There has been almost a 50 per cent rise in just a few days in the number of people being treated for coronavirus in England's hospitals, according to new figures.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said on Friday that more than 6,200 patients were in hospital with Covid-19.

But on Monday, he said this figure had jumped to more than 9,000.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Cumbria is now at 340 - an increase of 48 on the previous day’s total.

Public Health England figures show Cumbria as the eighth highest NHS region for confirmed cases.

When comparing to this time last week (March 23), the number of confirmed cases has more than trebled from 110 to 340.

England's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the NHS was seeing around an additional 1,000 patients a day and described this daily rise as "stable".

He told reporters at the daily press briefing: "I do expect that number to continue. I expect people coming every day to be about that, it may go up a little bit.

"And in two or three weeks you would expect that to stabilise and to start to go down a bit."

It comes as 1,408 people are now confirmed to have died in UK hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19, as of 5pm on Sunday.

This is up 180 from 1,228 the day before.

Earlier the head of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said around one in four NHS doctors are off work sick or in isolation.

Public Health England (PHE) also announced that almost 11,000 coronavirus tests a day can now be carried out.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will this week release figures on deaths involving Covid-19 in the wider community, such as care homes.

The ONS will look at deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.

These figures are likely to offer detail on how many community deaths involve coronavirus, rather than just looking at deaths in hospitals.

Sir Patrick said these ONS figures would provide "extra numbers" but they would not be "large."

Meanwhile, Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London and author of a report which warned of mass deaths if the UK did not introduce strict controls, said there were signs the rate of hospital admissions was slowing.

While the numbers are still going up, the rate of growth is slowing, he suggested.

Prof Ferguson said social distancing measures brought in by the Government appeared to be having an effect on the numbers.

"In the UK we can see some early signs of slowing in some indicators - less so deaths because deaths are lagged by a long time from when measures come in force," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"But if we look at the numbers of new hospital admissions, that does appear to be slowing down a bit now.

"It has not yet plateaued, so still the numbers can be increasing each day but the rate of that increase has slowed."

Prof Ferguson said the epidemic was spreading at different rates in different parts of the country, but across the UK perhaps 2% or 3% of the population had been infected.

Based on the estimated UK population of 66 million, this would mean between 1.3 and two million people have or have had the illness.


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