Coronavirus UK: Death toll jumps by 761 to almost 13,000

Britain’s coronavirus crisis may have already peaked, England’s chief medical officer today claimed as the daily death toll today stayed below 800 for the fourth day in a row.

Officials announced just 761 more COVID-19 victims in hospitals across the home nations, including a 20-year-old with no known underlying condition, taking the overall number of fatalities close to the 13,000-mark. 

It is slightly down from the 778 fatalities recorded yesterday – but much lower than the 980 declared on April 10, considered Britain’s darkest day yet since the virus began spreading on British soil in February. 

Government figures have already shown the number of hospital admissions is ‘plateauing’, and senior officials say Britain is finally starting to see the benefits of the lockdown imposed on March 23. 

England’s CMO Professor Chris Whitty tonight sparked hope for millions of Britons that there was light at the end of the tunnel, saying: ‘We do all think this has flattened out.’ But he added: ‘We can’t be sure we’re past the peak.’

In Downing Street’s press conference, Professor Whitty said deaths will spike for a ‘short while’ and he expects the daily fatality count to go up tomorrow after a four-day Easter weekend. 

Modelling by world-leading data analysts suggests the UK’s death toll has also peaked and the curve is flattening, with scientists predicting Britain’s deadliest day to be on April 13. But Washington University academics have yet to adjust their projection to account for today’s low numbers. 

Fears were yesterday raised that the true size of Britain’s coronavirus death toll could be 50 per cent higher than official figures because of a backlog in recording and the failure to include fatalities in care homes and hospices. 

Separate figures released by Scotland today showed that 25 per cent of all deaths could be in care homes, which could mean the true size of the fatality count is around 15,000 if the same maths was applied to the rest of the UK. 

In other developments to the UK’s coronavirus crisis today:

  • Care homes were ordered to allow grieving relatives a last chance to say goodbye to loved-ones before they die from coronavirus amid shocking reports of elderly victims dying alone;
  • Ministers were under huge pressure to come up with an ‘exit strategy’ from coronavirus lockdown after the scale of the looming economic meltdown became clear;
  • Oxford University scientists announced trials of a coronavirus vaccine would begin on humans next week, after they claimed they were confident a jab would be ready for millions to use by the autumn; 
  • Chinese leaders reportedly covered up the coronavirus crisis for six days, as it was claimed Beijing knew it was dealing with a major health crisis on January 14 but President Xi only warned the public on January 20;
  • The US and Europe could be hit by up to four waves of coronavirus if it is allowed to ravage Africa, a WHO expert warned as he said the virus is ‘about to march through the continent and India like an avalanche’; 
  • The pandemic has now infected more than two million people around the world, the latest figures revealed today – but experts believe that the true figure is much higher with many people never tested because their symptoms are mild.

Paramedics are pictured taking a patient into St Thomas' Hospital in Central London today

Paramedics are pictured taking a patient into St Thomas' Hospital in Central London today

The medics wear masks as they wheel the patient in for treatment

The medics wear masks as they wheel the patient in for treatment

Paramedics are pictured taking a patient into St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London today

It is expected that Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel will soon allow shops and schools to reopen

It is expected that Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel will soon allow shops and schools to reopen

It is expected that Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel will soon allow shops and schools to reopen 

Modelling by Washington University projected the peak of Britain's outbreak in hospitals would be on April 14, with the most number of beds and ventilators needed

Modelling by Washington University projected the peak of Britain's outbreak in hospitals would be on April 14, with the most number of beds and ventilators needed

Modelling by Washington University projected the peak of Britain’s outbreak in hospitals would be on April 14, with the most number of beds and ventilators needed

The same projection also claimed that April 13 would be the deadliest day in Britain, with 1,156 fatalities. It has not yet been adjusted to include today's data

The same projection also claimed that April 13 would be the deadliest day in Britain, with 1,156 fatalities. It has not yet been adjusted to include today's data

The same projection also claimed that April 13 would be the deadliest day in Britain, with 1,156 fatalities. It has not yet been adjusted to include today’s data

The University of Washington experts also predicted that the UK would record around 23,000 deaths by May, suggesting the crisis will continue to burn at high levels after the peak

The University of Washington experts also predicted that the UK would record around 23,000 deaths by May, suggesting the crisis will continue to burn at high levels after the peak

The University of Washington experts also predicted that the UK would record around 23,000 deaths by May, suggesting the crisis will continue to burn at high levels after the peak

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty tonight said: 'We do all think this has flattened out'

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty tonight said: 'We do all think this has flattened out'

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty tonight said: ‘We do all think this has flattened out’

Discussing the coronavirus crisis in Downing Street tonight, Professor Whitty said: ‘On the issue of the peak, our view is that it is probably reaching the peak overall and that is what the flattening shows.

