Coronavirus: UK deaths double in 24 hours

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Ten more people in the UK have died in the last 24 hours after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 21.

The UK government’s chief medical adviser said the patients were all in “at-risk” groups from across England.

The total number of confirmed cases in the UK has reached 1,140 while 37,746 people have been tested.

It comes as the government revealed plans to boost the number of NHS beds and ventilators to treat people.

British manufacturing companies are to be tasked with increasing the production of ventilators and other medical equipment, while the NHS could also buy up thousands of beds in private hospitals.

In a conference call with manufacturers on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge them to join a “national effort” to tackle the virus.

Downing Street says it has already been working with suppliers in the UK and abroad to increase the nation’s supply of ventilators.

Earlier, the Labour Party and GMB union called for the government to use empty beds in “plush private hospitals” to ease the pressure on the NHS.

It comes as Prof Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, warned that facilities for people needing oxygen and critical care beds would be the parts of the NHS that will come under pressure first as the scale of the outbreak increases.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump decided to suspend all travel between the US and the UK and Ireland.

A No 10 spokesman said Mr Johnson had since spoken to Mr Trump, and set out the “science-led approach” the UK is taking.

During their conversation, the two leaders also agreed on the “importance” of international collaboration to fast-track the development of a vaccine.

It comes as France ordered non-essential locations used by the public to close, and asked citizens to go out as little as possible. Several European countries have closed their borders or shut their airports.

Of the latest deaths in the UK, eight were men aged over 80 and all were in “at-risk” groups.

They were being treated in hospitals in Buckinghamshire, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Leicester, London and Chester.

Prof Whitty said: “I understand this increase in the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 will be a cause for concern for many. The public should know every measure we are taking is seeking to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.”

Most of the confirmed UK cases are in England. There have been 121 confirmed cases in Scotland, 60 in Wales and 34 in Northern Ireland.

Source: BBC News