The UK has reported a record 938 new Covid-19 deaths in its daily update, 152 more than its previous highest toll, as the total number of deaths passed 7,000.

"As of 5pm on 7 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 7,097 have sadly died," the health ministry tweeted, up from 6,159 yesterday.

In Northern Ireland five more patients have died as a result of the virus, bringing the total number of deaths there to 78. It comes as 84 new cases of the disease were confirmed, bringing the total figure to 1,339.

To date, 9,564 people in Northern Ireland have been tested.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition is "improving" as he battles Covid-19 but he remains in intensive care, according to his finance minister, Rishi Sunak.

The prime minister was "responding to treatment" and in "good spirits" after spending his third night in London's St Thomas' Hospital, his official Downing Street spokesman said earlier.

The 55-year-old was said to be no longer working while following the advice of doctors and receiving just the "standard oxygen treatment" and "breathing without any other assistance".

When asked about further specifics about his condition or treatment, the spokesman said the update includes all the information the Prime Minister's medical team "considers to be clinically relevant".

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab again chaired the daily Covid-19 meeting this morning as he deputises for Mr Johnson.

Asked if anyone has been in contact with the prime minister, the spokesman said: "The PM is not working, he's in intensive care, he has the ability to contact those that he needs to, he's following the advice of his doctors at all times."

He added that Downing Street was "hugely grateful" for the messages of support that Mr Johnson has received as he undergoes treatment.

Mr Johnson is the most high-profile government leader to become infected with Covid-19 and messages of support flooded in from across Britain and the world.

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He was admitted to intensive care on Monday evening after spending Sunday night in hospital following concerns he still had a cough and high temperature ten days after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

His transfer to intensive care is unprecedented for a prime minister during a national emergency. For many people, it brought home the seriousness of the disease.

Despite the record daily death toll, there was more encouraging news with the number of new daily cases in the UK remaining at a roughly stable 3,643.

In a round of broadcast interviews, senior minister Michael Gove insisted the "work of government goes on".
He later said he was now staying at home after a family member displayed mild coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Raab also chaired the daily coronavirus meeting in the prime minister's place yesterday.

"There is a clear plan ... the government and the cabinet are working together to implement that plan," Mr Johnson's spokesman said when asked if there was a power vacuum in Britain.

The country does not have a formal constitutional role of deputy prime minister, and experts said Mr Raab would need the support of the rest of the cabinet to make any big decisions.

The most pressing issue is a review expected next week on whether to continue the nationwide lockdown introduced on 23 March to try to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Johnson announced on 27 March that he had coronavirus and went into self-isolation in a flat above his Downing Street office.

But on Monday evening he was moved to intensive care in London's St Thomas' hospital after his condition worsened.

The prime minister has received messages of support from around the world, with US President Donald Trump sending best wishes to his "very good friend", while Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Mr Johnson's "energy, optimism and sense of humour" would see him through.

Experts said it was not uncommon for coronavirus patients to move to intensive care, but said it showed Mr Johnson's condition was serious.

The British government was criticised for initially refusing to follow other European countries in requiring people to stay home as the virus spread rapidly across the globe.

Mr Johnson himself said in early March that he was still shaking hands with people.

Two weeks ago, he ordered a nationwide lockdown, but parliament continued to sit for several days after and Westminster became a hotspot for the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Prince Charles, have both been infected, although they have since recovered.

Mr Johnson, who has been prime minister only since July last year, is not known to have any underlying health issues, although he has struggled with his weight.

Mr Johnson's pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, moved out of Downing Street after some staff fell ill.

But she said on Saturday that she had just spent a week in bed with symptoms, although she has not been tested.