THE UK's coronavirus outbreak could peak over Easter weekend, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Mr Hancock also warned next Sunday, April 12, could have the highest death toll of the entire epidemic with around 1,000 fatalities.

Mr Hancock said it was "perfectly possible" that the one-day death record of 569, recorded yesterday, could double next week.

The Health Secretary's comments came after he was grilled this morning after he pledged to boost the UK's COVID-19 testing capacity to 100,000 per day by the end of April but admitted the Government hasn't yet found a reliable antibody test for people who have already recovered from the virus.

When asked whether he thought next Sunday would be the worst day of the crisis he told Sky News: "I'm not going to steer you away from that. That is one perfectly possible outcome."

Officials are now reportedly aiming to keep the UK's death toll below 20,000 - as many as the current numbers in Italy and the United States combined - with 50,000 people dying still a conceivable worst-case scenario.

The benefits of the UK's lockdown are expected to start filtering through to hospitals in the coming weeks and widespread testing to see who has had the coronavirus already is believed to be key to getting the country back on its feet.

But there are major questions over how the government will hit the target after Mr Hancock said ministers still have not found an at-home antibody test that works.

He then appeared to plunge the strategy into confusion by saying antibody tests will not be relied on to hit the 100,000 figure, raising concerns about the feasibility of only using the more labour intensive antigen tests.

The government yesterday performed a screeching U-turn on its testing policy as it abandoned the previous centralised approach and finally invited the wider science and medical research sectors to help, with private labs now joining the effort to process tests.

Public Health England is believed to be assessing as many as 150 different antibody test kits, with the devices viewed as the key to getting the UK out of lockdown because identifying people who have had the disease and who now have resistance to it would enable them to go back to work, gradually restarting the creaking UK economy.