Britain’s health service is bracing for tsunami of coronavirus victims with 33,000 hospital beds ready and thousands more promised to treat victims of the outbreak.
In a black day for the UK, 181 people died from the virus, taking the toll to 759 with 14,543 people testing positive for coronavirus, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens revealed the spread of the infection is doubling every three to four days and the worst is yet to come.
But senior figures refuse to forecast how many may die and when the coronavirus crisis may peak.
In Italy, reportedly two weeks ahead of the UK on the pandemic curve, 919 people died in a single day yesterday, taking the total number t0 9,134.
Spain saw 769 deaths and has a total of 4,858 deaths.
USA records most Covid-19 reports
Meanwhile, the USA leapfrogged ahead of China as the country with the most coronavirus cases – logging 86,000 positive tests as the epidemic starts compared with China’s 82,000 for the entire Wuhan outbreak.
Asked about the latest figures, President Trump said it was “a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing”.
Vice-President Mike Pence said coronavirus tests were available in every state and 552,000 tests had been carried out.
Research estimate Covid-19-related deaths in the US could reach 80,000 over the coming four months even if strict social distancing was observed.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine expects up to 2,300 patients could die every day by April.
Rescue flights for Brits stranded in Peru
Meanwhile, an estimated 1 million Brits impacted by worldwide travel bans are waiting to travel back to the UK.
For hundreds stranded in Peru, three rescue flights are planned over the next few days.
All airports in Peru are closed, but tens of thousands of foreign visitors of many nationalities want to leave.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The Foreign Office has chartered three more flights for British travellers in Peru – as well as domestic flights to help those in Cusco. We continue to work around the clock to help British travellers struggling to get back to the UK and thank the Peruvian government for all their support in making this happen.”