UK extends condolences to family of 5-year-old who died from coronavirus

Remote video URL
British minister Michael Gove speaks at a digital news conference in London, on April 4, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS, AFP) - British Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said his thoughts went out to the family of a five-year-old child who died in hospital after being infected with the novel coronavirus.

The United Kingdom's hospital death toll from the coronavirus rose by 20 per cent to 4,313 at 1600 GMT (midnight Singapore time) on Friday (April 3) the health ministry said. There were 41,903 confirmed cases as of 0800 GMT Saturday, up 3,735.

Covid-19 deaths in English hospitals made up 3,939 of the UK total. Those who made up the 637 daily rise in English deaths were aged between five years and 104 years old.

Of the 637, 40 had no known underlying health conditions. They were aged between 48 and 93 years old.

The toll has been steadily increasing by more than 500 deaths a day this week and the country is bracing for an expected peak in the next week to 10 days.

The National Health Service said it would not be giving further information about the five-year-old patient at the request of the family.

A 13-year-old boy from London, Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, died last week, days after testing positive for Covid-19. His family said he had no underlying illnesses.

Senior minister Michael Gove told a daily briefing that the teenager's mother and siblings were now showing symptoms. He said the overall death toll now included seven healthcare professionals.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is in self-isolation after developing mild symptoms of the disease, ordered a three-week lockdown of the country on March 23 to try to cut infections.

But there has been concern that warmer weather forecast for this weekend could tempt people from their homes to green spaces and public parks. "I just urge you not to do that," Mr Johnson said in a video message on Friday. "Please, please stick with the guidance now."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also warned Friday against any relaxation in social distancing, saying: "If we do, people will die."

A special address on the crisis by Queen Elizabeth II is to be broadcast on Sunday evening.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.