TRIBUTES have been paid to a producer from ITV Meridian who has died after testing positive for coronavirus.

Chris Barrett, who “loved crosswords and builder’s tea”, has been praised by colleagues at the regional news programme.

Adam Clark, news editor at ITV Meridian, tweeted: “It was always a pleasure to news edit when Chris was producing.

“He was a very knowledgeable and we often put the world to right when we discussed what made a good news programme.

“We will miss him and it highlights how close to home the coronavirus crisis is. RIP”

The news comes as the UK death toll reached 1,000, with the country recording its sharpest increase in deaths in one day.

Luke Castiglione, ITV news journalist and presenter Tweeted: “Sat in the garden and raising a tea to a friend and former colleague taken by coronavirus.

“Chris Barrett taught many of us so much and always with patience and encouragement.

“He loved a cheery programme, a crossword and a builder’s tea.

“Everyone at ITV Meridian will miss him.”

The Department of Health and Social care said there were now 17,089 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK.

It said that as of 5pm on March 27, of those hospitalised in the UK, 1,019 have now died after 260 more deaths were counted.

It is the highest number of deaths recorded in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.