Coronavirus claims 16 more UK lives pushing death toll to 71

17 March 2020, 16:40

71 people have now died from coronavirus
71 people have now died from coronavirus. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Coronavirus has now claimed 71 lives in the UK, it has been confirmed.

The number of cases in the UK also rose 26 per cent in a single day, with 407 more people testing positive, making the current total 1,950.

NHS England said it has now had 14 more deaths, and the Welsh and Scottish Governments reported one death each earlier this afternoon.

Earlier this afternoon, the UK's chief scientific adviser has said it is a "reasonable ballpark" to assume around 55,000 people in the country have Covid-19.

Sir Patrick Vallance made the comment as he answered questions from a government health committee on Tuesday, and predicted that effects of recent measures imposed by the government would be seen in the coming weeks.

These measures could reduce the number of deaths to 20,000 from the 250,000 predicted in an earlier report by Imperial College London.

READ MORE: [Live] UK ramps up measures after 250,000 deaths prediction

He added: "That's a good outcome in terms of where we had hoped to get with this outbreak.

"I mean, it's still horrible. It's still an enormous number of deaths and it's still an enormous pressure on the health services."

The news also comes the day after Boris Johnson put in place measures which would see much of the UK population need to voluntarily stay in their homes.

It is hoped these measures would reduce the peak of the virus and allow the NHS to best cope.

They include:

+ General social distancing measures: Sir Vallance said while they were "quite extreme", they could also reduce the peak by around 50%

+ Whole household quarantine: Could reduce the peak by 25%

+ Social shielding of the elderly: Sir Vallance said this had little effect on the peak, but a big effect on mortality rate. This could be dropped by around 20-30%

+ Case isloation: Could reduce the peak by 20%

+Population avoid places of mass gatherings, such as pubs, sporting events and theatre productions

More to follow...