Another 813 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have died in hospitals in Britain as of Friday afternoon, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 20,319, the Department of Health and Social Care said Saturday.
As of Saturday morning, 148,377 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, marking a daily increase of 4,913, according to the department.
With the deaths caused by the virus passing “another tragic and terrible milestone”, the entire nation is grieving, said Home Secretary Priti Patel at Saturday’s Downing Street coronavirus briefing.
“My deepest sympathies and condolences go to those who have lost loved ones,” she said.
Previously, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said that keeping Britain’s death toll below 20,000 would be “a good outcome in terms of where we would hope to get to with this outbreak”.
At Saturday’s press briefing, National Medical Director of NHS (National Health Service) England Stephen Powis explained: “When Sir Patrick Valance and I made that comment a number of weeks ago, what we were emphasizing was that this is a new virus, a global pandemic, a once-in-a-century global health crisis, and this was going to be a huge challenge, not just for the UK but for every country.”
Earlier this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Britain has hit “the peak” of the COVID-19 outbreak. But medical experts said only a valid vaccine or highly effective drugs can give people assurance that the fight against COVID-19 could be finally won.
The health department announced on Saturday that a clinical trial has been given approval to determine if plasma donated by patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can help those battling the illness.
If effective, a scaled-up national program will deliver up to 10,000 units of convalescent plasma per week to the NHS, and this would provide enough convalescent plasma to treat 5,000 patients each week, according to the department. Enditem