A 13-year old boy from London is understood to be the youngest person to have died from coronavirus in the UK.
It came as the latest NHS data from UK hospitals showed a more than doubling in deaths in just four days, with 381 new deaths reported on Tuesday, bringing the toll to 1,789.
The case emerged as a 12-year-old girl with Covid-19 died in Belgium, while Spain began to deploy troops to enforce the country’s lockdown as its death toll passed 8,000.
The UK jump is by far the biggest day-on-day rise in the number of deaths since the outbreak began, rising by 27 per cent from 1,415.
On Tuesday night, Michael Gove said the rise in deaths was “deeply shocking, disturbing and moving” and added that it is not clear when the UK’s outbreak will peak.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London, who died at King’s College Hospital in the capital, is understood to be the youngest victim.
His family said the teenager, who was not known to have any pre-existing health conditions, died on Monday without any relatives close to him because of the infectious nature of the virus.
They said they were “beyond devastated” by the death of Ismail, who was admitted to hospital after suffering breathing difficulties, tested positive for Covid-19 and was put on a ventilator and into an induced coma before he died.
The case has yet to be included in the latest official statistics, which involve 28 patients in England without underlying health conditions. They are understood to include a 19-year-old, the youngest person with no underlying health conditions to be recorded in the official statistics.
Luca di Nicola, who lived in north London, had been told he was “young and strong” and would recover from the illness, his family said.
Mr Di Nicola, who worked at his family’s restaurant in Enfield, north London, alongside his mother and her partner, died in intensive care shortly after being rushed to North Middlesex Hospital last Tuesday.
The teenager’s relatives in Nereto, eastern Italy, are angry that neither he nor his mother and her partner were given a test for coronavirus to determine whether they had contracted it.
They said he was given paracetamol by doctors and they were told he had nothing to fear from what was nothing more than a case of “bad flu”.
His father, Mirko di Nicola, wrote on Facebook: “My angel was tested positive for the virus… even the biggest heart can stop beating.”
His aunt Giada told La Repubblica newspaper: “For a week before his death, Luca had a fever and a cough. The doctor visited him at home and told him that he was young, strong and that he didn’t have to worry about that bad flu.”
She said her nephew’s condition had deteriorated when he started having chest pains, adding: “Then his mother noticed his lips had gone purple and, soon after, he collapsed. They called for an ambulance, they revived him, but his lungs had collapsed and were full of water and blood.
“They intubated him and immediately sent him to intensive care at North Middlesex Hospital, but after half an hour, around 7pm, Luca died.”
Luca’s mother, Clarissa, and her partner, Vincenzo, continue to suffer the same symptoms as him. They are in self-isolation at their home in Enfield, but are not thought to be in a serious condition.
Giada said: “For a week before he died, Luca had a fever and a cough, as did my sister-in law Clarissa and her partner, who live in the same house. It seemed like the flu. The doctor prescribed paracetamol for my nephew, but on March 23 Luca deteriorated.”
Another of Luca’s aunts, Romina, added: “We haven’t been told anything, not even where his coffin has been moved to, since that damned evening when we last saw him. Now we’re also worried about his mother and her partner. They have only been prescribed paracetamol.”
A spokesman for North Middlesex NHS Trust confirmed that Mr Di Nicola had died there on March 24, shortly after being admitted, and had tested positive for coronavirus.
Daniele Laurenzi, the mayor of Nereto, said: “It’s so sad to think that, had the doctors intervened in time, they could have saved him. If he had been in Italy, things would have gone differently.”
The developments come as other figures revealed that the true death toll in the UK may be higher than hospital statistics suggest.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales shows there were 24 per cent more deaths relating to Covid-19 in the early weeks of the outbreak compared with hospital-only data for the same period.
However, the figures for the week ending March 20 show the 181 deaths linked to coronavirus are dwarfed by the 1,841 deaths from influenza and pneumonia, even though such deaths are lower than average at the moment.