A further 19 people in the UK have died after testing positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 55.
The news comes as today it was announced that a first person in Wales has died after being diagnosed with the virus.
The patient, who had underlying health conditions, was 68 years old and was being treated at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
The Welsh death, along with one in Scotland and 53 in England mean the total number to die from the virus in the UK has reached 55.
Making a statement in the Commons on the coronavirus outbreak, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the pandemic is “the most serious public health emergency that our nation has faced for a generation”.
Mr Hancock said: “Our goal is to protect life. Our actions have meant that the spread of the virus has been slowed in the UK and I want to pay tribute to the officials at Public Health England and the NHS for their exemplary approach to contact tracing and their work so far.
“However, the disease is now accelerating and 53 have sadly now died. Our hearts across this whole House go out to their families.”
Mr Hancock added: “Our policy is to fight this virus with everything we’ve got. We’ll give the NHS whatever it needs and we will do whatever it takes.
“We’ll get through this by working through our action plan to contain, delay, research and mitigate the virus and that plan has two overriding aims – to protect the NHS by building it up and flattening the curve and to protect life by safeguarding those who are most vulnerable.”
“We are in a war against an invisible killer,” added the Health Secretary, adding that emergency legislation to tackle the virus would be introduced to Parliament on Thursday.
In his first daily briefing this afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and to stop all non-essential travel” as he urged people to work from home and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.
He also added that “if you or anyone in your household” had one of the two symptoms – a high temperature or continuous cough – “you should stay at home for 14 days”.
“That means that if possible you should not go out, even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise and in that case at a safe distance from others,” he said.
In a dramatic escalation of the Government’s response, Mr Johnson said that even those without symptoms needed to take extra action.
The Prime Minister said that according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) “it looks as though we are now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve” in the number of cases.
“Without drastic action cases could double every five or six days,” he said.
Mr Johnson said by the weekend, groups particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 will be asked to stay at home for 12 weeks.