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Coronavirus: Pound falls as UK prime minister admitted to hospital and death toll rises

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Boris Johnson British Prime Minister at a daily COVID 19 press briefing at Downing Street London on 22 March 2020. Photo: Getty/Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror

The pound against the US dollar (GBPUSD=X) fell by over 1.5% as of 9:50pm local time after the UK government confirmed that British prime minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests, 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.

Johnson tested positive for coronavirus on 27 March and has been working from home ever since. He chaired a coronavirus meeting via video-link on 3 April.

The Department of Health said that 47,806 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, as of 9am local time today (5 April). Another 621 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in the past day, bringing the death toll in the UK to 4,934.

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A UK government spokesperson said:

"On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests.

"This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus."

"The prime minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the government's advice to stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives."

READ MORE: UK coronavirus deaths increase by 621 to 4,934

The news comes just hours after health secretary Matt Hancock told the public that it was "mission-critical" to follow social distancing rules in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus as well as protect the National Health Service (NHS).

"The more people follow the rules than the faster we will all be through this," he said. He also added it was “quite unbelievable” that some parks in London and elsewhere were reportedly full of people despite lockdown pleas. He said that this behaviour could not go on.

Within an hour of the Johnson announcement, Scotland's chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood resigned after she was photographed by The Scottish Sun visiting her holiday home on the east coast of the country over the weekend.

It was the second time she had done so during the lockdown, she admitted.

"As well as this weekend, it's important to be clear, that I also was there last weekend with my husband," Calderwood told the Scottish government's daily coronavirus briefing earlier today. "I did not follow the advice I am giving to others. I'm truly sorry for that."

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