UK announces hundreds more coronavirus deaths

The UK has today announced another 621 coronavirus deaths, taking Britain's official fatality toll to 28,131 - edging the country closer to becoming Europe's worst-hit nation.  

Officials also recorded another 4,806 cases, with more than 180,000 Britons having now been infected since the crisis hit the UK in February - but a lack of testing means potentially millions of cases have been missed. 

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick revealed the figures, which include fatalities in all settings, at tonight's Downing Street press briefing. But the Government has stopped providing a breakdown of how many deaths occurred in different settings, such as hospitals or care homes. 

However, at least 370 of the fatalities definitely occurred in hospitals because NHS England reveals new fatalities recorded by trusts every afternoon.

The daily tally also does not include deaths where no test was given to the victim despite coronavirus being suspected as the cause - meaning the true scale could be tens of thousands more, experts say.  

Scotland (44), Wales (44) and Northern Ireland (11) all include care home deaths in their daily updates - but their tallies do not necessarily line-up with the official count provided by the Department of Health because of how they are recorded and registered. 

Britain's death toll (28,131) is now bound to overtake 's (28,236) by next week and make the UK the second worst-hit country in the world, behind only the US (65,173). The outbreak in the UK is two weeks behind 's, meaning its daily death and infection jumps are decreasing at a slower rate. 

England's deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries raised hopes for a coronavirus cure tonight, telling the briefing that recovered patients appear to have COVID-19-specific antibodies for months. Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to infection, and when someone possesses them they have immunity to the virus.  

Meanwhile, Mr Jenrick claimed  105,937 coronavirus tests had been carried out in the last day - a sharp drop from yesterday's supposed 122,000 amid claims the Government fiddled with its Friday figures to meet that target. 

The Government's national testing co-ordinator this morning insisted the goal had been met, but it has emerged that home test kits were being counted even if they hadn't been returned and analysed in a lab.  

Victims in England's hospitals were aged between 38 and 100 years old, and 25 of them had no known underlying health conditions. Wales and Scotland both recorded 44 more fatalities each in the last 24 hours, while Northern Ireland announced a further 11 victims had succumbed to the virus. Their deaths include those which occurred in care homes.  

Britain's death toll (28,131) is bound to overtake Italy's (28,236) by next week and make the UK the second worst-hit country in the world, behind only the US (65,173). The outbreak in the UK is two weeks behind Italy's, meaning its daily death and infection jumps are decreasing at a slower rate

Britain's death toll (28,131) is bound to overtake 's (28,236) by next week and make the UK the second worst-hit country in the world, behind only the US (65,173). The outbreak in the UK is two weeks behind 's, meaning its daily death and infection jumps are decreasing at a slower rate

The Department of Health stopped giving a breakdown of how many COVID-19 deaths occurred in different settings, such as hospitals or care homes, yesterday

The Department of Health stopped giving a breakdown of how many COVID-19 deaths occurred in different settings, such as hospitals or care homes, yesterday

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, revealed the figures, which include fatalities in all settings, in tonight's Downing Street press conference

In another tumultuous day of coronavirus developments:

Government testing chief John Newton backed Matt Hancock by claiming 100,000-a-day goal was hit - despite including 40,000 coronavirus kits that were posted and not processed; A former ONS statistician estimates the real coronavirus death figure could be almost double government’s by comparing number of fatalities this year to five year average; Britons have flocked outdoors in their thousands for the return of lockdown sunshine as shoppers queue for Homebase after DIY chain reopened all 164 stores today and motorists line up for coffee outside Costa; Three major studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine have found common blod pressure pills do not make coronavirus worse - after doctors sounded the alarm about a possible link last month; One of Britain’s richest businessmen worth £141million has launched launches legal challenge to the coronavirus lockdown in bid to end ‘draconian’ quarantine that is ‘wrecking’ the economy; A bombshell Western intelligence dossier has claimed China lied about human-to-human transmission, 'disappeared' whistle-blowers and refused to help other countries prepare a vaccine for coronavirus; Hundreds of NHS coronavirus patients are to be treated with the blood plasma of virus survivors as part of trial into the promising therapy at St Thomas' hospital;  Spaniards have mobbed the streets as they were allowed out for the first time since March 15 - while hair salons opened in Austria as Europe starts to creep out of lockdown.

Speaking on the potential for a vaccine down the line, Dr Harries said: 'I think we are also starting to see with some very small pieces of evidence now from people in this country who have had COVID-19 and who have tested positive. 

More than 90% per cent of rough sleepers known to councils have been housed during the pandemic 

More than 90% of rough sleepers known to councils have now been housed to protect them against coronavirus, the Government has said.

Speaking at the coronavirus briefing on Saturday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said more than 5,400 homeless people were offered safe accommodation in April.

Mr Jenrick said Dame Louise Casey, who is already spearheading the Government's response on rough sleeping, has been appointed to oversee a new national taskforce for the issue.

