The U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday that Britain had recorded 980 deaths from coronavirus in the 24-hour period since the last report, the highest daily toll yet.
It brings the total number of fatalities from COVID-19 in U.K. hospitals to nearly 8,000, while the number of confirmed cases inside the country climbed to more than 65,000.
"This Easter will be another test of the nation's resolve," Hancock said. "But no matter how tempting the weather, how tempting your local park, we must stay home."
His comments come as the weather has improved and warmed ahead of the long bank holiday weekend. The government has emphasized the need for Brits to stay at home in accordance with the lockdown.
Hancock also said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition continues to improve.
Johnson, 55, spent three nights in the intensive care unit at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened. He was moved back to a regular ward on Thursday evening, and his office said he was in “the early phase of his recovery.”
On Friday, Johnson's Downing St. office said he was able to take “short walks” between periods of rest and had spoken to his doctors to thank them “for the incredible care he has received.”
Saying the government is functioning efficiently in the absence of the prime minister, Hancock added that they do not have information yet to make a decision about the social distancing change.