World, Health, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UK coronavirus death toll 9,875, up 917 in 24 hours

British health secretary sparks fury after suggesting healthcare workers are overusing personal protective equipment

Karim El-Bar   | 11.04.2020
UK coronavirus death toll 9,875, up 917 in 24 hours

LONDON

The U.K.-wide death toll from coronavirus rose 917 in the last 24 hours, British health authorities announced on Saturday.

The Department of Health reported: “269,598 people have been tested of which 78,991 tested positive.

“As of 5pm on 10 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 9,875 have sadly died.”

Protective equipment furor

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock provoked a public furor after saying the U.K. had enough personal protective equipment (PPE) but that it was being “overused” by health professionals.

Healthcare workers have publicly complained since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak of a lack of PPE.

Alongside the lack of mass testing and shortage of ventilators, the issue of PPE has come to dominate criticism of the British government’s handling of the outbreak.

Hancock said on Friday that healthcare workers should “treat PPE as the precious resource it is.”

He doubled down on the controversial comments on Saturday, telling the BBC: “It is really important that people don't overuse PPE either.

“I don't want to impugn blame on people who have used more PPE than the guidelines suggest because I understand the difficulties in the circumstances.

“What I would say it is very important to use the right PPE and not overuse it.”

He told ITV News on Saturday that a total of 19 National Health Service workers have died from coronavirus so far.

His views prompted a furious reply from Dame Donna Kinnair, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing.

She told the BBC: “I take offense actually that we are saying that healthcare workers are abusing or overusing PPE. I think what we know is, we don’t have enough supply and not enough regular supply of PPE.

“This is the number one priority nurses are bringing to my attention. That they do not have adequate supply of protective equipment.”

Since appearing in China last December, the virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

More than 1.71 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with some 104,000 deaths, and over 389,000 recoveries.

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