The UK has reported a new daily record of 938 hospital deaths linked to coronavirus infections.
The daily high figure took Britain’s total to more than 7,000.
Though significantly larger than the previous highest toll of 786, Deputy chief scientific adviser Professor Dame Angela McLean said new cases are not “accelerating out of control”.
“I suspect that simple strategies might well turn out to be the best to use, but we’ll see,” Prof McLean said.
Though the death toll rose, Prof McLean said there was “good news” in the daily number of new cases, which is a better indicator of whether distancing measures are working than fatalities.
“This count of new cases in the UK, day by day over the last few weeks, is not accelerating out of control,” she said.
NHS England’s national medical director Professor Stephen Powis warned that “this is not the time to become complacent”, however.
“We are beginning to see the benefits, I believe (of following Government measures), but the really critical thing, I believe, is that we have to continue following instructions, we have to continue following social distancing, because if we don’t, the virus will start to spread again,” he said.
Many health experts have criticised the UK 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.
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.
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