A further 43 people have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus, taking the total number of deaths to 42,632.
The increase, announced today by the Department of Health (DoH), includes the number of people who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in hospitals, care homes and the wider community as of 5pm on Saturday. Twenty seven of the deaths were in England.
Statistics published on Sundays and Mondays tend to be lower due to a lag in processing the weekend’s data. Figures published on Tuesdays are often much higher as the data catches up with reality.
The DoH also said that in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Sunday, a further 1,221 people had tested positive for coronavirus. This takes the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to around 304,000.
In Scotland, meanwhile, no deaths of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus were registered in the past 24 hours, the latest government figures showed.
There were also no new coronavirus-related deaths announced in Northern Ireland on Sunday, with the death toll recorded by the DoH remaining at 545.
There have been zero deaths in London over the past four days.
The latest figures come as the government prepares to announce a further easing of lockdown measures in England next week.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce in the coming week whether the two-metre social distancing rule in England will be relaxed. He said doing so would “make an enormous difference” to businesses “keen to see a change”.
On Friday the government lowered the UK Covid-19 alert level from four to three, meaning transmission of the virus is no longer judged to be “high or exponentially rising”.
However, many have warned that the UK is not yet ready to reduce social distancing measures as the rate of infection hovers crucially close to 1. Last week the World Health Organization warned that the UK remained in a “very active phase of the pandemic”.
Fears of a second wave have escalated across the world as the rate of infection spikes in countries that have begun to wind down lockdown measures.
Beijing this week closed all schools and limited travel in and out of the Chinese capital after an outbreak at a food market produced new clusters of the infection.
The infection rate — known as the R number — jumped to 1.79 in Germany yesterday weeks after lockdown measures were eased, following an outbreak of the virus in an abattoir.
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health confirmed the rate was now far above what is needed to contain the outbreak over the longer term.