More than 5,000 people in the UK have now been infected with coronavirus.

It comes as the number of COVID-19-related deaths has risen to 233 after 53 more fatalities were announced in England.

NHS England said the patients who died were aged between 41 and 94 and all had underlying health conditions.

Wales’s number of dead has risen to five, Scotland’s now stands at seven and Northern Ireland’s remains at one.

In the UK, there has been a rise of 1,035 confirmed cases in a day to 5,018.

London continues to represent more than a third of all UK deaths – an increase of 19 on Saturday, eight of which were at one hospital trust, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust.

The capital now has 90 deaths, followed by 42 in the South East, 32 in the West Midlands, 19 in the North West, 12 in the South West, nine in the East Midlands, eight in Yorkshire and the Humber and four in the North East.

The latest figures come as panic buyers were told they “should be ashamed” for causing needless shortages for NHS staff.

The retail industry has insisted there was enough food for everyone, and Environment Secretary George Eustice said manufacturers have increased production by 50%.

NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis said the country should be ashamed that key medical staff
were left unable to buy food at the end of their shifts.

Mr Eustice said that people buying more than they needed meant key NHS workers fighting the disease were faced with empty shelves when they tried to shop.

He said the message to the public was: “Be responsible when you shop and think of others.”

Mr Eustice played down the prospect of the government imposing rationing, saying ministers’ preference was to leave it to the retailers to decide whether purchases should be limited.

On Friday, Boris Johnson ordered the shutdown of cafes, pubs, restaurants and gyms as efforts were ramped to halt the spread of coronavirus.

It coincided with a warning by the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that young people are “not invincible” and can still be killed by the infection or be confined to hospital “for weeks”.

Schools across the UK have also now closed, except for children of key workers, in the battle to contain the pandemic.

In a bid to help the economy survive the pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the government would step in to pay people’s wages, with grants that will cover 80% of the salaries of retained workers – up to £2,500 a month.

He also said he would defer the next quarter of VAT payments for businesses until the end of June, in a £30bn injection into the economy.

In a further step, Mr Sunak pledged £1bn for renters by boosting housing benefit and Universal Credit, and added that the welfare payments’ “generosity” would be increased to allow the local housing allowance to cover at least 30% of market rents.

Economists have said the cost of the plan to cover most of the wages of workers whose jobs are under threat could run into billions of pounds a month.

The move has been largely welcomed by trade unions and employers in the face of growing concerns about a major economic recession and mass job losses.

But shadow chancellor John McDonnell argued Mr Sunak had not gone “far enough or fast enough”.

The government has also faced criticism that its rescue package did not cover freelancers, contractors and the self-employed.

Treasury Chief Secretary Stephen Barclay has said providing protection for the incomes of the self-employed would be “operationally” difficult to deliver.

But he said they would benefit from measures such as the deferral of self-assessment tax requirements, the holidays for mortgage payers and the strengthening of the welfare “safety net”.

Source: NEWS SKY

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