More than 1.7 million NHS assessments in just 15 days have concluded that people may have had Covid-19 or are currently suffering, based on their symptoms.

New figures from NHS 111 online show there were 1,496,651 web-based assessments which flagged potential coronavirus based on people’s symptoms between March 28 and March 31.

A further 243,543 assessments via the NHS 111 and 999 phone lines concluded people had possible Covid- 19.

The assessment numbers do not relate to individual people – it is possible people have sought help more than once or via various channels.

The data, published by NHS Digital, comes after GP practices in England were told to open over the Easter Bank Holiday to help the NHS cope with coronavirus.

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The assumption is that infections from the virus may peak over the period.

The number of UK coronavirus deaths rose to 1,808 on Tuesday, an increase of 393 in 24 hours. There are more than 25,000 confirmed cases.

The British Medical Association (BMA) told members that “emergency changes to … contract regulations are being made which are likely to lead to practices being required to be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.”

There has been uncertainty over precise figures, as widespread testing doesn't currently take place in the UK.

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street

The government has pledged to ramp up its testing after it emerged just 900 NHS staff were given coronavirus tests over the weekend.

The Housing and Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said he expects there to be 25,000 tests per day by the middle of this month.

He said: "We now have capacity today to be testing 12,750 people and we expect that within a couple of days to be 15,000.

"So we should now have the growing capacity to test NHS staff in addition to the patients in critical care.”

Mr Jenrick denied the government and Public Health England (PHE) would only agree to centralised testing after claims from scientists and universities that their offers of help have been rejected.

Currently about 8,000 tests a day are being carried out, despite ministers having previously claimed to have met a target of 10,000 a day.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said maximum testing capacity in the UK was currently "very constrained" at around 13,000 tests per day.

At present, the focus is on testing patients in hospital to see if they have coronavirus, with NHS trusts told earlier in the week they should use up to 15 per cent of any spare testing capacity for NHS staff.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now scrapped that cap, telling NHS hospital labs to use all spare capacity to test their frontline workers.

NHS staff have expressed frustration that they are being forced to self-isolate just as they are most needed, because tests are not available to show whether they are clear of the disease.