A church could be linked to a coronavirus cluster in the West Midlands, the worst affected area in the UK outside of London.
A further 40 people died of coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 177 across the UK. Of this figure, 29 deaths were in the West Midlands.
The Times said that an outbreak at an unnamed church in the region accounted for at least two of these deaths.
Nine deaths in the West Midlands were reported by the Royal Wolverhampton Trust, where an anonymous source told the newspaper that some were connected to a church being attended by a parishioner who had no idea they were infected.
In one case, the patient had twice tested negative for coronavirus before passing away, when it was then discovered during the post-mortem.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told the newspaper that the Government was looking into why cases have spiked in the West Midlands.
“There is a hotspot, not as big as in London, but there is a hotspot in the Midlands. It’s something that we’re looking at very, very closely to find out why, frankly,” he said.
Boris Johnson scaled up the UK’s response to the pandemic on Friday by ordering the closure of pubs, restaurants and gyms.
Schools have also closed across the country.
There were nearly 4,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of Friday.