Under-fire govt rushes to build more field hospitals
UK's death toll rises to 3,605 after an increase of 684
UK deaths from coronavirus could reach as many as 1,000 per day around the peak of the country's epidemic, which could come around Easter Sunday, health secretary Matt Hancock warned yesterday.
The health secretary's dire admission was given at the opening of the new NHS Nightingale hospital to fight the Covid-19 outbreak in London.
The government said yesterday it was rushing to build more emergency field hospitals ahead of an expected surge in cases, hours after recording a record 684 deaths from the disease. UK's coronavirus death toll now stands at 3,605.
Two new facilities will be built in Bristol in the west and Harrogate in the north to house up to 1,500 patients, the state-run National Health Service (NHS) said in a statement.
The announcement comes as a similar 4,000-bed facility in London -- built in less than ten days -- was opened yesterday, and as criticism mounts over the government's failure to provide screening, particularly for frontline healthcare workers.
"Further such hospitals will open next in Birmingham and Manchester, offering up to 3,000 beds between them," the NHS statement added.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has said he will remain in self-isolation due to a high temperature, despite completing his planned seven-day period.
Earlier, Johnson said Britain will "massively increase testing" for the Covid-19 virus following criticism of his initial light-touch approach to the outbreak.
Heir to the throne Prince Charles Thursday made his first public comments since coming out of self-quarantine after contracting the disease, telling the PA news agency the experience had been "strange, frustrating and often distressing".
In a video message, he praised the "utter, selfless devotion to duty" of Britain's health workers.
Britain is currently in the second week of a three-week lockdown, with non-essential shops shut and the public asked to stay at home to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus, reports AFP.
The government has promised an enormous package of support for businesses and employees hit by the measures.
New government figures show 950,000 people applied for state welfare support known as universal credit in the last two weeks. It is available to the unemployed and those on low incomes.