Coronavirus: UK death toll rises by 115 to 578 in biggest daily increase

James MorrisSenior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Yahoo News UK

The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen to 578.

It’s a jump of 115 from Wednesday's death toll of 463: the biggest daily increase since the first death on March 5. The previous biggest increase was 87, on Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, the Department of Health said 11,658 people had tested positive in the UK as of 9am on Thursday.

Some 104,866 people have now been tested, with 93,208 negative results.

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An ambulance outside St Thomas's Hospital in London as the coronavirus death toll rose to 578. (Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
An ambulance outside St Thomas's Hospital in London as the coronavirus death toll rose to 578. (Ollie Millington/Getty Images)

In a statement on Twitter, the Department of Health also said it was “revising its reporting approach” for announcing the latest coronavirus death toll each day.

The statement read: “To ensure data can be verified and published in a timely, consistent way, we are moving to a new system for publication of deaths.

“The latest figures counted from the previous day (for a period from 5pm-5pm) will be published at 2pm the following day.”

The department’s announcements had previously been issued at varying times from day to day.

Thursday’s death toll was announced as England’s deputy chief medical officer defended not ordering coronavirus tests earlier.

Dr Jenny Harries said at Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing in Downing Street: “I think what the public will recognise is this is a brand new event, it’s a pandemic and every single country is ordering at the same time.

“So I think this is not an issue of a lack of forethought in planning, it’s an unprecedented event.

“And it is a brand new virus so even to understand how you might test it you have to have the virus and understand a little bit about if before you can start.”

Some 3.5 million antibody tests have been ordered by the government. Public Health England said on Wednesday they would be available in a matter of days, though this was played down by chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty.

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