World, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UK death toll from COVID-19 outbreak surges to 5,373

Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in hospital with persisted symptoms

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal   | 06.04.2020
UK death toll from COVID-19 outbreak surges to 5,373

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) - Britain has reported 439 more deaths related to the coronavirus outbreak on Monday.

The total number of deaths has surged to 5,373, according to figures by the Department of Health and Social Care.

208,837 people have been tested so far, of which 51,608 tested positive.

The latest number of deaths came a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive 10 days ago, was taken to a central London hospital after some symptoms “persisted”.

A Cabinet meeting due on Tuesday has been postponed due to the latest developments, a statement from Downing Street said, adding that Johnson to remain in hospital for a second night as his fever and cough continued.

“Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

In its initial response to the pandemic, the British government had adopted “herd immunity” approach but rising numbers of cases and fatalities forced it to introduce stricter measures, including social distancing and school closures.

Herd immunity is a concept in which the virus keeps spreading in a society and eventually people after being infected by the virus become immune to the outbreak.

Johnson said the country might need to “take it on the chin” in a TV interview in early stages of fight against the virus.

Prince Charles and Health Secretary Matt Hancock were tested positive with the virus and were forced to remain in isolation.

Tony Lloyd, 70, the Labour MP for Rochdale has been taken to hospital on Monday in Manchester with coronavirus.

The government transformed London’s biggest convention hall, the ExCel centre in Docklands, into a 4,000-bed intensive care centre, naming it NHS Nightingale.

The number of victims to the novel coronavirus is expected to rise in the U.K. as the government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance told the public that it would be “a good outcome” if the country leaves behind the outbreak with 20,000 or less deaths.

Since its U-turn from the herd immunity tactics, the government has kept its warnings to public to observe social distancing measures and urges people to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to go out.

“Only leave your home for essentials such as food or medicine, for work, or to exercise. When you do, you MUST keep your distance from others,” the DHSC wrote on Twitter.

Describing the social distancing measures rules a “mission critical”, Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday said “the more people follow the rules then the faster we will all be through this."

His remarks came following weekend reports of people in London filling parks with the warmer weather.

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