COVID-19 death toll approaches 9,000 in UK, 73,758 cases confirmed


An image of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and quotes from her historic television broadcast commenting on the coronavirus pandemic are displayed on a big screen behind the Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus in London, Thursday, April 9, 2020. (Photo: AP)

LONDON, April 10 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of those hospitalized in Britain who tested positive for the novel coronavirus reached 8,958 in Britain, marking a record-high daily increase of 980, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Friday.

As of Friday morning, a total of 73,758 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Britain, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

With Britain's enhanced capacity to test the virus, "all key social care staff and NHS (National Health Service) staff" who need to be tested can now get tested, said Hancock during Friday's Downing Street daily press briefing.

Noting that he has set a goal of 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April, Hancock said there have been "a huge number of offers" from science firms which are "working 24/7" with the government to achieve this target.

According to a statement from Downing Street released on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery.

Johnson has spoken to his doctors and thanked the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received, the statement said.

The prime minister spent three nights in intensive care since Monday before being moved back to the ward on Thursday evening. He was taken to the St Thomas' Hospital in London on Sunday, 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Stanley Johnson, father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said Friday that he felt a huge sense of "relief" that the prime minister was moved out of intensive care, warning Britons to take the novel coronavirus seriously and "play the game properly."

He told BBC Radio 4's Today program that the whole family was "tremendously grateful" at news of his son's health update and said they were "amazingly thankful for the tremendous outpouring of support."

Stanley Johnson said that "the whole event" had made him feel "very, very cautious", and the prime minister had "served a purpose" by showing the virus can hit anyone.

Britain's coronavirus lockdown faces its most serious test this weekend as the public is urged to stay at home during the Easter bank holiday weekend to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Announcing Thursday that lockdown measures will remain in place, the British government called upon people to stick by social distancing rules amid fears that warm weather over the weekend could tempt breaches.