THE UK recorded its deadliest day yet yesterday as the total number of coronavirus deaths hit 8958.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that 980 people from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland had now died after contracting Covid-19.

Those figures give the UK the grim honour of having the highest daily death toll of any country in Europe.

Spain’s highest daily death toll was 950, while Italy’s was 971.

While those two countries are past the peak of their outbreak, the UK’s death toll is likely to rise for at least two more weeks.

In total, there have now been 8958 deaths in the UK.

The bleak figures came on the day the global death toll from coronavirus approached 100,000.

Hancock said some 19,116 coronavirus tests had been carried out across the UK on Thursday, of which 5706 came back positive.

The number of people who have tested positive for the disease stands at 19,304, of which 8958 have died – an increase of 980 on the day before.

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He added: “We never forget that behind this number, behind each one is a name, a loss, and a family that will never be the same again. And we all share a responsibility to tackle this virus, first and foremost by staying at home.”

Hancock also promised that all key NHS and social care workers who need to be tested for Covid-19 will receive tests. He said the Government now has the capacity to test all frontline staff who need it, amid significant numbers self-isolating for fear of having contracted Covid-19.

The Health Secretary said 15 testing drive-through centres had been opened across the UK to enable more testing for frontline staff. One of these is in Glasgow.

Hancock also said he was “very happy to report” that Boris Johnson’s condition continues to improve.

The Prime Minister was moved out of intensive care on Thursday after spending three nights in the high dependency unit.

While he received standard oxygen treatment he did not require mechanical ventilation.

He is still in a ward in St Thomas’s hospital, according to Downing Street, A spokesman said he was “in very good spirits”, but at an “early stage” of his recovery.

It’s thought the Tory leader may need to take a month off work.

A statement from Number 10 said: “The Prime Minister has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery.

“He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received.

“His thoughts are with those affected by this terrible disease.”

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