The taskforce aims to ensure the rough sleepers living in temporary housing can access physical and mental health support during the pandemic, and will work with councils to provide long-term accommodation for them after the crisis is over.

Two funding packages of £3.2 million each have been invested in councils to allow them to do this, the Government has said.

Dame Louise said: 'The storm of Covid-19 has affected us all in many, varied and sometimes deeply tragic ways - we know that it is a virus that does not discriminate.

'Due to the incredible efforts by people in local councils, charities, hotel staff and the public, many rough sleepers have been brought in and off the streets.'

She added there is 'much still to do' and helping secure a safe future for the recently housed people will require 'a huge national effort'.

 

'We have looked for their antibodies, and a very large percentage of patients who have otherwise been pretty well do actually have a pretty good response.

'How long that is going to last and whether it is going to provide an antibody response say for one season or two-three year ahead, we don't know.’

Ministers tonight unveiled a £76million package for domestic violence victims as they admitted the coronavirus lockdown is making it harder for people to seek help.

Mr Jenrick announced the funding as he took the daily Downing Street press briefing, saying the government would not ignore the 'reality' of what many vulnerable individuals face during the crisis.

He said victims of domestic abuse will get priority access to local housing, and money will be channelled to charities.

Declaring there would be £76million of 'new funding' for victims of domestic violence, Mr Jenrick said: 'For some in our society these measures involve sacrifices that none of us would wish anyone to bear.

'For victims of domestic abuse it means being trapped in a nightmare.

'The true evil of domestic abuse is that it leaves vulnerable people including children living in fear in the very place where they should feel most safe and secure: inside their own home.'

Mr Jenrick said the Government's Domestic Abuse Bill, which had its second reading in Parliament last week, would create 'the first ever legal definition of domestic abuse'.

He said that through the Bill, the Government would 'be ensuring that the victims of domestic violence get the priority need status that they need to access to local housing services much more easily'.

He added: 'This is a fully-funded commitment which will mean that no victim of domestic violence has to make the unbearable choice between staying somewhere that they know is unsafe or becoming homeless.'

He said the Government had already announced an extra £15million to strengthen its support, with an extra £16million going directly to refuge services.

'This additional support will ensure more safe spaces and accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse and their children, and the recruitment of additional councillors for victims of sexual violence.'

He added that the funding will also help frontline charities to offer virtual ways to assist those in need, including phone-based services.

Mr Jenrick said: 'We know that some refuges have had to reduce, or even to cancel the services that they would want to provide during the pandemic.

The latest coronavirus figures came as Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds revealed that the couple have named their newborn son, pictured above, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. Ms Symonds' revealed that the middle name Nicholas was a tribute to two NHS doctors 'that saved Boris' life last month' after he was treated in intensive care for coronavirus

The latest coronavirus figures came as Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds revealed that the couple have named their newborn son, pictured above, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. Ms Symonds' revealed that the middle name Nicholas was a tribute to two NHS doctors 'that saved Boris' life last month' after he was treated in intensive care for coronavirus

Members of the public follow social distancing guidelines and queue outside a Homebase store in Leicester today

Members of the public follow social distancing guidelines and queue outside a Homebase store in Leicester today

Customers abide by social distancing measures a Homebase store in Walthamstow this afternoon

Customers abide by social distancing measures a Homebase store in Walthamstow this afternoon

Customers collect their orders at the re-opened Croydon Costa Coffee Drive-Thru in south London

Customers collect their orders at the re-opened Croydon Costa Coffee Drive-Thru in south London

A medical worker takes a swab at a testing station at Chessington, Surrey, yesterday

A medical worker takes a swab at a testing station at Chessington, Surrey, yesterday

The number of people in Britain who have died because of Covid-19 so far could be as high as 45,000, data expert Jamie Jenkins has warned. Pictured: Mr Jenkins has been producing charts based on ONS data

The number of people in Britain who have died because of Covid-19 so far could be as high as 45,000, data expert Jamie Jenkins has warned. Pictured: Mr Jenkins has been producing charts based on ONS data

Statistician Jamie Jenkins, a former head health analyst at the Office of National Statistics (ONS), believes Covid-19 deaths in Britain could be as high as 45,000

Statistician Jamie Jenkins, a former head health analyst at the Office of National Statistics (ONS), believes Covid-19 deaths in Britain could be as high as 45,000

'This funding will help them to meet the challenges posed in this national emergency, and to continue to help those that desperately need support.'

It comes after ministers finally caved in to mounting pressure this week to include COVID-19 fatalities in care homes in the daily updates, amid claims thousands of victims were being missed. 

Jamie Jenkins, a former analyst at the Office for National Statistics, said deaths in care homes could mean the total is closer to 45,000. 

Professor John Newton told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'All the tests are only counted once, and you can count tests when they go out or when they

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