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UK’s coronavirus death toll rockets by nearly 400 in single day

The number of people who have died after contracting coronavirus in the UK has reached 1,789, the Department of Health has confirmed.

The updated toll comes after 367 patients in England died, and Scotland recorded 13 more deaths. A further seven people were confirmed dead in Wales, while Northern Ireland recorded six more deaths today.

All the patients who died in England were all in hospital and their ages ranged from 19 to 98, and 28 patients had no pre-existing health conditions.

Today’s jump in deaths is the biggest daily increase since the outbreak began, following a rise of 180 deaths yesterday and 209 on Sunday.

But it comes as new data from the Office for National Statistics suggested the true death count could be 20% higher than official figures have shown.

According to new figures, a total of 210 deaths in England and Wales that occurred up to and including March 20 had Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

This compares with 170 coronavirus-related deaths reported by NHS England and Public Health Wales up to and including March 20.

Official statistics only take into account those who have died from Covid-19 while in hospital but the ONS figures – which will now be released weekly – include all deaths where coronavirus is listed anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.

This means they take into account those who may have died at home or in the wider community, such as at care homes.

The ONS figures include deaths in England and Wales and the current data includes deaths up to and including March 20, as it takes time for deaths to be officially registered.

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They differ from those reported by the government and NHS in England and Wales because of different reporting methods and timings.

The ONS figures are based on deaths registered in a given week, whereas the official toll is based on deaths occurring among hospital patients in a given week. Meanwhile, a minister has suggested people should only leave their home to go shopping once a week during lockdown measures.

Transport Secretary Grant Schapps said Britons should only buy the essentials in their ‘once-weekly’ trip to the supermarket.

The official coronavirus guidance issued by the Government does not set out how often people are allowed to leave their home to go shopping, but recommends that it is ‘as infrequent as possible’.

Mr Shapps acknowledged there had been ‘teething problems’ but said people should follow the rules. ‘People know the rules that have been set, try and shop just once a week,’ he told the BBC. ‘Just do the essentials, not everything else.’


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