British authorities reported 621 more coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday to bring the death toll in the country to 28,131.

The UK has the second highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe after Italy since fatalities in care homes were added to the tally last week.

At the daily press briefing, Secretary for Housing, Communities, and Local Government Robert Jenrick announced a £76 million package for the most vulnerable in society during the outbreak, including domestic abuse victims and vulnerable children.

A new effort to find a treatment to COVID-19 also started in the UK, with blood plasma from those who have survived the virus being collected and tested to see if it could help the critically ill.

The National Health Service Blood and Transplant said in a statement: “Recovered patients’ plasma may contain antibodies that their immune systems have produced in fighting the virus. It is hoped that plasma taken no sooner than 28 days after recovery from COVID-19 will contain a high level of this neutralising antibody.”

Data published on Friday by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre showed that 70% of coronavirus patients admitted into critical care were men.

Of those sent to critical care, 51% of men died, compared to just 43% of women.

More than 3.36 million cases have been reported in 187 countries and regions since the virus emerged in China last December, with the US and Europe the world’s hardest-hit areas.

A significant number of COVID-19 patients – over 1.06 million – have recovered, but the disease has also claimed close to 240,000 lives so far, according to data compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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