UK coronavirus deaths surges to 233 in deadliest day yet

21 March 2020, 17:27 | Updated: 21 March 2020, 18:21

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The UK death toll has surpassed 200. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A further 56 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, making it the deadliest day so far.

This brings the total death toll to 233.

But during the week Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific advisor, said the number of cases could be as high as 55,000.

NHS England said: "The patients were aged between 41 and 94 years old and all had underlying health conditions."

The 41-year-old patient is thought to be the youngest victim in the UK since the outbreak began.

Wales's death toll has risen to five, Scotland's now stands at seven and Northern Ireland's remains at one.

The number of people to test positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Saturday is 5,018 - up from 3,983 at 9am on Friday, the Department of Health said.

A total of 72,818 people have been tested, with 67,800 negative results.

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George Eustice
George Eustice. Picture: PA

It comes as Environment Secretary George Eustice said there was no shortage of food in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, with manufacturers having increased production by 50%.

Mr Eustice said that people buying more than they needed meant key NHS workers fighting the disease were faced with empty shelves when they tried to shop.

He said the message to the public was: "Be responsible when you shop and think of others.

"Buying more than you need means others may be left without. We all have a role to play in ensuring we all come through this together."

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said there was "plenty of food" in the supply chain.

"The issue is around people and lorries, so getting that food right into the front line onto our shelves, which is why we've seen some shortages," she said.

"There is a billion pounds' more food in people's houses than there was three weeks ago, so we should make sure we eat some of it."

Stephen Powis said people should be "ashamed"
Stephen Powis said people should be "ashamed". Picture: PA

NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis said the country should be ashamed that key medical staff were left unable to buy food at the end of their shifts.

Mr Powis referred to a video posted online by a critical care nurse in tears after she was unable to find anything to buy to eat at the end of her shift.

"Frankly we should all be ashamed that that has to happen. It is unacceptable. These are the very people we will all need to look after perhaps us or our loved ones in the weeks ahead," he said.

"It is critical that by not stockpiling, by not selfishly shopping, that our health workers are able to get access to what they need too."

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