‘I think it is important, and I am saying this because new data will come out presumably tomorrow, my expectation would be that the number of deaths may well go up because there has been after every weekend we see a dip over the weekend and for the two days afterwards and then an increase as we catch up with the numbers.

‘After a long four day weekend there may well be a bounce up tomorrow. I think it is very important we don’t get to the point where we say, look at the numbers of deaths that means we have passed the peak.

‘But we do all think that this has flattened out. Sadly we do think that high numbers of deaths will continue, certainly for a short while on from where we are at the moment.

‘So I think at the moment we are not yet at the point where we can say confidently and safely this is now past the peak and we can start thinking very much about the next phases.’

HEALTH SECRETARY CALLS WW2 VETERAN CAPTAIN TOM MOORE ‘AN INSPIRATION TO US ALL’ 

Captain Tom Moore set out last Thursday to walk 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire lawn and raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together before he turns 100 on April 30

Captain Tom Moore set out last Thursday to walk 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire lawn and raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together before he turns 100 on April 30

Captain Tom Moore set out last Thursday to walk 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire lawn and raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together before he turns 100 on April 30

A World War 2 veteran who is walking 100 lengths of his garden to generate cash for the NHS was described as an ‘inspiration to us all’ by Health Secretary Matt Hancock tonight.

World War II hero Captain Tom Moore has raised more than £8million for the ‘brave nurses and doctors’ of the NHS by marching around his garden on a zimmer frame.

The 99-year-old had initially set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 lengths of his 27-yard garden in Bedfordshire – but he has now smashed his target by 7,000 times in less than a week. He is due to complete the last of the 25-metre laps on Thursday.

Captain Moore, who was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, even caused his JustGiving page to crash this morning when 90,000 people rushed to sponsor him in his endeavour to support NHS heroes. 

His achievements – which come ahead of his 100th birthday on April 30 – were singled out by Mr Hancock during the Wednesday evening press conference at Downing Street. 

In his opening address, the Health Secretary said: ‘I want to pay a special tribute today to Captain Tom Moore. 

‘Captain Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all, and we thank you.’

Reacting to the latest milestone, reached at 5.30pm on Wednesday, the military veteran wrote on Twitter: ‘I’m speechless….. 

‘This amount of money will help the #NHS beyond what we ever thought was imaginable. Thank you to everyone that’s helped me get there.’

NHS England announced 651 more COVID-19 deaths, including an unidentified 20-year-old who had no known underlying health condition. Another 110 were declared in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Because the four governments all record their own data at different times the daily statistics do not line up – and the Department of Health tally is slightly lower than the true official picture.

Scotland today announced 84 more deaths, Wales 60 and Northern Ireland six – a total of 150. It means the true number of deaths in the UK is at least 12,958 – not the 12,868 figure provided by the Department of Health.

The Department of Health announced 778 victims yesterday, which was an eight per cent jump day-on-day – 717 were declared on Monday.

Scientists have repeatedly warned the death toll will not peak until after the cases have because it can take weeks for a coronavirus patient to succumb to the infection. 

Government advisers have cautioned against pinning too much hope to the death numbers provided each day because they date back up to two weeks and do not represent the situation on the day they’re published.

In tonight’s press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised coronavirus tests for all social care workers and that residents discharged from hospital will be tested before returning home.

He also paid tribute to World War II hero Captain Tom Moore, calling him ‘an inspiration to us all’ after he managed to raise more than £7million for the NHS by marching around his garden on a zimmer frame.

And Mr Hancock gave a further hint that lockdown measures would be extended tomorrow, saying: ‘We cannot let go of the hard work that’s been done so far…  we will not lift these measures until it is safe to do so.’  

It comes as ministers are under huge pressure to come up with an ‘exit strategy’ from coronavirus lockdown today after the scale of the looming economic meltdown became clear.

Cabinet infighting is in full swing over how and when to ease the draconian curbs strangling UK businesses, with demands for primary schools and non-essential shops to reopen early next month.

The row escalated after the government’s own watchdog issued apocalyptic estimates for what three months in lockdown would mean – suggesting GDP will crash 35 per cent this quarter and two million people lose their jobs. 

It said ‘for now’ it was assuming there would be a fairly rapid bounce back – but the recession would still be the worst for 300 years.

DENMARK BECOMES THE FIRST COUNTRY IN EUROPE TO REOPEN SCHOOLS 

Denmark today became the first country in Europe to reopen schools, with children back in the classroom as the country eases its month-long coronavirus restrictions.

Nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools welcomed returning students who were pictured lining up outside, six feet apart, to maintain social distance rules. 

The next stage of Denmark’s return to normality will be to allow restaurants and hairdressers to reopen, though a ban on large public gatherings is likely to remain in place until August.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to be considering easing restrictions on shops and schools – despite a record spike in coronavirus deaths in Germany.

A panel of academics advised Merkel to re-open primary schools ‘as soon as possible’ as the number of infections loses pace. It could see Germany begin to emerge from its lockdown as soon as April 20. 

