UK’s coronavirus death rate overtakes Italy and China at same stage of pandemic

The UK’s coronavirus death rate is now higher than Italy and China's at the same stage of their COVID-19 outbreaks.

Britain's death toll leapt to a staggering 281 while docs identified 600 new infections in just 24 hours – sparking fears the NHS could be overwhelmed within weeks.

Italy has become the European epicentre of the outbreak, with 793 people dying in 24 hours alone.

It overtook China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths in the world on Thursday when it registered 3,405 dead.

Since then, a further 1,420 people have died as a result of the virus.

The grim rise came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces growing pressure to give NHS staff on the frontline protective equipment in order to tackle the virus head-on.

An estimated 1.4million people who are most 'at risk' from coronavirus will be ordered to stop all social contact from Monday.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday that the very most vulnerable will be told to carry out social distancing measures in place for 12 weeks from Monday.

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But fears have been raised about the NHS’s ability to cope with an Italy-style pandemic.

Northwick Park in Harrow, London recently declared a "critical incident" and no longer has any "critical care capacity" left resulting in bosses contacting neighbouring hospitals and transferring patients.

And a frontline NHS doctor warned that the health service is “at breaking point and we are little more than a week in.”

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They added: “We are at breaking point, with virtually no space to treat those suffering. And this is barely the tip of the iceberg.”

Today a further seven people were killed in Wales, taking the country’s death toll to 12.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, said: “It is with deep sadness I can confirm a further seven deaths of patients in Wales who tested positive for Coronavirus.

“This takes the number of deaths in Wales to 12.

Boris Johnson has implemented strict measures across the country, closing pubs, clubs, theatres and leisure centres in a desperate to stop the spread.

Earlier this week he warned that London is 14 days ahead of the country in terms of transmission.

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