Coronavirus death toll in UK rises by 768 bringing the total to 19,506
London, April 24, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The coronavirus death toll in UK hospitals has hit 19,506.
The new figure, released by the Department of Health, was accurate as of 5pm yesterday.
It is up 768 from the day before, when the figure was at 18,738.
The Department of Health said there had been 684 more daily deaths but that the increased figure was higher due to revised date from Wales.
As of 9am on Friday, 612,031 coronavirus tests have been carried out across the UK and some 143,464 people have tested positive.
It comes after the Government’s Covid-19 testing website was overwhelmed as it opened to new bookings on Friday, with home testing kits running out in the first two minutes of the site going live.
Up to 10 million key workers and their households in England are now eligible for coronavirus tests if they have symptoms as the Government races to hit its 100,000-a-day testing target by next Thursday.
Under the expansion, NHS and social care staff, police officers, teachers, social workers, undertakers, journalists and those who work in supermarkets and food production are among those now eligible.
The PM’s spokesman said: “Within two minutes of the portal opening this morning, 5,000 testing kits had been ordered.
“And that’s the available capacity for today.”
The spokesman said up to 18,000 home testing kits per day will be available by the end of next week.
Number 10 also said the Government is trusting that those applying for tests are key workers, with no eligibility checks in place for online bookings.
The official spokesman said: “As with many other aspects of the coronavirus response, we would expect the public to respond in good faith.
“That is what they have done with other aspects of the scheme, I think we’d expect it to be the same here.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said on Friday that easing the UK’s lockdown depends on the speed at which the number of new cases of Covid-19 falls and that is as yet “unknown”.
The UK marks one month in lockdown this week, with a review of the restrictions next due to take place on May 7.
Mr Hancock told Radio 4’s Today programme: “Now that we’re at the peak, and we very much hope that things will start to slow down and, if and when they do, then the speed with which the number of new cases reduces will frankly will determine how long we need to keep the measures on and that is as yet unknown.”
He said it was not quite the case that mass testing and contact tracing needed to be in place before the current restrictions are eased, but said contact tracing worked better when the number of infections was pushed right down.
“The truth is that we need to get the number of new cases down, right down, and the lower you go, the more effective contact tracing is because the more resources you can put into each individual case that gets a positive test.
“You can really make sure you can get hold of all of their contacts and get them, in many cases, to self-isolate.
“The smaller the number of new cases, the more effective the test, track and trace system will be.”