Saturday 14 March 2020 2:32 pm

UK coronavirus: Deaths double in 24 hours as cases hit 1,140

Ten more people have died after being diagnosed with coronavirus, according to NHS England, while the total number of confirmed cases reached 1,140.

It means there was an increases of 342 cases as of 9am this morning.

Meanwhile, the total number of deaths in the UK has risen to 21.

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said those to have died were patients in the “at-risk groups”.

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Each are believed to have had underlying health issues and been over the age of 60.

The deaths have occurred around England and include cities of London, Birmingham and Leicester.

So far 20 of the 21 deaths have been based in England.

Whitty said: “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.

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“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.”

It comes as the UK considers implementing emergency legislation next week that would ban mass gatherings.

These are set to be defined as involving more than 500 people and could come into effect before next weekend.