Coronavirus crisis: UK’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 16,000

A total of 16,060 patients, who were hospitalized in Britain and tested positive for the novel coronavirus, have died as of Saturday afternoon, representing a daily increase of 596, the Department of Health and Social Care said Sunday.

As of Sunday morning, a total of 120,067 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country, said the department.

The department added that 482,063 tests have concluded as of Sunday morning, with 21,626 tests undertaken on Saturday.

As to the death toll in care homes, the National Care Forum, Britain’s leading representative body for the not-for-profit adult social care sector, revealed in a report Saturday that more than 2,500 care home residents may have died in the homes of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 during last week alone, representing a 193 percent increase.

Around 4,040 people may have died from COVID-19 in residential and nursing homes up to April 13, said the report.

Among distress around access to personal protective equipment (PPE), a lack of testing within care home settings, and considerable financial and operational pressures, “many care providers feel under-supported and left to face the biggest health crisis of a generation alone,” said the report.

Meanwhile, according to the Office for National Statistics, around one in 10 coronavirus-related deaths registered up to April 3 in England and Wales took place outside hospitals.

Amid criticism that care homes were being ignored during the outbreak, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced during Wednesday’s Downing Street daily press briefing that from Wednesday all care home residents coming back from hospital will be tested before being admitted to the care home.

“Everybody going from hospital into social care will be tested for #coronavirus & isolated whilst the result comes through to protect those most in need,” Hancock said on Twitter earlier in the day.

As to the PPE, he told reporters that a new online delivery system is being rolled out to supply care homes, noting that this will contribute to slowing the spread of coronavirus in care homes.