.04pm update: Boris ‘is making a good recovery’
Dominic Raab spoke of the Prime Minister’s health during today’s PMQs.
He said: “He is making a good recovery and is in good spirits.”
12pm update: Dominic Raab leads first virtual PMQs
Only a handful of MPs are in attendance.
11.34am update: Welsh government to fund ‘free school meals’ during summer holidays
The Welsh government has announced that disadvantaged children will receive free “school meals” throughout the summer holidays – becoming the first UK country to do so.
Kirsty Williams, the education minister for Wales, said the government in Cardiff was extending funding for local authorities to provide free school meals for eligible pupils until the start of the next school year in September.
She said: “I can confirm we will provide £33m to enable local authorities to continue free school meal provision until schools re-open or up to the end of August.”
Coronavirus UK: Supermarkets have introduced a one-way system
11.01am update: Government set to ask Brits to wear masks
The Government is poised to change its official advice on wearing face masks, experts have said.
Britons may be told to wear face masks at work and on public transport, after scientists told ministers they could help stop the spread of coronavirus.
They argue the protective fear could help stop asymptomatic people, those are infected but don’t show any symptoms, from passing on the disease.
10.26am update: Death toll rises in Spain
Spain’s coronavirus death toll has risen by 435 on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total to 21,717.
The number of confirmed infections rose by 4,211 to 208,389, according to the Health Ministry.
10am update: Lockdown exit plan ‘really complicated’, says Blair
Tony Blair has said exiting the lockdown could be harder than enforcing it.
The former prime minister told Good Morning Britain: “When you come to the exit from the lockdown, this phase of the suppression of the disease, which is absolutely right and necessary, that, in my view, is actually probably a simpler task than how you exit from the lockdown.
“How you exit is really, really complicated and, unless you have the right skill set there at the centre of government right from the very beginning, then it’s going to be very hard to do things like mass testing, which I can’t see any other way out of this.”
9.33am update: Man jailed for claiming he had coronavirus and spitting at police
A man has been jailed after he claimed to have coronavirus and spat at police officers while being arrested over a domestic assault, Scotland Yard said.
Brandon Wallace, 21, of no fixed address, was arrested in Barking at about 11.45am on Monday on suspicion of domestic assault on a woman and criminal damage to her property, police said in a statement.
During his arrest he said he had COVID-19 and spat at two officers, leading him to be arrested for assault on emergency workers.
He was later charged, and admitted while in custody that he did not have Covid-19 or any of its symptoms.
He has now been sentenced to six months in prison.
Liberal Democrats MP Wendy Chamberlain participates in a remote session of the House of Commons
8.57am update: Early tests on NHS workers not effective
Some of the early tests used to check whether NHS health workers had the coronavirus were ineffective, care minster Helen Whately has said.
She told Sky News: “Some of the early tests were evaluated and the evaluation was that actually they weren’t effective enough.”
“This is a normal process … this is a new illness and we are learning all the time.
“Those who were tested with the test that we think isn’t up to scratch are being written to, to let them know, and they will be offered another test.”
8.33am update: UK coronavirus death figures twice as high as official figures
The number of UK deaths linked to coronavirus is likely to be around 41,000, over twice the official number released by the Department of Health, the Financial Times reports.
The newspaper has calculated the sum based on figures from the Office for National Statistics and reflects recent mortality trends.
8.29am update: Tony Blair criticises ‘void off decision making’ as PM absent
Tony Blair has criticised the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic while Boris Johnson recovers after contracting the deadly disease.
The former prime minister told Good Morning Britain: “I think in a situation where every day matters and where every day decisions have to be taken, I think the person who is the acting prime minister along with what is essentially the war cabinet – the top four ministers that are meeting together – that person has got to be taking those decisions.
“You can’t have a void of decision making.”
8.11am update: Keir Starmer to quiz Government on coronavirus response today
Sir Keir Starmer will grill Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis during the first virtual Prime Minister’s Questions today.
The new Labour leader is likely to quiz Boris Johnson’s deputy over PPE, testing and the UK’s exit strategy.
(Additional reporting by Emily Ferguson)