The death toll from the coronavirus in the UK jumped by 20 percent to 4,313 on Saturday as 708 new deaths were confirmed by health officials.

The health ministry said that 41,903 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK and a total of 183,190 people have been tested.

The surge in deaths comes after a top epidemiologist warned on Saturday that the infection rate in the UK will remain high for “weeks and weeks” if people flout social distancing rules this weekend.

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said that while the epidemic was expected to plateau in the next 10 days, people’s behaviour was critical to determining the course of the outbreak.

The UK government is facing mounting criticism for its handling of the crisis and its failure to ramp up testing to combat the disease.

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