Daily coronavirus-related deaths have reached an all-time high in the UK – 563 – to take the total number of fatalities to 2,352, according to new figures published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
As of April 1, 29,474 people have tested positive for coronavirus. The DHSC figures only account for deaths that occurred in hospital.
The latest figures come amid accusations that the UK government is failing to ramp up coronavirus testing quickly enough for frontline healthcare workers in particular, as well as the wider community.
A Downing Street spokesman revealed on Wednesday that only around 2,000 NHS staff have been tested for Covid-19 in England out of a total 1.3 million full-time equivalent staff for NHS England.
The new government data shows that the UK Covid-19 fatality growth rate is rising more sharply than Italy’s at a similar stage of the outbreak. TV presenter Piers Morgan – who has been highly critical of those not adhering to the government’s strict social distancing measures – branded the UK’s death rate as “horrifying.”
The government has set a target of carrying out 25,000 tests a day by the end of April. However, many critics say they have already broken promises on Covid-19 testing. Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth has been scathing of PM Boris Johnson’s administration, telling Sky News that the government failed on the figure they promised three weeks ago of 70,000 a week.
NHS Providers CEO Chris Hopson revealed on Tuesday that the results of their initial small-scale testing showed that “only 15 percent” of healthcare staff self-isolating at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic had tested positive for the illness.
It followed warnings by Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, who claimed on Monday that around 25 percent of doctors were off work sick or in self-isolation due to the dangerous disease. The Royal College of Nursing says one in five nurses have been forced off work due to the illness.
Header: Medical staff take a patient off an ambulance at St Thomas’ hospital, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues © REUTERS / Hannah McKay