Among the issues on the table for German ministers to discuss are re-opening shops and factories, a proposed requirement to wear masks and the merits of a smartphone tracking app.

Europe took its first tentative steps towards a return to normality on Monday, as Spain and Italy – the two European nations worst-hit by the pandemic – re-started some industries. 

Builders, cleaners, construction, factory and shipyard employees were allowed back to work, as police handed out millions of masks on metro, train and bus networks. 

Labour has also turned up the temperature on the government, with new leader Keir Starmer saying it is ‘obvious’ restrictions must continue in the coming weeks, but calling for clarity on ‘what happens next’.

However, a senior government source suggested they could not trust the public with their plans. 

‘Talk of an exit strategy before we have reached the peak risks confusing the critical message that people need to stay at home in order to protect our NHS and save lives,’ the source said.

Denmark today became the first country in Europe to reopen schools, with children back in the classroom as the country eases its month-long coronavirus restrictions.

Nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools welcomed returning students who were pictured lining up outside, six feet apart, to maintain social distance rules. 

The next stage of Denmark’s return to normality will be to allow restaurants and hairdressers to reopen, though a ban on large public gatherings is likely to remain in place until August.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to be considering easing restrictions on shops and schools – despite a record spike in coronavirus deaths in Germany.

A panel of academics advised Merkel to re-open primary schools ‘as soon as possible’ as the number of infections loses pace. It could see Germany begin to emerge from its lockdown as soon as April 20. 

Among the issues on the table for German ministers to discuss are re-opening shops and factories, a proposed requirement to wear masks and the merits of a smartphone tracking app.

Europe took its first tentative steps towards a return to normality on Monday, as Spain and Italy – the two European nations worst-hit by the pandemic – re-started some industries. 

WHAT IS THE UK’S TRUE DEATH TOLL? DATA SHOWS CARE HOMES MAKE UP 25% OF DEATHS IN SCOTLAND

Health officials announced just 761 more COVID-19 victims in hospitals across the home nations, including 651 in England. It took the Department of Health’s overall number of fatalities to 12,868.

Because the four governments all record their own data at different times, the true number is slightly higher. For example, there has been 699 deaths in Scotland, 463 in Wales and 140 in Northern Ireland – a total of 1,302 on top of the 11,656 in England, which equals 12,958.

Data published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics suggested the true number of deaths is actually 52 per cent higher than the count given by the Department of Health every day. 

The Office for National Statistics counted 5,979 deaths in England by April 3, compared to the 3,939 figure given by health chiefs on the same day – a difference of around 2,000. 

If the same percentage difference was applied to today’s updated UK death toll, it would mean the true number of COVID-19 deaths in Britain would be in the region of 19,500 – around 6,500 higher. 

As well as being 50 per cent higher than the Department of Health’s, ONS’ toll was 15 per cent higher than the one given by NHS England, which only takes into account hospital deaths that are backdated.

The Department of Health figures are affected by a backlog in hospital recordings, meaning that hundreds of deaths that are announced each day actually occurred in the week before – not overnight.

Figures released by the National Records of Scotland today painted a similar picture in Scotland, saying the true difference when including care homes and back-dated hospital deaths is around 70 per cent.

Figures showed as of Sunday 962 patients who had tested positive for coronavirus or were feared to have the virus had died in Scotland, higher than the 566 number given by health chiefs. 

Of those registered deaths, 237 (24.6 per cent) occurred in care homes. A further 586 were in hospitals, 128 in homes and one in another location. 

Builders, cleaners, construction, factory and shipyard employees were allowed back to work, as police handed out millions of masks on metro, train and bus networks.  

It comes after statistics yesterday suggested the true number of deaths in the UK is around 52 per cent higher than the daily tally given by the Department of Health. 

The Office for National Statistics counted 5,979 deaths in England by April 3, compared to the 3,939 figure given by health chiefs on the same day – a difference of around 2,000. 

If the same percentage difference was applied to today’s updated UK death toll, it would mean the true number of COVID-19 deaths in Britain would be in the region of 19,500 – around 6,500 higher. 

As well as being 50 per cent higher than the Department of Health’s, ONS’ toll was 15 per cent higher than the one given by NHS England, which only takes into account hospital deaths that are backdated.

The Department of Health figures are affected by a backlog in hospital recordings, meaning that hundreds of deaths that are announced each day actually occurred in the week before – not overnight.   

Figures released by the National Records of Scotland today painted a similar picture in Scotland, saying the true difference when including care homes and back-dated hospital deaths is around 70 per cent.

Figures showed as of Sunday 962 patients who had tested positive for coronavirus or were feared to have the virus had died in Scotland, higher than the 566 number given by health chiefs. 

Of those registered deaths, 237 (24.6 per cent) occurred in care homes. A further 586 were in hospitals, 128 in homes and one in another location. 

