Britain’s coronavirus death toll has today risen to 104 after the number of new daily fatalities doubled in the space of just 24 hours.
Officials today announced 33 more deaths from the life-threatening infection in the UK – up from 16 yesterday and 20 on Monday, amid fears the outbreak in Britain is spiralling out of control.
The new deaths in England were of people with underlying health conditions, and were aged from 59 to 94.
The increase marks the largest single day jump in deaths in the UK since the epidemic began.
So far 2,626 have tested positive for the virus in the UK, which has caused the deaths of more than 8,000 people worldwide since it was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China in December last year.
It comes as the government looks to more stringent measures to control the spread of the virus, with schools in Wales and Scotland told to close by the end of the week.
And with a proportion of deaths and cases focussed around London and the South East, officials are reportedly considering locking down the capital with mass closures of non-essential businesses.
However speaking in a press conference shortly after the death toll was announced, prime minister Boris Johnson said he sympathised with those ignoring advice on social distancing.
He declined to call people immoral for not heeding the advice, but said: “Of course people must make their own decisions, I’m a believer as I say in freedom.
“But let’s be absolutely in no doubt that these are very, very important choices that we are now making in our daily lives and the more closely and the more strictly, more ruthlessly, we can enforce upon ourselves, our families the advice we are getting, then the better we will be able to protect our NHS, the fewer deaths we will have and the less suffering there will be in the UK population.
“And the faster we will get through this and the better we will bounce back eventually.”