UK daily deaths top 888, Queen Elizabeth II tones down birthday celebrations

London, 18 Apr (efe-epa).- Health authorities in the United Kingdom on Saturday said there had been another 888 hospital deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours as Queen Elizabeth II asked for traditional public celebrations for her 94th birthday this week to be cancelled.

The daily death toll, which does not factor in deaths outside of medical or care centers, exceeds the 847 registered Friday and brings the overall number fatalities related to Covid-19 to 15,464.

A total of 114,217 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, according to the department of health and social care.

The daily update comes in the middle of a controversy over the lack of personal protective gear for frontline healthcare workers amid warnings stockpiles could run out by this weekend.

Coming under increased pressure, health secretary Matt Hancock on Friday urged business to start producing PPE.

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving British monarch, has instructed the traditional gun salutes to mark her birthday on Tuesday. It is believed to be the first time the guns will remain silent in her reign so far.

“Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances,” a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace told press

The Queen is set to spend her birthday in Windsor Castle, the source added.

She recently gave an extraordinary address to the public to offer encouragement to get through the health crisis in the UK. On Tuesday, she will speak with her family members via videolink in a low-key affair, the Buckingham Palace source said.

On Thursday, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary who is currently deputizing in Boris Johnson’s stead while the prime minister recovers from Covid-19, announced a three-week extension to the lockdown in the country. EFE-EPA


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