U.K. Coronavirus Death Toll Rises By 761 to 12,868

A further 761 people have died from coronavirus, taking the U.K. death toll to 12,868, the Department Of Health (DoH) has confirmed.

Today's jump in deaths follows a slightly higher rise of 778 yesterday.

It comes as the government faces increasing pressure to publish an exit strategy from the U.K.-wide lockdown imposed on March 23.

It is widely expected that the government will announce an extension to lockdown measures tomorrow, with Sir Patrick Vallance, the U.K.'s Chief Scientific Adviser, expecting the number of coronavirus deaths to rise for another fortnight.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says he is willing to back an extension but that the government needed to publish an exit strategy this week.

During an appearance on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday morning, Sir Keir said: "We've got to have the trust of the public."

He added it was "inevitable that the lockdown will have to continue" for some time.

"Mass testing and then tracing is likely to be amongst the options for ending the lockdown," Sir Keir said.

Coronavirus in U.S.
Coronavirus deaths in the U.K. have continued to rise. Angela Weiss/Getty

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has urged "caution" over the easing of lockdown measures, saying that the world stands at a "pivotal juncture" in the fight against the pandemic.

In its latest strategy update the W.H.O. said: "To reduce the risk of new outbreaks, measures should be lifted in a phased, step-wise manner based on an assessment of the epidemiological risks and socioeconomic benefits of lifting restrictions on different workplaces, educational institutions, and social activities."

The government has previously said that it working on a plan to lift restrictions, but no concrete details have yet been published.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Downing Street daily press conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted the government's priority would remain saving lives.

He said: "At a time when we are seeing hundreds of people dying every day from this terrible disease, the absolute priority must be to focus all of our resources, not just of the state, but of businesses, and of all of you at home as well, in a collective national effort to beat this virus."

Correction 4/15/20, 12:05 p.m. ET: This article was corrected to include figures from the health secretary given at the U.K. daily press briefing. Previous releases had the daily death toll at 801, not 761.