MORE families will inevitably lose loved ones to coronavirus because patients dying now were infected around a month ago - weeks before social distancing measures were put in place - an expert has warned.

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute at the University of Oxford, spoke out after a further 209 people in the UK died after being tested for Covid-19, bringing the total to 1,228.

Other academics have also cautioned people not to assume that because the 209 figure was lower than the 260 who died in the previous 24 hours, it meant the disease was under control.

Prof Naismnith told PA News Agency: "I am confident that provided we follow social distancing the increase in deaths will stop and this will be followed by a decrease in the daily numbers.

"It can take up to two weeks from infection to onset of symptoms.

"For over 80per cent of people these symptoms are mild, for the much smaller number who develop the most serious illness, intensive care is needed around 10 days later.

"For those who do not recover but die, data from China suggests this takes around another four days.

"The tragic deaths today will be from people infected roughly a month ago.

"It is inevitable that there will be more tragedies for families ahead."

He said that 209 deaths were a "terrible loss" adding: "It is true that this is less than might have been expected from exponential growth.

"However, daily numbers can be lower (or higher) than expected due to random factors.

"It is far too early to conclude that the lower number today than yesterday is not simply due to chance."

In Oxfordshire there has been 104 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with NHS England confirming that the deadly disease has claimed nine lives in the county.