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UK records biggest single-day COVID-19 deaths of 381

By Aditi Khanna
March 31, 2020 23:03 IST
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The United Kingdom on Tuesday registered its biggest single-day coronavirus toll of 381, taking the total number of deaths from the virus to 1,789 in the country with around 25,150 testing positive for COVID-19.

IMAGE: A London ambulance worker has his mask adjusted from an ambulance at the St Thomas' Hospital in London, England. Hospitals across London are facing a surge in demand for critical care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The UK's Department of Health figures came as the spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who remains in self-isolation at 10 Downing Street after his diagnosis with mild coronavirus symptoms, said the surge in figures is reflective of the urgent need to adhere to the government's advice to stay at home and follow social distancing norms strictly.

 

"The PM said the rising death toll in recent days showed the vital importance of the public continuing to stick to the social distancing guidance which has been put in place by the government, based on scientific and medical advice," the spokesperson said.

Johnson, who led his first virtual Cabinet meeting via video conference from Downing Street earlier on Tuesday, reiterated the same message on Twitter alongside an image of the first-of-its-kind remote ministerial meeting with his top team.

"This morning I chaired the first-ever digital Cabinet. Our message to the public is: stay at home, protect the National Health Service, save lives," the prime minister said.

IMAGE: Members of the public walk past a sign asking people to stay at home during the Coronavirus crisis in Glasgow, Scotland. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

As Johnson continues to work from home, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove stepped in to lead the daily Downing Street briefing during which he confirmed the spike in the death toll but stressed that more testing was taking place at an increasing pace.

"We recorded the highest single (day) increase in deaths as a result of COVID-19. Every death is the loss of a loved one and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are grieving," he said.

"We need more ventilators -- thanks to the ingenuity of our manufacturing base, we have new models coming in," said Gove, confirming that the first set of new ventilators will come off the production line over the weekend and reach the National Health Service by next week.

The minister said as part of exploring every avenue to slow the spread of the pandemic in the UK, tests are also being carried out on several drugs, including anti-malaria drugs, to establish their usefulness in curing COVID-19.

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Aditi Khanna
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