Another 569 people have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus – bringing the total number of deaths to 2,921.
The number of deaths, tallied in the 24 hours up to 5pm on Wednesday, is again the UK’s largest daily increase so far.
A total of 563 people were reported as dying with COVID-19 the previous day.
The Department of Health said as of 9am on Thursday 33,718 people had tested positive for the virus across the UK.
Number of deaths in each country, as reported by each individual home nation:
- Scotland: 50 more deaths – a total of 126
- Wales: 19 more deaths – a total of 117
- England: 561 more deaths – a total of 2,698
- Northern Ireland: six more deaths – a total of 36
The Department of Health compiles its death figures from data supplied by the health agencies of the four nations.
The data has to be validated, and each nation works to a slightly different timescale, so the UK figure released by the health department does not always match the sum of the published national figures.
The latest coronavirus patients in England to die were aged between 22 and 100, with 44 of them – aged between 25 and 100 – having no known underlying health conditions, NHS England said.
Boris Johnson has come under mounting pressure to increase testing, especially for frontline NHS staff.
On Wednesday, 10,657 tests were carried out in England, the Department of Health said, while testing capacity for inpatient care in the country currently stands at 12,799 tests a day.
As the number of deaths reached nearly 3,000, a Downing Street spokesman said Mr Johnson is still showing coronavirus symptoms as he neared the end of his seven days of self-isolation following his positive test last Friday.
It is unclear whether he plans to leave the Downing Street flat where he has been staying and working remotely.
The spokesman said: “We’re following the guidelines from Public Health England (PHE) and from the chief medical officer which state that you need to self-isolate for a period of seven days, so no change in that.”
Number 10 said work with nine potential suppliers on developing an antibody test to show whether people have had the virus already is ongoing.
“We are working as quickly as we can on that and as soon as a test is approved then we will announce it publicly,” the spokesman said.
He added that the government had previously been offered tests that had not met the required levels of accuracy “and therefore would not have been safe to use”.
There were suggestions immunity certificates to identify people who have had coronavirus are being considered by the government.
“This is something which has been discussed in other countries,” the spokesman said.
“We have always said that we are watching closely what other countries are doing and we will always look to learn from ideas which could be helpful.”