Separate ONS figures published yesterday showed by the end of March coronavirus had become a contributing factor in one in every five deaths in England (21.2 per cent).

It also revealed that more people died in the first week of April (16,387) than in any other week of the past 15 years. The average number of deaths recorded for week 14 – as it is known – is around 10,000.   

As the pandemic passed the 2million cases mark today, a damning investigation claimed that Chinese leaders covered up their knowledge of a possible coronavirus pandemic for six days after realising the true extent of the grim situation. 

Beijing’s top officials secretly determined that they were likely dealing with a major health crisis on January 14, evidence suggested, but President Xi only warned the public of the emergency on January 20.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 130,000 lives and infected over two million

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 130,000 lives and infected over two million

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 130,000 lives and infected over two million

Thousands of people were believed to contract the deadly disease during the six days in mid-January when the government kept the information from them.

The news comes as a former head of MI6 said today that Beijing concealed coronavirus from the West and is ‘evading’ blame for the pandemic.

It also comes as China warned it has ‘serious concerns’ after Donald Trump suspended all US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) for what he called ‘its role in severely mismanaging the spread of coronavirus’.

Britain also responded, saying it would not follow President Trump’s example, and would continue to contribute to the WHO.

Wear gloves and a gown and you can say a last goodbye to granny: Families with loved ones dying in care homes WILL be allowed to visit in major U-turn as Matt Hancock tears up ‘blanket DNR orders’ for elderly and vulnerable

Care homes have been ordered to allow grieving relatives a last chance to say goodbye to loved-ones before they die from coronavirus amid shocking reports of elderly victims dying alone.

Matt Hancock will reportedly outline new measures to allow compassionate visits to nursing homes and outlaw the blanket use of ‘do not resuscitate’ (DNR) plans, which staff claim they’ve been asked to routinely sign during the crisis.

Families have complained of having to say their last goodbyes over Skype or from outside buildings as facilities do not want them to enter because of the infection risk. 

One family revealed they were forced to wave goodbye to a deceased loved one from a nursing home car park in Nottingham while the body was removed by undertakers on Easter Monday.

The loved ones of a deceased resident at Wren Hall nursing home in Mr Hancock’s intervention comes amid fears that the death toll in care homes in England and Wales is 20 times higher than the reported 217.  Industry figures say the true count is much closer 4,000 since the outbreak started.  

According to the Evening Standard, Mr Hancock will use the daily press conference this evening to say that ‘everyone has a right to say goodbye’ and that ‘wanting to be with someone you love at the end of their life is one most human instincts there is’.

Former professional footballer Cyril Lawrence, 99, passed away after catching the coronavirus at a care home in Bolton

Former professional footballer Cyril Lawrence, 99, passed away after catching the coronavirus at a care home in Bolton

Former professional footballer Cyril Lawrence, 99, passed away after catching the coronavirus at a care home in Bolton 

Carole Foster, 77, passed away last Wednesday at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, just one day after being admitted

Carole Foster, 77, passed away last Wednesday at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, just one day after being admitted

Carole Foster, 77, passed away last Wednesday at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, just one day after being admitted

‘Coronavirus has made this much more difficult, and I’ve heard heart-breaking stories of people dying without a loved one nearby.

 ‘We are sensitively making sure we can limit the risk of infection while giving people’s closest loved ones the chance to properly say goodbye.’

The newspaper reported that guidance has been issued saying: ‘It is unacceptable for advance care plans, including Do Not Attempt Resuscitation orders, to applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people, and the CQC have been urgently contacting providers where this practice has been brought to their attention. 

‘Everyone at risk of losing mental capacity or nearing the end of their life should be offered the opportunity and supported, if they wish, to develop advance care planning that make their wishes clear, and to make arrangements, such as lasting power of attorney for health and social care decisions, to put their affairs in order.’ 

The Government’s U-turn comes after a harrowing report emerged of a family having to wave goodbye to a deceased loved one from a care home car park.

Relatives watched on as the body of a resident at Wren Hall nursing home in Nottinghamshire was removed by undertakers on Easter Monday.

A lack of testing means health officials have no idea how many care home residents are dying to the virus.

Care home managers had banned families from visiting over fears they could bring the virus into homes, where it could have devastating effects on highly vulnerable elderly residents often with serious underlying health conditions.

HIDDEN EPIDEMIC OF CORONAVIRUS IN CARE HOMES MAY HAVE COST 4,000 LIVES, EXPERTS WARN 

A ‘hidden epidemic’ of coronavirus in care homes may have cost 4,000 lives, experts warned last night. 

They believe deaths are being hugely under-reported because of a lack of testing.

GPs are also sometimes reluctant to write COVID-19 on death certificates and figures from care homes are not included in the official daily toll. 

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics says the virus killed 217 care home residents in England and Wales up to April 3. 

But industry figures say the true count is much higher – potentially 4,000 since the outbreak started. 

