Another 173 people die of coronavirus in UK bringing total number to 42,461
Another 173 people have died of coronavirus in the UK, rising the total number of deaths to 42,461, the Department of Health confirmed.
The figure covers deaths in all settings including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
As of 9am 19 June, there have been 7,433,114 tests, with 169,600 tests on 18 June. 301,815 people have tested positive.
NHS England earlier said a further 46 people who tested positive for Covid-19 died in hospital, including a child age 12, who had underlying health conditions.
The toll was updated as a new analysis of figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that black people are most at risk of death from the virus compared to other ethnic groups.
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The risk of dying from the disease is also higher among those identifying as Muslims, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh than other religious groups, according to the latest ONS analysis, released this morning.
In further updates, the UK’s coronavirus threat level was reduced from four to three today as lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted.
Chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have said transmission is no longer ‘high or rising exponentially’ but warned that it does not mean that the pandemic is over ‘and localised outbreaks are likely to occur’.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) recommended the alert level be reduced, meaning the epidemic is in general circulation but the chances of it spreading are low.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed it a ‘big moment’ for the UK, and claimed that it showed the ‘Government’s plan is working’.
He said: ‘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.’
It is not clear when the government might announced more restrictions can be lifted, but many in the hospitality sector are hoping pubs will be allowed to reopen on July 4th, as previously planned.
This week saw non-essential shops allowed to reopen and the return of the Premier League, with matches played behind closed doors.
Boris Johnson has once again hinted he is hoping to relax the two-metre social distancing rule, telling reporters ‘watch this space’ when asked if it would be reduced to one metre in schools.
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