UK COVID-19 death toll hits 4,313 as cases near 42,000

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Britain on Saturday reported 708 more deaths from COVID-19 in a new daily high, as the number of confirmed cases rose to nearly 42,000.

The health ministry said 4,313 people who tested positive for the virus in hospital had died as of 1600 GMT Friday while there were 41,903 confirmed cases as of 0800 GMT Saturday, up 3,735.

The toll has been steadily increasing at more than over 500 deaths a day this week and the country is bracing for an expected peak in the next week to 10 days.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is in self-isolation after developing mild symptoms of the disease, ordered a three-week lockdown of the country on March 23 to try to cut infections.

But there has been concern that warmer weather forecast for this weekend could tempt people from their homes to green spaces and public parks.

“I just urge you not to do that,” Johnson said in a video message on Friday. “Please, please stick with the guidance now.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also warned against any relaxation in social distancing. “If we do, people will die,” he told a daily briefing on the government’s response on Friday.

A special address on the crisis by Queen Elizabeth II is to be broadcast on Sunday evening.

(AFP)

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