The UK has recorded 3,105 more Covid-19 cases as outbreak continues to grow, taking the total to 374, 228.
Health officials announced 27 new deaths across all settings. Earlier today, angencies in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland declared deaths in the preliminary toll, but no new victims were announced in Wales.
It comes as separate figures released today revealed the number of people dying from coronavirus in England and Wales has plunged to the lowest level since mid-March, before the peak of the pandemic struck.
Only 78 people died from Covid-19 in the week ending September 4, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The dip marks a 23 per cent drop from last week, when 101 deaths were recorded.
Just five coronavirus deaths — either suspected or laboratory-confirmed — were registered between March 7 to 13, two weeks before the lockdown was imposed. The 25-week low is a nose-dive from the peak of the pandemic, when 8,000-plus deaths from the coronavirus were being registered every week.
Government figures show deaths have yet to spike in line with soaring cases, which have doubled in the space of a fortnight — around 3,000 Britons are now testing positive each day but only 12 are dying, on average.
Top experts believe this is because young people, who aren't as vulnerable to the disease, are driving the second wave and that doctors are better prepared for the disease. Evidence from Sweden and the US — where deaths didn't spike in line with soaring cases — suggests Britain may avoid a second wave of deaths.
Infections are now beginning to increase across all age-groups in Britain, including the elderly. It can take patients several weeks to succumb to the life-threatening infection, meaning deaths may not start to trickle through for at least another week.
Hospital admissions, another way of measuring the pandemic, have also started to increase in the past week, with 143 coronavirus patients admitted for care on September 12 in England alone — the most up-to-date figure. For comparison, it had dropped to as low as 25 at the end of August.
Experts insist the UK doesn't yet need to panic over the rising number of cases because they are only a fraction of the 100,000-plus that occurred each day during the darkest period of the crisis. Other scientists, however, say action is needed to prevent Britain being hit by another wave of the disease.
In other developments to Britain's coronavirus crisis today:Up to 250,000 Brits are waiting for their Covid-19 test result because of a backlog in Government laboratories which has meant thousands of swabs are being held up in a process that is only supposed to take 24 hours; Britons travelling to the European Union could soon face quarantine on arrival across the board as countries consider whether to adopt a standardised threshold for imposing self-isolation rules; Priti Patel vowed to snitch on her own neighbours if they break the Covid 'Rule of Six' as police complained they have had no guidance on how to enforce the draconian new restrictions on 'mingling'; Britain's coronavirus lockdown led to an extra 3,600 deaths from preventable heart conditions and strokes, a top cardiologist warned; Around 300 schools in England and Wales have been forced to close or send pupils home after positive Covid tests, it was revealed.
Evidence from Sweden and America suggests that Britain may avoid a second wave of coronavirus deaths despite a rebound in infections.
The UK's rise of of 21,300 cases in the last week - more than double the figure of 8,700 two weeks ago - has sparked fears that Britain is following in the footsteps of France and Spain which have both seen alarming spikes in virus cases.
But despite warnings from the WHO that Europe's death toll is likely to mount in the autumn, experts hope that the second peak will be less deadly because patients are typically younger and doctors are better prepared for the disease.
In Sweden, the death rate has been falling steadily since April despite a peak of cases in the summer - with the country's top epidemiologist saying that deaths can be kept low without drastic lockdown measures.
France recorded its highest-ever spike in cases with more than 10,000 on Saturday, but deaths are nowhere near the mid-April peak and the country's PM says it must 'succeed in living with this virus' without going back into lockdown.
In the United States, cases surged to record levels in July and August after the first wave had receded - but death rates in summer hotspots such as Texas and Florida were well below those in New York City where the virus hit hardest in the spring.
In Sweden, which raised eyebrows around the world by keeping shops and restaurants open throughout the pandemic, deaths have been falling since April.
There are fears that the UK will experience a rise in the number of people dying of coronavirus as a direct result of cases surging. But data shows otherwise – the US has almost completely avoided a second wave in Covid-19 deaths despite seeing a huge increase in the number of people infected since June
Despite seeing a new surge in coronavirus infections, Sweden has recorded a continuing fall in fatalities since the start of May
Only 11 new deaths were announced last week, down from a peak of 752 fatalities in seven days in mid-April.
Cases reached their height in Sweden in the second half of June, when some days saw more than 1,000 infections - but the death toll continued to fall regardless.
Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who has become the face of the no-lockdown strategy, said in a recent interview that voluntary hygiene measures had been 'just as effective' as complete shutdowns.
'The rapidly declining cases we see in Sweden right now is another indication that you can get the number of cases down quite a lot in a country without having a complete lockdown,' he told Unherd.
Tegnell added that 'deaths are not so closely connected to the amount of cases you have in a country', saying the death rate was more closely linked to whether older people are being infected and how well the health system can cope.
'Those things will influence mortality a lot more, I think, than the actual spread of the disease,' he said.
Deaths being announced each day by the Department of Health have tumbled since the peak of Britain's Covid-19 crisis, with more than 1,000 patients killed on some days in April.
The most up-to-date government coronavirus death toll updated this afternoon stood at 41,664. It takes into account victims who have died within 28 days of testing positive.
The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours. It is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.
The toll announced by NHS England every day, which only takes into account fatalities in hospitals, doesn't match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities 'as soon as they are available'.
The government's official toll is different to the figures compiled by the ONS, which includes suspected fatalities where coronavirus was mentioned on a death certificate and not just lab-confirmed ones.
ONS data released today also revealed the total number of deaths in England and Wales has also fallen below the five-year average for the first time in a month, dropping 15.7 per cent below the average expected. Experts said this was because it contained the August bank holiday, which would have caused a recording lag.
And they revealed influenza and pneumonia was to blame for around 12.8 per cent of all deaths in the seven-day spell, twelve times more than coronavirus (1 per cent).
There have been 57,528 deaths in the UK where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, including 52,420 in England and Wales, 4,231 in Scotland and 877 in Northern Ireland. Statisticians say the excess death toll — how many people victims were confirmed compared to the five-year average — stands at around 60,000.
There were a total of 8,996 deaths in England and Wales in the week ending September 4, which is 1,341 fewer deaths than the previous week and 1,403 deaths below the five-year average.
It is the first week that they have dropped below the average since August 13, with every region seeing fewer deaths than expected.
The South East registered the most deaths, at 1,208, followed by the North West, at 1,057, and the East of England, at 806.
Similarly, the South East registered the most deaths from coronavirus during the week, at 17, followed by the North West, at 13, and Yorkshire and the Humber and East Midlands, which both saw 10 deaths.
The number of deaths from coronavirus in Wales increased to four deaths, from three last week, although their average number of deaths remained below the five-year average.
The overall number of deaths in Wales also dropped from 591 last week to 488. Only 0.8 per cent of these involved coronavirus.
The ONS said that the drop may be explained by the August bank holiday weekend, contained during this week, meaning fewer officials on hand to register and process coronavirus deaths.
They wrote: 'The week ending 4 September contained the late August bank holiday, which would have contributed to the decreased number of deaths registered and the decrease in deaths registered involving Covid-19.'
Up to 4 September 424,808 deaths were registered in the UK, which stands 52,872 above the five-year average.
Of those registered, as many as 52,376 mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate, accounting for 12.3 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales.
All figures are provisional and based on death registrations, which can result in a lag between the date the person dies and when it is recorded.
In the week up to September 4 the UK registered below 2,000 new coronavirus cases a day, reaching a peak of