19 NHS staff have died from coronavirus, Health secretary confirms amid warning UK could still be two weeks away from the peak

A total of 19 members of NHS staff have died after testing positive for coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed.
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Health Secretary confirmed the figure on BBC Breakfast on Saturday after avoiding the question during Friday’s briefing.

England's Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May refused to say how many NHS workers had died and said it would be ‘inappropriate’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast the figure on Saturday and said: "My heart goes out to their families, these are people who have put themselves on the front line.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that 19 NHS staff have died of coronavirus in the UKHealth Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that 19 NHS staff have died of coronavirus in the UK
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that 19 NHS staff have died of coronavirus in the UK

"The work is going on to establish whether they caught coronavirus in the line of duty while at work or whether, like so many other people, caught it in the rest of their lives. It is obviously quite difficult to work that out.

"What matters is we pay tribute to their service."

Read More
Live coronavirus updates: Government confirms 19 NHS staff have died from corona...

He added: "I'm particularly struck at the high proportion of people from minority ethnic backgrounds and people who have come to this country to work in the NHS who have died of coranavirus

"I find it really upsetting actually and it is a testament to the fact that people who have come from all over the world have come and given their lives in service to the NHS and paid for that with their lives.

"I think we should recognise their enormous contribution."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This comes as Mr Hancock warned that the UK has not reached the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, which scientific advisors have warned could be two weeks away.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it was still too early to determine whether the peak of coronavirus infections in the UK had been reached.

He said: "The good news is we have seen the number of hospital admissions starting - starting, I stress - to flatten out.

"You can see (from the Government's charts) that instead of going up exponentially, as they would have done if we had not taken the measures, that they are starting to come down and flatten.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We haven't seen that enough to have confidence to make changes.

"The answer to your question, about have we reached the peak, is nobody knows."

When asked about the chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, saying the UK was two weeks away from the peak, Mr Hancock added: "Our judgment is that we are not there yet and that we haven't seen a flattening enough to be able to say that we have reached the peak."

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

How to subscribe to the print edition

It’s easy to subscribe to your local newspaper. We have arranged a special 20 per cent off subscription offer for people to take advantage of. Visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk, choose the newspaper title, the type of subscription and enter your details.