Coronavirus: UK COVID-19 fatalities rise by 861, bringing death toll to 13,729

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10: NHS workers in PPE take a patient with an unknown condition from an ambulance at St Thomas' Hospital on April 10, 2020 in London, England. Public Easter events have been cancelled across the country, with the government urging the public to respect lockdown measures by celebrating the holiday in their homes. Over 1.5 million people across the world have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, with over 7,000 fatalities recorded in the United Kingdom.   (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
The total coronavirus death toll in the UK has now reached 13,729. (Getty Images)

The total number of new coronavirus deaths in the UK has now surpassed 13,000, while the confirmed number of cases has passed 100,000.

Across the UK, new coronavirus deaths rose by 861 in 24 hours on Thursday – bringing the death toll from 12,868 to 13,729, according to the Department of Health (DoH).

The Department of Health also confirmed that, as of 9am on 16 April, the total number of positive coronavirus cases had reached 103,093.

The latest figures follow Tuesday’s rise of 778 to 12,107 and Wednesday’s daily rise of 761 hospital deaths.

In the 24 hours to Thursday, 740 patients died in hospitals in England, taking the total there to 12,396.

Screen grab of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)
Professor Chris Whitty said he expected the number of deaths “may well go up” following the long Easter Bank Holiday weekend. (PA/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, 18 people in Northern Ireland died from coronavirus in the past day, while Wales reported 32 more deaths and 80 new deaths were recorded in Scotland.

Thursday’s figures come after the government’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said he was anticipating a spike in deaths.

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Previously, the UK experienced its deadliest day on 10 April, recording 980 deaths in a 24-hour period.

But on Wednesday, Prof Whitty said that following the Easter Bank Holiday, he expected the number of deaths “may well go up”.

He told the Downing Street conference: “After a long four-day weekend there may well be a bounce up tomorrow. I think it is very important we don’t get to the point where we say, look at the numbers of deaths that means we have passed the peak.

“But we do all think that this has flattened out. Sadly we do think that high numbers of deaths will continue, certainly for a short while on from where we are at the moment.

Ambulance staff at the ExCel Center in London, Thursday, April 2, 2020, that is being turned into a 4000 bed temporary hospital know as NHS Nightingale to help deal with some of the coronavirus outbreak victims in London. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Paramedics prepare ambulances outside the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel exhibition centre in east London. (AP)

“So I think at the moment we are not yet at the point where we can say confidently and safely this is now past the peak and we can start thinking very much about the next phases.”

The chief medical officer also warned it was too soon to begin discussing easing restrictions because there was not enough evidence of how social distancing had restricted the transmission of the disease in the community.

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and University of Oxford, said: “As expected the Easter weekend has introduced additional volatility into the daily numbers. The rise in numbers of deaths announced today may well have arisen from reporting delays rather than a resumption of rising daily number of deaths.

Screen grab of Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)
Screen grab of Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)

“Unfortunately even although this particular measure may hopefully have peaked with the 980 deaths announced on April 10th, we will see many hundreds of hospital deaths announced each day for some weeks ahead.”

The prime minister imposed a full lockdown on 23 March for an initial three week period – with measures to be reviewed after the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

The UK’s former chief scientific adviser said Boris Johnson’s “delay” in enforcing the coronavirus lockdown has cost lives.

However, the government is expected to make an announcement around the extension of lockdown measures today following a review by SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).

Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson, will reveal the outcomes from the lockdown review - and it is thought measures will continue into May.

Legislation behind the mass containment must also be reviewed at least once every 21 days – with the first due to be carried out by Thursday at the latest.

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