The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Lancashire has reached 292 – a dramatic increase of 40 in a single day.

A total of 14 people have contracted the virus in Blackburn with Darwen, up two from yesterday, Public Health England confirmed.

Two deaths were also reported at Blackpool Victoria Hospital earlier today.

In a statement on the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust website, Kevin McGee, Chief Executive said: "We can confirm that, sadly, a further two patients have died who tested positive for COVID-19 while being treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“Both patients had underlying health issues.

“They were a man aged 64 and a woman aged 70.

“Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients’ families and loved ones at this difficult time.”

The number of confirmed deaths in the UK has risen by 180 to over 1,400 in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, said the UK will not be in “complete lockdown” for six months as previously reported.

Instead, she expects social distancing measures will be lifted gradually as the UK reaches the peak of the outbreak.