CORONAVIRUS has claimed the life of seven people in south Essex, NHS chiefs say.

On Saturday, it was confirmed three patients who tested positive for coronavirus had died at Southend Hospital.

Two of the patients - aged 64 and 76, had underlying medical conditions. A third patient, aged 64, had no underlying medical conditions.

Four patients have also died at Basildon Hospital.

Three of those patients - one 29, another 61 and a third who was 85, all had underlying health conditions.

A further seven deaths have been reported by the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust whose hospitals include Broomfield.

One of those who died at Southend Hospital was Leigh GP, Dr Habib Zaidi .

Artist Paul Karslake, 61, from Leigh also died after contracting the virus, his sister, Jo Wood said.

Clare Panniker, chief executive of Southend Hospital, said: “We can confirm two patients aged 64 and 76 with underlying medical conditions and a patient aged 64 with no underlying medical conditions have passed away at Southend Hospital.

“They had tested positive for Covid-19.

“Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients’ families and loved ones.”

A further death has been reported by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation which provides community health, mental health and learning disability services in the East of England.

Another 209 people were reported to have died in the UK yesterday after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the total to 1,228.

The death toll dropped slightly from Saturday when 260 deaths were reported.

There were now 19,522 confirmed cases in the UK and 244 in Essex.

Meanwhile, deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries told a press conference yesterday that it could be six months or longer before the country gets back to normal, with reviews of lockdown measures every three weeks