Britain reports record 938 Covid-19 deaths; Johnson 'improving'





London- By Bill Smith, - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "improving" in intensive care, the British government said on Wednesday, as it reported a new daily record of 938 deaths linked to novel coronavirus infections.
Johnson was moved to intensive care late Monday, following his admission to hospital on Sunday for tests after he experienced "persistent symptoms" of the coronavirus. He reported his infection with the virus on March 27.



 
"The latest from the hospital is the prime minister remains in intensive care, where his condition is improving," Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak told reporters.
"I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team," Sunak added.
Johnson was still receiving "standard oxygen treatment" but was breathing without any other assistance, a Downing Street spokesman said earlier.
The daily high of 938 deaths took Britain's total to more than 7,000.
The health ministry said the total of confirmed infections rose to nearly 61,000 from 282,000 people tested, but government experts estimate that many hundreds of thousands of people are infected.
US researchers have forecast that Britain is likely to record Europe's highest number of coronavirus-linked deaths.
Only Italy is projected to have a higher number of deaths than Britain under a best-case scenario modelled by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent health research centre at the University of Washington.
Under worst-case and median forecasts, Britain is expected to record tens of thousands of deaths, far ahead of any other European nation.
"The model shows that the UK will not have enough beds and ICU [intensive care unit] beds to meet demand, with the shortage peaking at 23,745 ICU beds on April 17, and predicts [a median number of] 66,314 total deaths in the country by August 4," the IHME said.
Many health experts have criticized the government's slow response to the crisis, the low level of testing for the virus and the poor provision of intensive care beds, ventilators and protective equipment.
In London, buses began introducing stricter measures to protect drivers and other staff from possible infection with the coronavirus on Wednesday, following the death of at least nine drivers in the city.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city will introduce measures including protective screens for drivers, enhanced cleaning, restricting passengers to boarding only through middle doors and increasing social distancing.
The nine drivers are among 14 London transport staff who have died after becoming infected with coronavirus.
Trade union Unite, which represents 20,000 London bus staff, said the new measures will "reduce the risk" but called for more protection.
Many Londoners are working from home or not working during Britain's near-lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But others, including construction workers, are using the city's reduced transport service to commute to work, meaning some buses and underground trains are still crowded.

 


Wednesday, April 8th 2020
By Bill Smith,
           


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