5-year-old boy with pre-existing underlying health issues is the UK’s youngest COVID-19 victim as the country’s death toll in the coronavirus pandemic rose by 708 in 24 hours to hit 4,313 on Saturday.
According to UK Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, who revealed the latest death toll during the daily Downing Street briefing, during which he reiterated the government’s plea for the public to continue to strictly observe social distancing over what is set to be a pleasant weekend.
“If we weigh up an hour or two outside and weigh it against the lives of those we love and the lives of those on the NHS (National Health Service) frontline, then it should be clear, I hope to all that we should follow the advice,” said Gove.
“The sun might be out, but that doesn’t mean you should be out,” Stephen Powis, NHS England’s National Medical Director said.
A statement by the NHS on the latest deaths in England said that patients were aged between five years and 104 years old.
The latest figures emerged as police forces across the UK put on extra patrols in parks and outdoor areas, in the midst of fear that large numbers of people will be tempted to go outside and break social distancing rules in the warmer weather.
During the daily briefing, Gove also announced that hundreds of ventilators were being manufactured in the UK every day and more had been sourced from abroad, including Germany and Switzerland and a batch of 300 invasive ventilators from China arrived on Saturday.
“I’d like to thank the Chinese government for their support in securing that capacity,” he said.
He said a partnership between University College London (UCL) and Mercedes Benz has produced a new “non-invasive” ventilator, which has been clinically approved. The partnership has already produced 250, which will rise to 1,000 a day by next week.
“The challenges in increasing numbers are formidable, which is why the commitment of the scientists, engineers, designers and civil servants involved is so impressive,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited leaders of the Opposition political parties, including newly-elected Labour Leader Keir Starmer, to attend a briefing with him, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser next week.
“I have just spoken to Keir Starmer and congratulated him on becoming Labour leader,” said Johnson, who continues to self-isolate after his COVID-19 diagnosis last week.
“We agreed on the importance of all party leaders continuing to work constructively together through this national emergency. I have invited him and other Opposition leaders to a briefing next week,” he added.