Campaigners and MPs warned yesterday of an ‘unfolding horror’ that could end up with tens of thousands of forgotten victims. 

Ministers face urgent calls to get a grip and get virus tests for all staff and residents with symptoms, more protection gear and a Cabinet minister to deal with the crisis.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night pledged action on testing and is also expected to outline a plan to address the crisis in a social care strategy. 

Care home operators complain they are being overlooked, with desperate short – ages of testing and staff safety equipment making it extremely hard to stop the disease ravaging their sites. 

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics says the virus killed 217 care home residents in England and Wales up to April 3. 

But industry figures say the true count is much higher – potentially 4,000 since the outbreak started. 

Campaigners and MPs warned yesterday of an ‘unfolding horror’ that could end up with tens of thousands of forgotten victims.  

Ministers face urgent calls to get a grip and get virus tests for all staff and residents with symptoms, more protection gear and a Cabinet minister to deal with the crisis. 

This morning it was revealed eight people have died with suspected coronavirus at Green Heys Care Home in Waterloo, Merseyside.  

The virus appears to be sweeping through nursing homes up and down the country.

Stanley Park care home in County Durham lost its 13th resident to the virus on Monday, while 12 people have died at a home in Cranhill, Glasgow.

Wren Hall nursing home in Nottinghamshire has lost 10 to the virus,  eight at another in Dumbarton – plus 13, 11 and 15 at homes in Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Luton.  

Mark Adams, chief executive officer for Community Integrated Care, which runs the home said: ‘Whilst this is a devastating number, it may have been higher had it not been for the dedicated and selfless response of our team, who have exemplified the commitment, bravery and skill, that exists within the social care workforce.’

Debbie Cholwill said her mother, who had dementia and was living in a care home, passed away on April 10 after testing positive for coronavirus

Debbie Cholwill said her mother, who had dementia and was living in a care home, passed away on April 10 after testing positive for coronavirus

Debbie Cholwill said her mother, who had dementia and was living in a care home, passed away on April 10 after testing positive for coronavirus

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night pledged action on testing and is also expected to outline a plan to address the crisis in a social care strategy.

All care home residents and staff with symptoms of Covid-19 are to be tested as the Government faces a backlash over its handling of the growing crisis. 

Social Care Minister Helen Whately told BBC Breakfast this morning: ‘We have been doing everything that we can to protect those really vulnerable people living in care homes or receiving care at home.

Chris Schmid told MailOnline his great aunt Isabel Francis, 94, (pictured) passed away in Fieldway care home in Mitcham, South London on Friday, April 10

Chris Schmid told MailOnline his great aunt Isabel Francis, 94, (pictured) passed away in Fieldway care home in Mitcham, South London on Friday, April 10

Chris Schmid told MailOnline his great aunt Isabel Francis, 94, passed away in Fieldway care home in Mitcham, South London on Friday, April 10

‘From the moment it looked like coronavirus was coming our way… we have been working really hard to do whatever we can to protect those receiving care from this truly awful, horrible illness.’

She added it had been ‘harder to get heard’ on social care issues than for the NHS and said the Government had ‘taken huge steps to get PPE out to the care sector’.

Care home operators complain they are being overlooked, with desperate short – ages of testing and staff safety equipment making it extremely hard to stop the dis – ease ravaging their sites. 

Jeremy Richardson, chief executive of Four Seasons, which has 191 care homes across the UK, told the Guardian that the official figures ‘materially understated’ the crisis, adding: ‘From colleagues in the sector and in Four Seasons’ experience, it is closer to 60 per cent (infection rate).’ 

It comes after furious families today accused the Government of ‘sacrificing’ Britain’s elderly in the fight against coronavirus by discharging COVID-19 patients into care homes and signing the ‘death warrant’ of the most vulnerable in society. 

NHS hospitals have been ordered to drastically free up beds, meaning thousands of patients have been released, with scores of elderly Britons meeting the criteria sent to care homes dotted across the UK.

TRUE DEATH TOLL COULD BE 12,000

There are no official figures on the number of care home deaths so far, but some estimates put the toll as high as 12,000. 

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says evidence from France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Ire – land suggests between 4 2 per cent and 57 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths happen in care homes. 

There have been 1 2,000 deaths officially in the UK so far, according to Government figures which only cover hospitals. 

It could mean there have been another 1 2,000 in care homes. The Office for National Statistics puts the number at only 217 but its figures are 11 days out of date at a time when the death rate has risen dramatically. 

Care England, which represents independent care providers, and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey both estimate the toll to be at least 1,000. 

The Mail’s own audit has found 951 deaths, but many care homes have declined to give figures. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates there have been 2,500 deaths

In a revolt against the ‘dangerous’ drive, some care homes have already refused to accept patients over coronavirus fears – not everyone is swabbed for the killer virus before they are discharged from hospital.  

