The peak of the UK’s coronavirus outbreak could come as soon as next Sunday, new research claims.

A new paper from Imperial College London estimates that if Britain follows the same pattern as China, the highest number of deaths recorded in a single day will come on Sunday, April 5.

The research - which studies the effects of social distancing measures - predicts that at the height of Covid-19, the UK will see 260 people die in a single day.

An information board displays a message asking people to "stay home" in Manchester

This is significantly lower than the 1,300 maximum daily deaths predicted in Italy, where the outbreak is expected to peak on March 27, reports the Mirror.

It means that in total, 5,700 lives would be lost in Britain as a result of the pandemic - amounting to fewer annual deaths than seasonal flu.

Explaining his findings on Twitter, Professor Tom Pike, one of the study’s authors, said: “Social distancing is working against Covid-19 as an effective parachute across multiple countries.

Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street announcing that he has tested positive for the new coronavirus

“That’s no reason for us to cut away our parachutes when we’re still way above the ground.”

Modelling by the epidemiologist Neil Ferguson - also from Imperial College - last week predicted that coronavirus could lead to more than half a million deaths in the UK if left unchecked, and 260,000 with social distancing measures.

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Coronavirus in Scotland

However the new study, which uses data from China, predicts that there could be significantly fewer lives lost.

Professor Pike’s research predicts that Spain will be the country worst hit by the flu-like virus, with 46,000 deaths.

At its peak - predicted to arrive on April 4 - the country could see 2,200 lives lost in a single day.

Italy, meanwhile, is estimated to see a total of 28,000 deaths, as is the USA.

Public health experts in the UK insist that tough new social distancing measures are working.

Care workers take a break from their work in Liverpool

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries said: “There’s some early indication the public are really now heeding that advice and we thank them for that.

“It’s really important that we continue to do that. We do not expect to see a significant change in our numbers for two or three weeks and so we really need people to stick with us.”

Police patrol the Royal Mile as people continue to socially distance themselves amid the coronavirus outbreak

Friday saw the biggest leap in the number of people tested for Covid-19 in the UK– up 8,911, from 104,866 tested to 113,777.

Deaths in the UK rose by 181 to 759 and the number of confirmed cases shot up by nearly 3,000 to 14,543.

 Boris Johnson  and Health Secretary Matt Hancock are among the new cases in the UK after both were struck down, with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty also displaying symptoms.