Monday, 21 Sep 2020

Another 128 people die with coronavirus bringing UK death toll to 42,589

Another 128 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the UK death toll to 42,589.

The new figure, released today by the Department of Health and Social Care, covers fatalities in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

As of 9am on June 20, 7,714,201 people have been tested overall across the country for Covid-19, with 303,110 testing positive.

This includes 230,550 tests in the last 24 hours.

It comes after 173 lives were reported lost yesterday, including a child aged 12 who had underlying health conditions.

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The government has now reduced the UK’s coronavirus alert level from four to three following recommendations from health authorities.

Chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have said transmission is no longer ‘high or rising exponentially’.

However, they have warned that this does not mean the pandemic is over ‘and localised outbreaks are likely to occur’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has named the decrease in threat level a ‘big moment’ for the UK, claiming it shows the ‘government’s plan is working’.

He said yesterday: ‘The UK moving to a lower alert level is a big moment for the country, and a real testament to the British people’s determination to beat this virus.

‘The government’s plan is working. Infection rates are rapidly falling, we have protected the NHS and, thanks to the hard work of millions in our health and social care services, we are getting the country back on her feet.’

Reports claim the country’s scientific advisers are now also ‘totally comfortable’ to slash the two-metre social distancing rule to one metre.

This will only happen as long as there are other precautions in place, which could include making sure buildings are properly ventilated, greater use of masks and the installation of screens in circumstances where people may be too close together.

When asked on Friday if the two-metre rule would be eased in schools, Boris Johnson told the public to ‘watch this space’.

Under current guidance, primary school class sizes should be limited to 15 – but Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said yesterday ‘bubbles’ could be expanded to include up to 30, although class sizes will still vary.

It comes as researchers say Covid-19 patients with high levels of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol in their blood may be at higher risk of death.

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