Coronavirus news: Matt Hancock calls for volunteers for treatment research drive and orders people to stay at home before warm weekend

Adam Forrest, Conrad Duncan

Matt Hancock ordered the public to stay at home during the warm weather over the weekend after warning that UK deaths from coronavirus could reach a peak of 1,000 per day by Easter Sunday.

The health secretary's dire admission on the future of the outbreak was given at the opening of the new NHS Nightingale hospital to fight the Covid-19 outbreak in London. Officials later confirmed that a further 684 patients had died in hospital in the 24 hours before 5pm on Thursday, bringing the total in the UK so far to 3,605.

Mr Hancock also called for volunteers for a series of new medical trials for coronavirus treatments. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has said he will remain in self-isolation due to a high temperature, despite completing his planned seven-day period, and the government's proposal to give immunity certificates to people who have recovered from Covid-19 has been described as "dangerous" by a health expert because it could give people a "sense of false security" over the virus.

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