Britain announces hundreds more coronavirus deaths

Britain today announced 282 more coronavirus deaths, including a 12-year-old with an undisclosed underlying health condition - taking the UK's total fatalities to 36,675.

Today's death jump - which takes into account all settings - is the lowest recorded on a Saturday since March 21 (56), three days before the UK went into lockdown. 

The 12-year-old victim passed away in a hospital in England and becomes the fourth child under the age of 15 to succumb to the virus in the UK. Britain's youngest victim was a six-week-old baby who died earlier this month.

Just 157 deaths in the last 24 hours were in hospitals, with the rest of the fatalities registered in the wider community and care homes - where the virus is still running rampant.

The figures were announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at tonight's Downing Street press conference, where he also revealed 2,959 more Britons had tested positive for the disease.  

More than 257,000 people have now been officially diagnosed with COVID-19, but the true size of the outbreak is estimated to have seen around 5million infected. Most patients have been missed because of the Government's controversial decision to ditch widespread swabbing early in the crisis. 

Despite today's low jump in death, Government scientists yesterday warned the reproductive rate is still teetering on the brink of spiraling back out of control.

The R rate denotes the number of other people an infected patient will pass the sickness on to and it must stay at 1 or below or Britain will face another crisis. 

This is the second week in a row the R rate has officially been announced as between 0.7 and 1, meaning every 10 patients infect between seven and 10 others. 

However, the way the R is calculated means it is out of date, and the latest calculation is based on data from around three weeks ago - before the lockdown loosened.  

In other developments to Britain's coronavirus crisis today:

There were calls for Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings to resign after it emerged he flouted lockdown rules to travel 260miles to his elderly parents' home; It emerged that travel firms are already planning to exploit a loophole in the 14-day quarantine period by flying holidaymakers into UK via Dublin (which is exempt from new isolation rules);  Labour leader Keir Starmer revealed his children have attended school throughout the coronavirus crisis as he called for classes to resume 'as soon as possible'; Employers were told they will have to pay 25 per cent of wages of furloughed staff from August, raising fears of a wave of redundancies; Boris Johnson will drop drop the 'track' in his 'test, track and trace' system that is designed to get Britain out lockdown because the NHSX app will not be ready for weeks. 

The R is calculated by working out how fast the virus spreads by comparing data including hospital admissions, the number of patients in intensive care, death statistics and surveys to find out how many people members of the public are coming into contact with.  

The new number does not factor in the slight relaxation of Britain's lockdown measures, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on May 13.

Mr Johnson has said ministers would reimpose controls if the rate of transmission of the virus started to pick up again. 

London is thought to be leading the way in terms of its R value, with experts from Public Health England and Cambridge University predicting it could be as low as 0.4 in the capital. 

WHAT IS THE R, AND HOW DOES THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE IT? 

Every infectious disease is given a reproduction number, which is known as R0 - pronounced 'R nought' - or simply R.

It is a value that represents how many people one sick person will, on average, infect if the virus is reproducing in its ideal conditions.

The value has been estimated by the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

They assess data from hospitalisations, intensive care demand, deaths and the number of social contacts people have.

Experts use multiple sources to get this information, including NHS hospital admissions, Office for National Statistics and CQC death figures and behavioural contact surveys.  

Using mathematical modelling, they are able to calculate the virus' spread. 

But a lag in the time it takes for coronavirus patients to fall unwell and die mean the R modelling is always roughly three weeks behind.   

Most epidemiologists - scientists who track disease outbreaks - believe the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has an R value of

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