U.K. Coronavirus Death Toll Rises to 2,921, Up 24% in a Day

More than half of Britons think PM Johnson's government was too slow to order a lockdown, an Ipsos MORI poll showed

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain March 16, 2020
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain March 16, 2020Credit: Richard Pohle/Pool via REUTERS
Reuters

The United Kingdom's death toll from the coronavirus rose 24 percent to 2,921 as of April 1.

As of 0800 GMT on April 2, a total of 163,194 people had been tested of which 33,718 tested positive, the health ministry said.

"Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,921 have sadly died," the health ministry said. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to ramp up coronavirus testing after his government faced criticism for being slower than some European peers to roll out mass checks for front-line health workers and the population.

Britain initially took a restrained approach to the outbreak but changed tack after modelling showed a quarter of a million people in the country could die.

Johnson imposed more stringent measures, effectively shuttering the world's fifth-largest economy, but the government has faced widespread criticism for having too few ventilators and too little testing.

"We're also massively increasing testing," Johnson said in a video message from a flat in Downing Street where he is self-isolating after testing positive himself.

"As I have said for weeks and weeks, this is the way through: this is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle, this is how we will defeat it in the end."

Johnson's message, posted on Twitter on Wednesday evening, followed pledges from his ministers to accelerate both antibody and antigen testing in days ahead after a slew of sometimes contradictory statements on numbers already checked.

Health Minister Matt Hancock, who has also been in isolation after testing positive, will announce additional testing measures on Thursday, Johnson's spokesman said.

While Germany has been testing about 500,000 people a week, Britain's current capacity is about 13,000 a day, a figure the government said it was aiming to double by mid-April.

More than half of Britons think Johnson's government was too slow to order a lockdown, an Ipsos MORI poll showed.

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