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UK now has third-most deaths from Covid-19 as latest figures show death toll above 26,000

A further 3,811 deaths have been recorded in UK care homes and the wider community, and these will now be counted in the daily figures.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gave today's daily press briefing at Downing Street
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gave today's daily press briefing at Downing Street
Image: Andrew Parsons DPA/PA Images

MORE THAN 26,000 people with confirmed coronavirus have died in hospitals, care homes and elsewhere in the UK, new figures show.

A total of 26,097 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community in the UK after contracting Covid-19, Public Health England (PHE) said.

It includes 765 deaths reported in the 24 hours to 5pm yesterday.

It is the first time data on the number of deaths in care homes and the wider community has been included in the UK government’s daily updates.

The total reached by the new method of reporting is around 17% higher than previous data showed and includes an additional 3,811 deaths recorded since the start of the outbreak.

Of these, around 70% were outside hospital settings and around 30% were in hospital.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the daily Downing Street press conference: “From today, we are moving to an improved daily reporting system for deaths so that deaths in all settings are included wherever the individual has tested positive for Covid-19, rather than just those in hospitals.

“Those figures show that up to yesterday on the new measure we have recorded an additional 3,811 deaths in total, and I think it is just important to say that those additional deaths were spread over the period for 2 March to 28 April so they don’t represent a sudden surge in the number of deaths.”

PHE medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said the figure for deaths in care homes may be revised up further.

She said: “In due course, those deaths sadly may occur on death certificates, so we may expect more than we are seeing at the moment, yes.”

According to an AFP tally from official sources at 1pm today, Britain has now leapfrogged the tolls in France and Spain and is the second-worst affected country in Europe, behind Italy’s 27,359 deaths.

The United States has the world’s worst death toll with 58,355.

Care homes

Separate PHE data shows nearly a third of all care homes in England have reported suspected or confirmed coronavirus outbreaks.

Some 4,516 homes have reported outbreaks since 17 March up until Monday this week – around 29% of the total care homes.

In every region in England more than a fifth of care homes had reported outbreaks.

Raab said 52,429 Covid-19 tests took place yesterday– just two days before the date the government set for reaching 100,000 a day.

It brings the total number to 818,539 across the UK.

Earlier, Raab – standing in for Boris Johnson in Parliament following the birth of the Prime Minister’s son – said there was a “joint horror” across the House at the number of people killed in the outbreak.

They included 85 NHS workers and 23 social care workers – a total of 108.

The impact of the virus on businesses and consequently the public finances has added to the pressure on ministers to set out how lockdown measures might be eased.

Downing Street was forced to deny it had watered down one of the five tests required for allowing the measures to be lifted.

Rather than stating in test five that the British government had to be confident any adjustments would not “risk a second peak of infections”, the wording was changed to say no weakening of restrictions would be made that risked a second peak that “overwhelms the NHS” – a lower bar.

The lockdown is due to be reviewed on 7 May.

The scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) is working on a range of options for easing restrictions while still keeping the reproduction rate of the virus – the number of new cases linked to a single individual – below one in order to stop it spreading exponentially.

Raab said it is vital the UK proceeds “carefully” in lifting lockdown measures as he pointed to the rising transmission rate in Germany.

He said: “This is a very real risk and it is vital we proceed carefully, guided by the scientific advice, so that our next step through this crisis is a sure-footed one.

“We mustn’t gamble away the sacrifices and the progress that we have made – we must continue to follow the scientific evidence and we must continue to take the right decisions at the right moment in time.”

Prof Doyle added that it was “slightly worrying” that Monday saw the highest working day use of motor vehicles since 23 March – the start of the lockdown.

With reporting from AFP

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