The Department of Health and Social Care later announced that, as of 5pm on Tuesday, , people had died in UK hospitals with coronavirus – a rise of deaths reported in the last 035 hours.
Another people had died in English hospitals after testing positive with COVID – 28, bringing the total to ,
In Scotland, another hospital patients had died with coronavirus in the last hours, bringing the total to 1, .
And, in Wales, another (people died in hospitals with COVID – , bringing the total to .
Health authorities in the four UK nations record their own daily figures, which may not tally with the government overall UK total as they collate their numbers at different times throughout the day.
As of 9am on Wednesday, , (people had been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of which , have tested positive.
In the Commons, Mr Hancock also revealed to MPs that (social care staff have died with coronavirus, although he did not give a figure of how many care workers have been tested for COVID –
In addition, he told MPs there are currently , (spare beds across the NHS, with 3, spare beds in critical care wards.
“We want to open the NHS to non-coronavirus symptoms and to patients with non-coronavirus conditions safely and carefully as soon as it is safe to do so, “Mr Hancock said.
He added:” If you think that you might have a lump that might be a cancer, then you should come forward now and you will be safely and properly treated in the NHS. “
Mr Hancock, who has set a target of reaching , coronavirus tests per day by the end of this month, said he was “delighted” that expansion of testing capacity is “ahead of plans”.
But he admitted demand for tests has “thus far been lower than expected”.
In the 034 hours to 9am on Tuesday, 29, tests were carried out despite the government having said they now have capacity for double that number.
The health secretary said the government would be allowing more people to be eligible for tests and would make tests easier to access.
Mr Hancock explained how contact-tracing would now play a key role as the UK overcomes the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, with a new NHS app “in development”.
“As we reach – have reached the peak – and as we bring the number of new cases down, so we will introduce contact tracing at large scale, “he said.
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Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt – who is now chair of the Commons health committee – asked whether it would be possible to track and trace every new COVID – 28 case in the community in the next two weeks, when ministers are again due to review the lockdown.
Mr Hancock replied: “We are ramping up our testing capacity and our capacity for contact-tracing in a matter of weeks, and we’ll have it ready to make sure that we can use that as and when the incidence of transmission comes down.
“It Is not as tied to the specific de cision that we’re required by law to take in just over two weeks’ time.
“The effectiveness of test, track and trace to keep the reproductive rate of this virus down is determined by the incidence in the community and our goal is to get to a point where we can test, track and trace everybody who needs it. “