The number of NHS staff who have died after contracting Covid-19 has risen to 27, the Health Secretary confirmed.
Matt Hancock said there had “very sadly” been 27 verified deaths amongst those working for the health service during the pandemic.
This updated figure is an increase from Sunday, when he said there had been 19 deaths during the pandemic.
But announcements from NHS trusts and tributes from loved ones indicate the true number is higher still, with more than 40 NHS staff now said to have died with coronavirus.
One of the latest victims identified is Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, a pregnant nurse at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital who died on Sunday.
Announcing the latest official death toll, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast on Thursday the story of 28-year-old Ms Agyapong was a “terrible one”.
The nurse tested positive for the disease on April 5 and was admitted to the hospital she worked at on April 7.
Her baby daughter was delivered successfully by caesarean section and is doing well, according to the hospital, although it is not clear whether the infant has also tested positive for Covid-19.
Almost £100,000 has since been raised for Ms Agyapong family on a Gofundme page.
Speaking to ITV News, Mr Hancock said: “The story of Mary shows the nation’s love and support and gratitude to all those that are working in the NHS and social care and doing those frontline jobs that are so important.”
He added: “It is very important that our NHS colleagues who catch coronavirus, including those who sadly have died, it’s very important we look into each case, also where they may have caught it, because it isn’t necessarily always at work, but it may well be.”