UK coronavirus death toll rises by 761 to 12,868

15 April 2020, 14:43

The UK death toll has passed 12,000
The UK death toll has passed 12,000. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A total of 12,868 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Tuesday, the Department of Health said, up by 761 from 12,107 the day before.

The latest figures come amid calls for the government to give more details on what the UK's lockdown exit strategy should be.

Sir Keir Starmer said people need to be shown 'light at the end of the tunnel' over the coronavirus outbreak.

"It's obvious that the lockdown is going to continue and we are going to support the Government in that," he said today.

"But, I do think, the question therefore is what comes next?"

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He added: "People are trusting the Government... but they do need to see light at the end of the tunnel.

"I'm not asking the Government for timings, of course, I understand why they can't give us timings. But we do need the trust of the public as we go forward."

Yesterday,  NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalisations in the UK was beginning to stabilise.

Prof Powis said there was "increasing evidence now that the number of hospital admissions is stabilising and plateauing" in London and other areas

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Prof Powis said: "This is evidence that is now accumulating that the benefit of that social distancing and reducing transmission is now beginning to be manifest in a stabilisation in hospital admissions.

"We are beginning to see the benefits of the undoubted hardship that we have all been asked to go through in terms of social distancing, in terms of not meeting with friends and family.

"It's really important that those benefits are maintained, that we continue to follow the instructions that we have all been given and we will then get on top of this virus."

In other developments today:

World leaders reacted with anger to Donald Trump’s decision to pull funding from the World Health Organisation

A UK war veteran, 99, raised £6m and rising for the NHS by walking round his garden

And a 106-year-old woman has become the oldest person in the UK to survive coronavirus

Questions were raised today after Downing Street declined to publish details of a meeting of scientists advising their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) met on Tuesday - ahead of a decision on extending the current lockdown on Thursday.

But secrecy surrounds the group, which does not disclose its membership beyond that it is chaired by the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister's official spokesman was asked why it does not regularly publish its advice.

The spokesman said: "We try to publish the docs as often as possible and this is generally taking place a few weeks after each meeting - that will continue."

He insisted the Government was being "transparent" in "regularly publishing the research and the evidence base that informs the decisions which Sage is advising on".

On why there were no minutes of the meetings, the spokesman said: "If you look on the website now you will see there is a series of data that has been published in relation to recent meetings."

Sir Patrick said that the refusal to reveal the meeting's attendees was partly motivated by safety concerns.

This story is being updated