Monday 29 June 2020 3:18 pm

UK coronavirus death toll rises by 25 as England prepares for lockdown lifting

A further 25 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total death toll to 43,575.

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 in the 24 hours up to 9am this morning. 

Read more: London coronavirus cases: How many infections are in your London borough?

Northern Ireland reported one death, while Wales reported three further deaths yesterday. There have been no new coronavirus fatalities in Scotland for the fourth day in a row.

The figure marks the second-lowest death toll since lockdown began, after 15 deaths were recorded last Monday.

However, statistics published on Sundays and Mondays tend to be lower due to a lag in processing the weekend’s data, while figures published on Tuesdays are often much higher as data catches up with reality.

As of this morning, there have now been 9,290,215 tests, of which 93,881 were carried out yesterday, and 815 came back positive.

It comes as England prepares to lift lockdown restrictions on pubs, restaurants, cinemas, galleries and hairdressers on Saturday, in what has been described as “England’s independence day”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to scrap the two-metre social distancing rule in favour of new “one metre-plus” guidance, which will allow the public to socialise within one metre distances, provided they take “mitigating” precautions such as wearing face masks and gloves.

Johnson said England’s “long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end” after a dramatic fall in the infection rate.

However, government officials, including England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, have warned that infection numbers “will rise again” if people ignore social distancing guidelines.

A major incident was declared in Bournemouth last Thursday, after thousands of sun seekers flouted lockdown rules to head to the beach.

Johnson has warned that he “will not hesitate to apply the handbrakes on a local or indeed national level” should the number of infections rise in the country.

It comes as the global death toll from coronavirus topped 500,000 today, with more than 10m confirmed cases around the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Read more: US second wave: America sets one-day record for coronavirus cases, Texas pauses reopening

But several countries that had appeared to have beaten the initial wave of the virus have crawled back on easing lockdown restrictions after reporting fresh clusters of infection.

Texas governor Greg Abbott yesterday warned that Covid-19 had taken a “very swift and dangerous turn” in the US state, as it suffered a serious spike in infections.

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