England’s chief medical office, Chris Whitty, said on Wednesday that the outbreak was peaking but said he still expected the number of deaths to keep rising.
Health ministry figures show 12,868 people in hospitals in Britain have so far died, making it one of the worst affected countries in the global outbreak.
Among the dead are 27 staff, who work for the state-run National Health Service, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock confirmed.
They include a 28-year-old pregnant nurse, Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, who died on Sunday.
The baby, a little girl, was delivered by cesarean section before she died and is said by the hospital to be doing well.
“We are all deeply touched and moved by deaths of nurses like this,” Hancock said.
But healthcare staff have repeatedly warned they are not getting the protective equipment they need, amid shortages of gowns, gloves, masks and visors.
Ministers have also been criticised for the slow expansion of testing for coronavirus, something many people believe is crucial to ending the lockdown.
Dave Prentis, head of Britain’s biggest trade union Unison, warned that “for all the warm words and promises about supplies of protective equipment, the situation appears to be getting worse, not better”.
In a rare piece of good news, a World War II veteran doing sponsored laps of his garden has now raised more than £12 million ($15 million, 13.8 million euros) for the NHS.
Captain Tom Moore, 99, is trying to complete 100 lengths of his 25-metre (82-foot) garden — using a walking frame — before his 100th birthday at the end of the month.