UK Covid-19 deaths jump by 260 to pass 1,000

Ambulances park outside the ExCel London centre as it is being prepared to become a temporary hospital. (AP pic)

LONDON: The number of coronavirus deaths in Britain jumped by 260 in one day to pass 1,000, official data showed Saturday, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself tested positive.

At 5pm on Friday, the death toll was 1,019, up from 759 at the same time on Thursday, the health ministry figures showed.

As of 9am on Saturday, a total of 120,776 people in Britain had been tested, of whom 17,089 were confirmed positive.

Johnson and his health minister, Matt Hancock, were confirmed on Friday to be among those infected, although both said they had only mild symptoms.

Their cabinet colleague, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, revealed on Saturday that he too had developed mild symptoms and was self-isolating, but had not been tested.

In a video message on Friday from Downing Street, where he lives and works, Johnson said he would continue to lead the government’s response to the outbreak.

Media reports suggest his pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, who normally lives with him in Downing Street, moved several days ago to the couple’s south London home to self-isolate there.

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty, another key player in the UK’s response, also said Friday that he was in self-isolation after experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

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