Shropshire Star

UK coronavirus death toll passes 18,000 but no new deaths in Shropshire

The number of coronavirus patient deaths in UK hospitals today increased by 759 but no new deaths were confirmed in Shropshire.

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The latest figures show 18,100 people have died in UK hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19, with 67 of these patients dying in Shropshire.

Of these, 62 patients died in the care of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, two died at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen and three died at hospitals run by the Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust.

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In England, 665 more people were today confirmed to have died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, making a new total of 16,272.

The patients included in today's figures were aged between 26 and 102 and 26 of them, aged between 48 and 95, had no known underlying health conditions.

In Wales the hospital death toll increased by 15 to 624.

The daily announcements only include hospital deaths, meaning the full death toll is likely to be far higher, and refer to patients whose deaths were confirmed in the previous 24 hours - not who died in that period.

Some deaths are not included in the statistics for several days due to testing or family members being informed.

PA Graphics

Department of Health figures show 22,814 tests were carried out yesterday - still far below the Government promise of 100,000 tests a day.

So far 133,495 people have tested positive for Covid-19 across the UK, although the true number of cases is likely to be far higher.

In other news, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK had “reached the peak” of its Covid-19 outbreak - and that the Government will introduce contact tracing at “large scale” as a way of easing lockdown restrictions.

Matt Hancock

Mr Hancock said he was confident the country was at the peak but stressed that continued social distancing was needed to bring the number of new cases down.

He told MPs, many of whom joined the Commons session remotely: “We are ramping up our testing capacity and our capacity for contact tracing in a matter of weeks.”

Meanwhile, the Government has said Covid-19 deaths in English care homes could be double the number already reported.

The Department of Health also feared a “significant rise” in deaths not related to Covid-19 among residents, it said on Wednesday.

There were 975 coronavirus deaths in care homes in England by April 10, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It comes as an infectious disease specialist has said it is not yet known if there is long-lasting immunity from the coronavirus.

Asked whether it was possible that people in Britain could be immune for a few weeks or a month before being able to get or spread the virus again, Professor David Heymann said “that is the question that everyone is trying to answer right now”.

Prof Heymann, who led the global shutdown of Sars in the early 2000s, told a press briefing for the Chatham House think tank: “The answer is that it is not known. It is not known how long antibody protection lasts. It is not known if all of the people can be detected under current testing.

“This is a new virus, so that question cannot be answered.”