But one home in Essex was allegedly forced to accept an elderly COVID-19 patient ‘against their wishes’ before they were re-admitted to hospital the next day. The daughter of a 96-year-old resident accused Number 10 of ‘recklessly exposing’ others to the infection. 

In Herefordshire, a dementia-stricken 78-year-old was discharged from hospital to a care home, without her family being told. She also had a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) notice along with the orders not to send back to hospital if she caught coronavirus.

Mark Gordon fears his mother Susan (above), a 76-year-old terminally-ill cancer patient, is too weak to fight off coronavirus after contracting the infection while at a Tayside care home. He claims staff did not use PPE when dealing with patients

Mark Gordon fears his mother Susan (above), a 76-year-old terminally-ill cancer patient, is too weak to fight off coronavirus after contracting the infection while at a Tayside care home. He claims staff did not use PPE when dealing with patients

Mark Gordon fears his mother Susan (above), a 76-year-old terminally-ill cancer patient, is too weak to fight off coronavirus after contracting the infection while at a Tayside care home. He claims staff did not use PPE when dealing with patients

Demanding action from Downing Street, her daughter said: ‘My mother has worked all her life and paid into the NHS they do not have the right to sign her death warrant because she’s old and has dementia.’

Despite hospitals being told to free up space, it was revealed last night that London’s Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre sat almost empty with just 19 coronavirus patients treated over the Easter weekend.  

George Hillhouse's 74-year-old mother, Helen Smith, died at Almond Court care home in Drumchapel, Glasgow, on Saturday

George Hillhouse's 74-year-old mother, Helen Smith, died at Almond Court care home in Drumchapel, Glasgow, on Saturday

George Hillhouse’s 74-year-old mother, Helen Smith, died at Almond Court care home in Drumchapel, Glasgow, on Saturday

It comes after care industry bosses yesterday suggested that two thirds of all homes across Britain have recorded coronavirus cases. Around 500,000 people are in care homes in the UK.

Grim statistics released yesterday also showed the number of coronavirus deaths in care homes rose ten-fold by the start of April, up from just 20 for the week ending March 27.

But the true scale of the coronavirus catastrophe in Britain’s care homes is a mystery because the figures released by the Office for National Statistics are almost two weeks out-of-date.  

Number 10 is under mounting pressure to start recording all coronavirus deaths, wherever they happen, amid the accusations the true toll is being swept under the carpet.

The UK’s care home regulator, the Care Quality Commission, announced it would step in to collect daily numbers of coronavirus deaths. 

Helen Buniak revealed her 96-year-old mother’s home was ‘ordered’ to admit a coronavirus patient from hospital ‘against their wishes’ on April 8.

She alleged that the Birchwood Residential Care Home, in Ilford, was told it was ‘Government policy’.

The discharged patient only stayed in the facility for one day before they were re-admitted to hospital, Ms Buniak claimed. 

She told MailOnline: ‘How shocking and completely reckless to allow the virus to enter into a care home that was clear of the virus.

‘However much the staff did their best to isolate the patient, there is still a serious risk that the virus could spread and cause multiple deaths.’ 

Ms Buniak said it seemed like the lives of older people in care homes are ‘invisible’ and argued: ‘The Government is willing to sacrifice them.’ 

‘The Government’s so called policy to shield those most vulnerable clearly does not apply to the elderly in care homes.’

The Birchwood care home, which looks after around 40 elderly patients, is one of dozens to have limited routine visits from family members.  

Another MailOnline reader revealed her elderly dementia-stricken mother was discharged to a care home, without checking with her. 

LONDON’S NEW MAKE-SHIFT HOSPITAL HAD JUST 19 PATIENTS OVER EASTER 

A hospital bed and respirator at ExCel London

A hospital bed and respirator at ExCel London

A hospital bed and respirator at ExCel London

London‘s Nightingale Hospital sat almost empty with just 19 coronavirus patients treated over the Easter weekend.

The 4,000 capacity flagship hospital was opened by Prince Charles via video link almost two weeks ago and is designed to handle a large surge in coronavirus cases.

However data circulated to health chiefs and seen by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) shows some hospitals have been able to double their ICU capacity, to 1,555 beds, despite rising levels of infections.

It also showed only 19 patients were receiving treatment over the Easter weekend at the facility located in the Docklands.

Her mother, of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, was stuck in hospital because health officials had yet to find a care package for her.

She told MailOnline: ‘Due to the COVID-19 outbreak most care homes in Hereford with places refused to take her so she was there a while. 

‘The hospital were getting really annoyed because they wanted her out as soon as possible and the bed freed up.

‘On Sunday (April 12) they discharged her to a care home in Worcestershire without consulting me or checking the home could meet her complex needs.’

The woman – who wanted to remain anonymous – added: ‘She arrived with a DNR, which said do not transfer back to hospital if she contracts COVID-19. 

