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UK's coronavirus death toll jumps by 113 to 578 in biggest daily rise yet as officials confirm 2,000 more cases of the killer infection with almost 12,000 Brits known to have been struck down

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 26/03/2020 Stephen Matthews Health Editor For Mailonline
A doctor putting on a face mask © Getty A doctor putting on a face mask

Britain's growing coronavirus death toll today jumped to 578 after 113 more fatalities were confirmed across the home nations, making today the UK's darkest day yet in the escalating outbreak. 

Health officials also more than 2,100 new patients had tested positive for the life-threatening infection, meaning almost 12,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been recorded in Britain. 

In pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) hits UK amid global pandemic

Six more patients died overnight in Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland both today confirmed three more fatalities. England has yet to declare its daily figures but scores more deaths are expected to be announced. 

It comes after the UK yesterday recorded 43 coronavirus deaths, including six in Scotland, five in Wales and two in Northern Ireland because officials changed the times on how they were recorded. The total was almost half of the 87 announced on Tuesday, Britain's darkest day yet. 

Despite the death rate falling by half, the country saw a record spike in cases yesterday with 1,452 more patients known to have caught the deadly virus - which has been spreading on British soil for a month.

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Almost 10,000 Britons have now tested positive for the coronavirus, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland confirming 320 new cases between them today. 

But Government scientists have admitted there is likely to be 1,000 infected patients for every death recorded in Britain - suggesting the true toll is in the region of 480,000. 

Number 10 has faced fierce criticism for its controversial policy to only test patients in hospital, meaning only a fraction of cases are being spotted and leaving the true scale of the UK's outbreak a mystery.

In other developments to the UK's coronavirus crisis today: 

a screenshot of a video game © Provided by Daily Mail

WHERE ARE THE CORONAVIRUS CASES AND DEATHS IN THE UK? 

LOCATION IN UK

London

South East

South West

North West

NE and Yorks

Midlands

East of England

Unconfirmed

ENGLAND 

N IRELAND 

WALES

SCOTLAND  

BRITAIN TOTAL

CASES

3,247

876

397

703

698

1,296

480

276

7,973

241

741

894 

9,849 

DEATHS

155

63

23

53

24

67

29

0

414

10

28

25

477

The UK's death toll jump comes as police have set up road blocks to stop cars with one force sending up a drone to chase dog walkers, ramblers and 'lycra lout' cyclists.

Derbyshire Police's drone unit has taken the extraordinary step of using one its unmanned aircraft to swoop on people flouting the travel ban - while on Tyneside Northumbria Police broke up a football match because only two people can gather together for the next three weeks.

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North Yorkshire Police said it will now be using unannounced checkpoints to stop vehicles and order drivers to divulge details of their journeys with Devon doing the same as the Home Office prepares to announce new sweeping powers for officers to help them break up public gatherings.

Those powers are likely to include the 'last resort' ability to force people to go home if they fail to listen to police direction or take notice of a £30 fine.

Police patrols have also started to stop train passengers in Swansea to make sure their travel is 'essential'.

The use of travel checks sparked fierce criticism from civil liberties groups with police officers now seemingly being tasked with deciding how important someone's journey is amid reports of dog walkers being told to go home after driving to a public space for exercise and of builders being stopped from driving to a job.

Experts have said the enforcement will divert officers from investigating some crimes, but forces including the Met insist it can form part of their usual patrol duties.

a close up of a rock: Derbyshire Police sent up their drone and filmed people on 'not essential' trips to the Peak District including people posing for an 'Instagram snap' © Provided by Daily Mail Derbyshire Police sent up their drone and filmed people on 'not essential' trips to the Peak District including people posing for an 'Instagram snap'

HOW HAS THE UK'S DEATH TOLL INCREASED OVER THE PAST 10 DAYS? 

DATE

Mar 16

Mar 17

Mar 18

Mar 19

Mar 20

Mar 21

Mar 22

Mar 23

Mar 24

Mar 25

NEW DEATHS 

20

16

33

33

40

56

48

54

87

43

TOTAL DEATHS

55

71

104

137

177

233

281

335

422

465

Nicola Sturgeon appeared to pre-empt the Home Office’s official announcement as she set out her plans for police in Scotland at lunchtime which will see people who refuse to adhere to the ban on groups ‘made to return home’.

It is not the first time the Scottish First Minister has acted before the UK government on a coronavirus issue after she did the same on banning large gatherings to ease pressure on emergency services and on school closures.

Members of the public have been urged by Andy Cooke, the chief constable of Merseyside Police, to report large gatherings as the authorities move to enforce the Prime Ministers 'stay at home' message.

Mr Cooke said he would 'expect' people to report large groups but not to bother officers if it is 'two or three people stood at the end of the road'.

The apparent need for the new police powers to break up gatherings has been illustrated by reports of officers being called to friends having barbecues, house parties and games of football.

It came as a new poll conducted for ITV's Peston programme suggested almost six million people across the UK are continuing to go about their daily lives as normal amid fears spring sunshine could tempt even more to flout the rules.

a person standing in front of a store: Social distancing lines are taped across a supermarket floor to encourage people to stay at least two meters apart at a Tesco in Peterborough © Provided by Daily Mail Social distancing lines are taped across a supermarket floor to encourage people to stay at least two meters apart at a Tesco in Peterborough a group of people standing in front of a building: Huge queues wait patiently as they keep a safe distance outside the Asda supermarket in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne © Provided by Daily Mail Huge queues wait patiently as they keep a safe distance outside the Asda supermarket in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne

WHY WERE THE NUMBER OF DEATHS IN THE UK SO LOW ON MARCH 25? 

The UK yesterday recorded just 43 coronavirus deaths, the lowest daily toll sine last Friday.

The low figure sparked suggestions that Boris Johnson's unprecedented lockdown was working. 

But it was down to Government officials changing the way the numbers were recorded.

Yesterday only took into account any deaths recorded between 9am and 5pm - a period of eight hours.

From now, officials will count COVID-19 deaths from between 5pm and 5pm.  

In other developments, young and healthy people have been urged to stay away from supermarkets and make meals from food in their cupboards as demand for groceries and household goods surges during the coronavirus lockdown.

Britons have hoarded food worth £1 billion during the past fortnight as a result of panic buying - despite assurances from the government and industry that there is still plenty in the supply chain.

The CEO of Tesco is encouraging shoppers who are fit and healthy to use stores in order to free-up delivery slots for online orders to the elderly and vulnerable.

But the boss of Ocado told people to 'make their meals work', adding: 'The first thing is 'don't panic'. There isn't going to be no food tomorrow. Nobody will starve.'

NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis accused panic buyers of depriving healthcare staff of the food supplies they need, adding: 'Frankly we should all be ashamed.'

Consumers shifted online as they feared supermarkets could become breeding grounds for the virus, after panic-buyers stripped shelves bare, stockpiling everything from pasta to toilet paper and paracetamol.

But the move has now led to home delivery slots being largely unavailable until mid April.

Ocado has been operating at full capacity during the crisis and said yesterday it had around ten times more demand for its services than it did before the outbreak began.

Online orders are now limited to one per week per customer, while some items have also been limited to just two per person.

Chief executive of the online delivery service, Lord Stuart Rose, urged consumers to act rationally as he revealed Britons had hoarded an extra £1billion worth of food over the past couple of weeks. 

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading - here is what you can and can't do. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.


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