The National Health Service (NHS) has confirmed 10 more people infected with coronavirus have died, bringing the country’s death toll to 21.

Professor Chris Whitty confirmed the sad news just after 2pm this afternoon.

He said all 10 people were in the "at risk" group which the government has said is elderly people or individuals with underlying health conditions.

Mr Whitty said the "public should know every measure" is being taken to protect and save the lives of those most vulnerable.

The dramatic increase comes just days after Boris Johnson moved the country's response to the "delay" phase – but did not implement drastic measures to isolate the population.

It came as a surprise to Brits who were expecting the Prime Minister to lock down schools and close public transport.

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In a statement, Mr Whitty said: "I am sorry to confirm 10 further patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in England have died.

"All 10 individuals were in the at risk groups.

"I understand this increase in the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 will be a cause for concern for many.

"The public should know every measure we are taking is seeking to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.

"Every single one of us has a role to play in achieving this. If you have a new continuous cough or high temperature, please stay at home for seven days. I also encourage everyone to be washing their hands for 20 seconds regularly.

"I offer my sincere condolences to the families and friends who have received this difficult news. I ask that their privacy is respected at this time."

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  • Coronavirus
  • NHS

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