‘My mother has worked all her life and paid into the NHS they do not have the right to sign her death warrant because she’s old and has dementia.

‘If my mum gets sick with COVID-19 she will be left to die and the hospital will refuse to admit her because the DNR will be in her notes.’ 

NHS trusts are trying to discharge patients who do not need round-the-clock care to free up capacity for the expected surge in COVID-19 cases.

But care home managers are refusing to accept elderly people over fears they might bring the virus into the homes.

Under guidance issued by the government last week, testing is not mandatory for discharged patients.

David Steedman, the manager of Arlington House care home in Sussex, admitted he had five empty rooms but refused to take in people discharged from hospitals.

He said it would be ‘madness’ to expose residents and staff to the risk of infection, the Guardian reports.

Last week the Government promised every social care provider in the country would receive deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks.

Mr Steedman told the paper: ‘The personal protective equipment issued for staff is laughable.

‘These masks, as well as having an expiry date of 2016, are the sort of flimsy, paper thing that dentists wear with gaps all round the edges.

‘The instructions say they should be used if a resident has symptoms of the virus or actually has it. But these masks are completely useless in those situations.’

Avice Howarth's mother, who was living in a care home. passed away on April 10

Avice Howarth's mother, who was living in a care home. passed away on April 10

Avice Howarth’s mother, who was living in a care home. passed away on April 10

It comes after it was warned last night that a ‘hidden epidemic’ of coronavirus in care homes may have cost 4,000 lives. Experts believe deaths are being hugely under-reported because of a lack of testing.

GPs are also sometimes reluctant to write COVID-19 on death certificates and figures from care homes are not included in the official daily toll. 

Jane Rudge's mother is a resident at Hopwood Court care home in Alvechurch, Worcestershire. The 94-year-old is now ill, with suspected Covid-19

Jane Rudge's mother is a resident at Hopwood Court care home in Alvechurch, Worcestershire. The 94-year-old is now ill, with suspected Covid-19

Jane Rudge’s mother is a resident at Hopwood Court care home in Alvechurch, Worcestershire. The 94-year-old is now ill, with suspected COVID-19

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics says the virus killed 217 care home residents in England and Wales up to April 3. 

But industry figures say the true count is much higher – potentially 4,000 since the outbreak started. 

One leading statistician the numbers were being underestimated because GPs were unwilling to record ‘covid’ on death certificates if they hadn’t seen the patient. 

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, who is based at the Faculty of Mathematics at Cambridge University, highlighted emergency laws which came into force last month which enable doctors to certify deaths without being in physical attendance.

Under the Government’s Coronavirus Act, which was passed on March 25, doctors are allowed to carry out the process of death registration over-the-phone.

The new powers were intended to reduce the likelihood of GPs contracting the infection but Sir David said the upshot was that they were less inclined to record the virus as the cause of death.

Other organisations including the Alzheimer’s Society and Care England, the main representative body for social care organisations, said the death toll was being hugely underplayed by the lack of tests.

Currently only hospital patients and some frontline staff are being tested for the virus, although the Government hopes to roll this out to other key workers and the wider public if the capacity increases

Sir David said: ‘Less than 10 per cent of deaths are being coded for COVID-19 deaths outside hospitals. That’s at home, or in care homes.

‘Under a new regulation, doctors do not actually have to see a patient to register their deaths now. They can do it over the phone with a description of their symptoms.

‘I could understand many doctors or GPs not being willing to put COVID-19 on a death certificate when they’ve neither had a test, nor seen the patient.

‘Unfortunately, we don’t seem to know yet how many of these extra deaths are being registered without even seeing the patient. That seems to me very important to have that piece of information.’

Speaking to the BBC’s World At One, he added: ‘There are suggestions going around that doctors are kind of being encouraged not to put covid on the death certificate.’

He did not explain who was pressuring doctors not to report the virus on the death certificates or why.

Debbie Cholwill said her mother (pictured) passed away on April 10. On Facebook, she wrote: 'It is with deep sadness that I am putting this message on sadly after six years of my mum being in a care home with dementia she sadly passed away last night, after testing positive for Coronavirus'

Debbie Cholwill said her mother (pictured) passed away on April 10. On Facebook, she wrote: 'It is with deep sadness that I am putting this message on sadly after six years of my mum being in a care home with dementia she sadly passed away last night, after testing positive for Coronavirus'

Debbie Cholwill said her mother (pictured) passed away on April 10. On Facebook, she wrote: ‘It is with deep sadness that I am putting this message on sadly after six years of my mum being in a care home with dementia she sadly passed away last night, after testing positive for Coronavirus’

Elaine Shirt had to put her 'lovely' father Cyril Lawrence, 99, into respite in a care home after her mother was taken ill recently and went into hospital. Pictured, Mr Lawrence (front row, third from left) with Stan Mortensen (front row, sixth from left) at Blackpool in 1939

