UK coronavirus death toll rises by 569, bringing total to 2,921

Number of infections tops 33,700

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 02 April 2020 15:08
Coronavirus: 'It's time to ramp up the tests' says prime minister

The UK death toll for coronavirus has risen to 2,921 up by 569 from the day before.

Meanwhile, more than 33,700 people have tested positive for the virus as of Thursday, according to government figures.

The new death toll, which counts the number of hospitalised patients who have died, was a daily increase of 24 per cent.

More than 163,100 people have been tested for Covid-19 in the UK as of Thursday morning, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Public Health England (PHE) said 10,657 tests were carried out in England on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has said the UK will “massively” increase its testing for the virus as the government continues to face intense pressure over its policy.

Speaking from self-isolation on Wednesday, the PM said the government needed to “massively ramp up” testing NHS staff so those who are self-isolating unnecessarily can return to work.

It came as Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of PHE, claimed “everybody involved is frustrated” by the low number of tests being carried out.

He pointed to ongoing capacity issues and said the “core priority” until now has been testing hospital patients with suspected Covid-19.

A Downing Street spokesperson said on Thursday around 2,800 NHS staff have been tested for coronavirus at drive-in testing facilities, in addition to a “significant number” at NHS and PHE laboratories.

The UK has gone into lockdown as it battles the pandemic, with people told to stay at home unless it is deemed essential, for example to get groceries or medicine.

All non-essential businesses have been told to shut their doors, while schools have also been closed.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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