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UK COVID-19 deaths surpass 20,000

LONDON

UK's death toll from coronavirus has surpassed 20,000, with 813 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, said health authorities on Saturday.

In a statement, the Department of Health said: “As of 5pm on 24 April, of those hospitalized in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 20,319 have sadly died.”

Some 517,836 people were tested of which more than 148,000 tested positive.

Officials in the UK were trying to keep the death toll below the 20,000 mark.

In mid-March, UK government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told a parliamentary committee: “If we can get this down to 20,000 and below, that is a good outcome in terms of where we would hope to get to with this outbreak.”

This target was also repeated by Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England.

The daily figures for UK deaths include only those who die in hospital; the total coronavirus death toll is thought to be much higher due to deaths in care homes.

Earlier it was reported that for the second day in a row, coronavirus tests available through a government website ran out before the end of the day.

The website was set up for healthcare staff and key workers as the government aims to reach 100,000 tests per day by the end of month, a target local media has reported the government is likely to miss.

BBC reported that home-testing kits ran out within 15 minutes and appointments at drive-through clinics were fully booked within an hour.

The government also urged people to comply with the lockdown and stay at home as the weather becomes increasingly warm and sunny.

The UK has been under lockdown since March 23. There have been growing calls from the local media, opposition parties, and figures within the ruling party for the government to provide more information about how the country will exit the lockdown.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions. Europe and the U.S. are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed over 198,000 people, with total infections exceeding 2.83 million, while more than 802,000 have recovered, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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