World, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UK: COVID-19 deaths hit new record as premier 'stable'

British deaths from coronavirus jump by unprecedented 786 in 24 hours, as hospitalized premier 'remains in good spirits'

Karim El-Bar   | 07.04.2020
UK: COVID-19 deaths hit new record as premier 'stable'


British health authorities announced on Tuesday that the U.K.-wide death toll from the novel coronavirus increased by 786 in 24 hours, the biggest rise on record.

The Department of Health reported: "213,181 people have been tested of which 55,242 tested positive.

"As of 5pm on 6 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 6,159 have sadly died."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted into intensive care late on Monday as his condition deteriorated since contracting the virus.

At a daily press briefing, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said, "I'm confident he'll pull through because if there's one thing I know about this prime minister, he's a fighter."

Raab was asked by Johnson to deputize for him while he is in intensive care. Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be next in line if Raab were to fall ill, according to a government spokesman.

Earlier in the day, Queen Elizabeth II sent a message to Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, saying her thoughts were with them and that she wished the prime minister "a full and speedy recovery."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also extended her good wishes, saying: "We are all willing you on, Boris."

Premier's condition

During a separate press briefing earlier in the day, the prime minister's spokesman said Johnson did not have pneumonia.

"The prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits. He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support," the spokesman said.

The official said Johnson was not receiving "special treatment" amid comments that a ventilator was being set aside for him at a time the country was seeking many more in order to meet projected rising demand. There was "significant spare capacity," including ventilators, in the hospitals, he added.

The official urged against seeking exit strategies out of the ongoing nationwide lockdown. The lockdown is to be reviewed every three weeks, with the first review to take place next Monday. The spokesman refused to confirm or deny that it would be extended.

"We informed you all as soon as was practically possible. We have a commitment to be as transparent as we can be throughout this process," he said.

After appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Over 1.38 million cases have been reported worldwide, with Europe being the worst-hit continent.

The global death toll is over 78,200 and more than 292,900 people have recovered around the world so far.

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