Rise in coronavirus cases as UK sees biggest increase in deaths

Four more cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in North Somerset.

Four more cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in North Somerset. - Credit: Archant

A second person has died from coronavirus in Weston-super-Mare.

Two patients at Weston General Hospital have now died after testing positive for Covid-19.

Four new cases of coronavirus were recorded in North Somerset yesterday (Tuesday), taking the number up to 40.

More: Man dies of coronavirus in Weston-super-Mare.

There were also 54 in Somerset, as the UK saw the biggest daily increase in deaths to date.

Across the UK, 25,150 people had tested positive for coronavirus as of 9am on Tuesday, up from 22,141 at the same point on Monday, Department of Health and Social Care figures show.

In total, 143,186 people had been tested, and, as of 5pm on Monday, 1,789 had died.

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At an increase of 381 people in 24-hours, that was the biggest daily rise in the UK’s death toll since the crisis began.

Ministers have been urged to increase the rate of testing for coronavirus, after a 13-year-old boy from South London became the first known child in the UK to die with the disease.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove described the sharp rise in deaths as ‘deeply shocking’ in the daily coronavirus press conference from Downing Street on Monday.

He acknowledged the Government needed to go ‘further, faster’ to ramp up testing, but said a shortage of the chemical reagents needed for the tests was proving to be a ‘critical constraint’.

Currently about 8,000 tests a day are being carried out, despite ministers having previously claimed to have met a target of 10,000 a day.

A further target of 25,000 tests a day is not now expected to be reached until the end of April.

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, meanwhile urged younger people to take the coronavirus risk seriously.

She said: “I think we have been clear that although what we know about this disease is that in general younger people are not having significant, severe illness, it is the case, very sadly, that young people can still be affected.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, you should be staying at home and observing all the social distancing measures that we have highlighted.”

In other coronavirus news, preparations are under way to convert an ice rink in Milton Keynes into an emergency mortuary, with the council leader predicting the venue could hold bodies “in the hundreds”.

The news comes after work began on a temporary mortuary at Birmingham Airport which could hold up to 12,000 bodies in a worst-case scenario.