A total of 18,100 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, as officials report a further 759 virus-related deaths.

The update is an increase from the total death toll reported on Tuesday of 17,337.

The latest Department for Health figures come as the Health Secretary said the UK had reached "the peak" of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Speaking at the first virtual PMQs, Matt Hancock also confirmed a total of fifteen social care staff had died having contracted coronavirus.

Matt Hancock said experts have "high confidence" the peak of the outbreak in the UK has been reached, but added "obviously" the number of infections need to "come down".

The Health Secretary warned against relaxing lockdown restrictions until "five tests" were able to be met by the Government.

His comments come a day after another scientific study suggested the England and Wales had reached a peak in the number of coronavirus on April 8.

A panel convened by the Science Media Centre pointed to the date based on data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday.

A stretcher which had been used recently to transport a body into a temporary morgue at a mosque in Birmingham. Credit: PA

Of the latest UK death toll, 665 patients died in hospitals in England having tested positive for the virus.

The latest NHS England figures bring the total death toll there to 16,272.

Wednesday's reported death toll includes 119 fatalities from April 21, 254 from April 20 and 108 from April 19.

The remaining deaths in Wednesday's updated figures took place between April 1-18, while a further nine deaths that occurred in March.

The delay in reporting can be attributed to delays in obtaining positive results, post-mortem outcomes, and for testing data to be validated.

The Government has pledged to ramp up testing in the UK. Credit: PA

In Scotland, a further 77 virus-related deaths have been reported bringing the death toll there to 1,062.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a total of 9,038 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland, while 155 coronavirus patients remain in critical care.

Of the latest UK figures, 15 of the deaths occurred in Wales where a total of 624 patients have now died after testing positive for coronavirus.

Wales' Chief Medical Officer announced on Wednesday that lockdown measures there had "squashed the curve" and helped to maintain the outbreak.

Health authorities in Northern Ireland have reported a further eight deaths in patients who had tested positive for Covid-19. The Public Health Agency says the death toll there now stands at 250.

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