Monday 8 June 2020 2:38 pm

UK coronavirus death toll rises by 55, lowest since before lockdown began

A further 55 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, but there were no recorded deaths in Scotland or Northern Ireland overnight.

It brings the death toll to 40,597, according to figures published today by the Department of Health, and marks the lowest daily increase since lockdown began.

Read more: Coronavirus is a ‘devastating blow’ to the economy, says World Bank chief

The UK is only the second country in the world to surpass 40,000 coronavirus deaths after the US.

It continues a downward trend in the number of people dying with coronavirus, after a further 77 people died in the UK yesterday. However, experts say there is usually a lag in deaths recorded over the weekend so it may rise in the coming days.

As of 9am this morning, 138,183 tests were carried out or dispatched with 1,205 positive results. However, the number of people tested was unavailable again, according to the Department of Health.

Overall 5.7m tests for coronavirus have been carried out in the UK and 287,399 people have tested positive.

Yesterday, a scientist advising the government said he wished the country had gone into lockdown earlier. Professor John Edmunds told the BBC: “I wish we had gone into lockdown earlier. I think that has cost a lot of lives unfortunately.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock defended the decision to not start the coronavirus lockdown earlier. He said the government “took the right decisions at the right time” and that no people lost their lives by not locking down earlier.

Speaking to the BBC, Hancock said: “I think we took the right decisions at the right time, but there’s a broad range of opinion on Sage and we were guided by the science, which means the balance of that opinion, as expressed to ministers through the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser.”

More to follow

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