UK Coronavirus Death Toll Reaches 2,921
UPDATE on coronavirus (#COVID19) testing in the UK:
As of 9am 2 April, a total of 163,194 people have been tested of which 33,718 tested positive.
As of 5pm on 1 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,921 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/AbPp29Ijwv
- Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) April 2, 2020
As of 9am on 2 April, a total of 163,194 people have been tested - of which 33,718 tested positive.
Yesterday, the government announced that testing people for the virus is now the 'top priority'.
Speaking during the daily press briefing, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said ramping up the number of tests was vital in combating the epidemic, adding that the aim was to reach 25,000 tests a day.
Responding to a question over the need for more tests, Mr Sharma said: "Increasing testing capacity is absolutely the government's top priority. We are now at 10,000 tests a day.
"In terms of PPE [personal protective equipment], 390 million products have been distributed."
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Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, echoed Sharma's words by saying that 'patients are getting the tests they need', and that there was 'also some spare capacity in that for testing the most urgent healthcare workers'.
She added that a 'relatively small' number of tests had been carried out on NHS staff, but that there was currently the capacity for as many as 3,000 tests a day, with those who have come into contact with the sickest patients tested first.
On Wednesday 31 March, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove also told the nation that thousands of ventilators would be available to the NHS from 'next week'.
In the briefing, Gove said: "As well as increasing the number of staff on the front line and the tests which protect them, we must also increase the capacity to provide oxygen to those worst affected by the disease.
"We have just over 8,000 ventilators deployed in NHS hospitals now, this number has increased since the epidemic began thanks to the hard work of NHS professions. But we need more.
"That's why we are buying more ventilators from abroad - including from EU nations. That's also why we're developing new sources of supply at home. Before the epidemic struck we had very little domestic manufacture of ventilators.
"But now, thanks to the dedication of existing medical supply companies and the ingenuity of our manufacturing base, we have existing models being produced in significantly greater numbers."
Featured Image Credit: PA