The number of people who have died after contracting coronavirus passed 1,000 as it was revealed another Cabinet minister has been forced to self-isolate.
The jump in Covid-19-related deaths in the UK from 759 to 1,019 is an increase of 260 – by far the biggest day-on-day rise in the number of deaths since the outbreak began.
More than 120,000 coronavirus tests have taken place, with more than 17,000 positive results.
The latest figures come after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack revealed he had developed mild symptoms of coronavirus and was self-isolating.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is already having to lead the response to the pandemic from isolation in Downing Street after he was diagnosed with the disease.
He has been accused of failing to follow his own social distancing rules after Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive and England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty began self-isolating with symptoms.
In other developments this weekend:
– NHS workers began being tested for coronavirus at a temporary drive-through testing station in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.
– Photos revealed the inside of the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital with two wards, each for 2,000 people, to help tackle the coronavirus response.
– The British Red Cross said evictions of asylum seekers from Government accommodation are to be halted amid fears about the disease.
– Police urged motorcyclists to stay out of the countryside and told them they cannot claim it is part of their permitted daily exercise under lockdown rules.
A member of the Royal Military Police ensure motorists are complying with Government restrictions in North Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)
The total number of deaths is 34% higher than the equivalent figure on Friday and the largest day-on-day percentage increase since March 18, when the total rose from 71 to 104 (46%).
It took 13 days for the number of deaths in the UK to go from one to more than 100. It has taken a further 10 days for the total to go from more than 100 to more than 1,000.
Meanwhile, the number of people tested in the UK for coronavirus was 120,776 as of 9am on Saturday March 28.
Just under 50,000 tests (47,958) were carried out in the seven days to 9am on Saturday. In the previous seven days the number of tests was 35,072.
The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK now stands at 17,089, as of 9am on Saturday.
One week ago, on March 21, the total stood at 5,018.
Coronavirus tests for NHS frontline staff are being trialled this weekend to help those who are self-isolating and need to be given the all-clear from the disease to return to work.
The Government’s aim is to carry out about 800 tests at designated sites in hotspot areas such as London and then scale them up in the weeks ahead.
Retailer Boots has opened facilities at its headquarters in Nottingham and at Chessington in Surrey to support the Government’s testing bid.
An NHS worker is tested for coronavirus at a temporary drive-through testing station in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures (Aaron Chown/PA)
One critical care nurse self-isolating in Manchester with mild symptoms, who asked not to be named, said her unit had around a quarter of nursing staff off work – some 50 people.
She told the PA news agency: “I’ve called 111 yesterday and today and called the hospital I work at and our local Boots to ask about testing.
“111 don’t know anything more than the news and neither do the hospital. So no, don’t feel optimistic at all.”
She said it was “very frustrating” and she felt “useless” being stuck at home with another nurse and a doctor.
With training in “extra-corporeal life support”, she said she and a housemate would “be far more use at work if we could just get a test”.
She added: “I feel well enough to work but feel I’ve a responsibility to keep my colleagues safe.”