The United Kingdom has reported 563 deaths in a day, bringing the total number of patients in the country who died in hospitals to 2,352.
The announcement on Wednesday marked the first time the country has reported more than 500 deaths over 24 hours from COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“As of 5pm (16:00 GMT) on 31 March, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,352 have sadly died,” the health ministry said on Twitter.
Some 29,474 people have now tested positive, a jump of 4,324 over the previous day, it added.
Figures published on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics suggested the coronavirus death toll may be higher compared with the government’s daily updates due to patients dying outside of hospitals.
“There will be a number of people who have died outside of Britain’s hospitals, in care homes or their own houses,” said Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, reporting from London, adding that the government has warned that the crisis is “nowhere near” its peak.
“On Tuesday, the announced death toll was 381, the day before that it was 180 – you can see how fast it is increasing at the moment,” Challands said.
The UK locked down last week in an attempt to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself has tested positive and is self-isolating, has however warned that it would “get worse before it gets better”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also announced he has the virus and will be in self-isolation, working from home.
On Tuesday, Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, a 13–year–old boy from London who tested positive for COVID-19, died.
He is believed to be the UK’s youngest coronavirus victim.