On Friday, the Government said a further 684 people had died after contracting coronavirus, sending the death toll to 3,605. The number of daily deaths has spiked massively over the past two days, as fears the UK is crashing head-first into the peak of the pandemic. On Monday, there were 180 new deaths reported, more than doubling to 381 additional fatalities on Tuesday.
The huge upward trend continued throughout the week, with the number of new deaths soaring towards 563 on Wednesday before a slight increase to 569 on Thursday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent a letter to 30 million UK homes, warning the public the outbreak will “get worse before it gets better”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, also out of self-isolation after making a recovery from COVID-19, expects the peak to hit in just 10 days time on April 13.
He has also announced a target of conducting 100,000 tests each day before the end of this month.
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Professor Karol Sikora, Founding Dean and Professor of Medicine at the University of Buckingham and former director of the WHO Cancer Programme, has predicted the UK could be through the worst of the pandemic as soon as May – but only if the public follows the strict lockdown measures.
He told Express.co.uk: “To ensure other patients are not forgotten, the Government has to embrace the capacity of the private sector.
“In my specialism, cancer, patients are tragically having treatment delayed when there is availability in the independent sector.
“My network, the Rutherford Cancer Centres, has made it abundantly clear we are ready and willing to help treat NHS patients. This level of collaboration could help hundreds of patients.
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But he lavished praise on the British public during lockdown, describing their behaviour as “nothing short of remarkable”, and claimed the strict rules are already making a difference.
Professor Sikora said: “The lockdown measures will take some time before we see the benefit as the numbers work through.
“With the incubation period and unfortunately up to several weeks before a patient dies, we will still be seeing complications from patients infected long before the lockdown was initiated.
“We should all be prepared to see the numbers continue to rise.