Elaine Shirt had to put her 'lovely' father Cyril Lawrence, 99, into respite in a care home after her mother was taken ill recently and went into hospital. Pictured, Mr Lawrence (front row, third from left) with Stan Mortensen (front row, sixth from left) at Blackpool in 1939

Elaine Shirt had to put her ‘lovely’ father Cyril Lawrence, 99, into respite in a care home after her mother was taken ill recently and went into hospital. Pictured, Mr Lawrence (front row, third from left) with Stan Mortensen (front row, sixth from left) at Blackpool in 1939

Something funny, Care Minister? Moment grinning MP Helen Whately LAUGHS as Piers Morgan confronts her over 4,000 coronavirus care home deaths

She said her laughter was a reaction to him showing her the front page of the newspaper, when she was unable to see him due to not having a screen visible showing the GMB host.

She said her laughter was a reaction to him showing her the front page of the newspaper, when she was unable to see him due to not having a screen visible showing the GMB host.

She said her laughter was a reaction to him showing her the front page of the newspaper, when she was unable to see him due to not having a screen visible showing the GMB host.

Care minister Helen Whately was blasted today for sniggering in a car crash TV interview as it was revealed a ‘hidden epidemic’ of coronavirus in nursing and old-people’s homes may have cost 4,000 lives.

She was taken to task by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain as he grilled her over an exclusive report in the Daily Mail that deaths in care facilities are being hugely under-reported because of a lack of testing.  

Mrs Whately, 43, the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, was sent out to face the media this morning as anger and questions increased over the vulnerability of care home residents amid a lack of testing and personal protective equipment  (PPE) for staff. 

Appearing on GMB she insisted that the Government has been working hard to tackle the crisis, but Piers insisted she answer questions about deaths in care homes, telling her he expected her to be working hard.

He asked: ‘Is it true that 4,000 people have died in care home? Yes or no?’ 

But medical professionals are urged not to record an illness as cause of death unless they are very sure.  

Nick Stripe, head of the health analysis and life events division at the Office for National Statistics said: ‘It could be that the doctor certifying the death, to the best of their knowledge, is not sure enough that there is possibly covid involved to put it on the death certificate.

‘It’s dependent of the doctor, understanding the patient’s background and recent symptoms in terms of what in their medical opinion they put on the death certificate.’

Research by the London School of Economics over the weekend suggested that about half of coronavirus deaths in Europe were occurring in care homes.

In Belgium the figure was estimated to be 42 per cent, rising to 53 per cent in Italy and 57 per cent in Spain.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the official figures were ‘airbrushing older people out like they didn’t matter’.

She added: ‘Any suggestion that these spiralling care home deaths are somehow inevitable would be utterly wrong, sounding suspiciously like an excuse for failings of national policy and practice.’

Christina McAnea, assistant general secretary of Unison which represents many care home staff said: ‘These figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

‘A comprehensive programme of testing of staff and the people they look after should start at once.

‘Without daily updates on the number of people dying in residential care and their own homes, it’s impossible to track the spread of the virus. Hospital deaths are only part of the picture.’

Campaigners and MPs warned yesterday of an ‘unfolding horror’ that could end up with tens of thousands of forgotten victims. 

Ministers face urgent calls to get a grip and get virus tests for all staff and residents with symptoms, more protection gear and a Cabinet minister to deal with the crisis.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night pledged action on testing and is also expected to outline a plan to address the crisis in a social care strategy. 

Care home operators complain they are being overlooked, with desperate short – ages of testing and staff safety equipment making it extremely hard to stop the disease ravaging their sites. 

Care minister Helen Whately was blasted today for sniggering in a car crash TV interview about the ‘hidden epidemic’ of coronavirus in care homes. 

She was taken to task by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain as he grilled her over a Mail exclusive that deaths in care facilities are being hugely under-reported. 

Mrs Whately, 43, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent,  insisted that the Government has been working hard to tackle the crisis.

But Piers insisted she answer questions about deaths in care homes, telling her he expected her to be working hard.

He asked: ‘Is it true that 4,000 people have died in care home? Yes or no?’ 

The Social Care Minister then thanked him for acknowledging what the government is doing and said the work was ‘really important’.

Piers interrupted to say tell her that it was more important that 4,000 people have died, only for the Minister to start laughing. 

The host said: ‘Why are you laughing? What do you find funny about this?’

She said: ‘I don’t think it’s funny in the slightest.’

He responded: ‘Well why do you keep laughing then? I’m not laughing at all,’ she said.

Piers replied: ‘I literally just asked you is it true that 4,000 elderly people have died in hosp and all you can do is laugh what’s the matter with you?’

As she continued to insist she wasn’t laughing and asked Piers not to suggest she had been, he said: ‘We literally just saw you.’ 

But she said her laughter was a reaction to him showing her the front page of the newspaper, when she was unable to see him due to not having a screen visible showing the GMB host.  

Link hienalouca.com

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