Sir Patrick Vallance said coronavirus cases were rising across Europe – and that was leading to a mounting daily death toll.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser said in Spain and France “it started with younger people in their 20s and spread gradually to older ages as well”.

“That increasing case number has translated into an increase in hospitalisations.

“As the hospitalisations have increased… very sadly, but not unexpectedly, deaths are also increasing.”

There was a “simple message” that “as the disease spreads, as it spreads across age groups, we expect to see increasing hospitalisations and unfortunately, those increasing hospitalisations will lead to increasing deaths”.

In a presentation of the latest coronavirus data, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “The way that we reduce the spread is by limiting our number of contacts, by reducing contact in environments where spread is more likely – those are crowded environments, indoor environments, poor ventilation – and making sure that we reduce the probability of coming into contact with anyone who is infectious.

“And that’s the importance of self-isolation, keeping out of circulation if you have, or may have, the virus.”

Sir Patrick also warned as cases rise, hospitalisations and, sadly, deaths, will follow "very fast". 

Prof Chris Whitty also pointed to cases increase across the country, rather than just in isolated hotspots.

He said: "This is not someone else's problem. This is all of our problem."

More to follow