Covid-19 epidemic in a ‘dangerous phase’ as death toll reaches new high

Coronavirus - Fri Apr 10, 2020

The coronavirus epidemic remains in a "dangerous phase" a senior Government scientist as warned as the UK recorded its highest daily death toll since the outbreak began.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the daily No 10 news conference that as of Thursday there had been 8,958 hospital deaths from the disease – an increase of 980 on the previous day.

As ministers and officials urged the public to stay at home over the Easter bank holiday weekend, the deputy chief scientific adviser Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said it was "premature" to say the outbreak had reached its peak.

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Easter 2020: The UK in lockdown
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Easter 2020: The UK in lockdown
SOUTHEND ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A woman sunbathes from the window above the Britannia Fish and Chip restaurant on the seafront on Good Friday on April 10, 2020 in Southend on Sea, 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 John Keeble/Getty Images)
LEIGH ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A sign warning people to stay at least two metres apart on Two Tree Island nature reserve park on April 10, 2020 in Leigh on Sea, 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 John Keeble/Getty Images)
On the first day of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, and at the end of the second week of lockdown restrictions by the UK government, a family use their daily exercise entitlement to spend a warm afternoon near a stencil for keeping 2 metres apart in Ruskin Park in a public green space in the borough of Lambeth, on 10th April 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
SOUTHEND ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A deserted Southend seafront promenade which would normally be bustling with the current sunny weather on Good Friday on April 10, 2020 in Southend on Sea, 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 John Keeble/Getty Images)
SOUTHEND ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: People walk past a hoarding which has been painted with the words "Well Done NHS" and hearts on Southend seafront promenade which would normally be bustling with the current sunny weather on Good Friday on April 10, 2020 in Southend on Sea, 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 John Keeble/Getty Images)
Chalk writing telling people to stay away from Margate Beach is visible on an empty beach in Margate, Kent, during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Unusually quiet north and southbound carriages on the A30 in Cornwall during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People near the river Thames in Windsor, Berkshire, during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People on the Long Walk at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Staff at Blair Drummond Safari Park give their meerkats rainbow coloured Easter eggs filled with enrichments. The park is closed to the public at the moment as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk on the Tolcarne beach in Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A view of the M25 motorway near Heathrow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photo of people enjoying the hot weather at a busy Bournemouth beach, Dorset, during the Easter bank holiday weekend 20/04/19 (top), and the near deserted beach today (bottom), as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk along a near deserted Bournemouth beach, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Police officers patrol the sea front in a police car on Bournemouth beach, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The M5 motorway in Worcester, Worcestershire, which is normally busy during the Easter bank holiday getaway, is quiet as the UK continues in lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Embargoed to 0001 Saturday April 11 The Rev Peter Sutton records the Easter Sunday sermon in the Memorial chapel at the Parish Church of St Cuthbert in Edinburgh, the church has been streaming sermons as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite image showing an empty beach in Scarborough (top) dated date Saturday April 11, 2020 and the same scene (bottom) taken in 2019 over the Easter weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A runner passes street art in appreciation of the NHS placed near to the Francis Drake Bowls Club in Hilly Fields Park, in Lewisham, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man jogs on New Brighton Beach near Liverpool as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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While he said there were sings the "curving is bending" in terms of hospital admissions, he said it was still too soon to start lifting the lockdown.

"We are in a dangerous phase still. And I need to reinforce that again to you, that this is not over," he said.

"It's premature to say we are at a peak and the push we are making with social distancing just has to continue."

His warning was echoed by the chief nursing officer Ruth May who paid tribute to the NHS frontline staff who had died after becoming infected with the virus.

"Of course nurses, healthcare assistants, midwives, and other NHS staff are now among the victims of this coronavirus. Some have lost their lives.

"The NHS is a family and we feel their loss deeply."

The latest warnings came as Mr Hancock sought to reassure health and social care staff that efforts were being put in place to get the personal protection equipment (PPE) they needed.

He said the armed forces were part of a "Herculean" logistics effort to get the kit out to hospitals, surgeries and care homes where it was needed on an unprecedented scale.

And amid huge international demand for PPE – including gowns, face masks, gloves and visors – he urged British manufacturers to fill the gap and start producing the equipment needed in the UK.

In other developments:

– Downing Street said Boris Johnson was able to take "short walks" between rests following his discharge from intensive care at St Thomas' Hospital on Thursday.

– The Government announced plans for new NHS Nightingale hospitals in Sunderland and Exeter to treat coronavirus patients

– Ministers said tests for Covid-19 had reached over 19,000 a day in England, Scotland and Wales – against the Government's target of 100,000 by the end of the month.

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