Britain announces hundreds more coronavirus deaths

Britain announces 252 more coronavirus deaths – taking the country’s total fatalities to 31,493

  • NHS England recorded 207 more deaths, followed by Scotland (36), Wales (nine) 
  • Department of Health has yet to release the final daily toll, which will be higher
  • Comes as thousands of Britons ignored the Government’s plea to stay indoors
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Britain today announced 252 more coronavirus deaths, taking the UK’s official fatality toll to 31,493. 

The preliminary figure – yet to be confirmed by officials – is calculated by adding up the individual updates from each of the home nations.

NHS England today recorded 207 more COVID-19 deaths, followed by Scotland (36), Wales (nine). Northern Ireland is still to announce its figures later today.

The Department of Health has yet to release the final daily toll, which takes into account care home fatalities in England and also provides an update on cases, hospital admissions and testing.  

It comes as thousands of Britons today ignored the Government’s plea to stay indoors by heading to busy parks and markets to enjoy 26C temperatures. 

The true size of Britain’s actual COVID-19 outbreak remains a mystery because of ministers’ controversial decision to abandon mass testing early on in the crisis.

A leading epidemiologist last night claimed two thirds of cases in Britain are undiagnosed because the Government refuses to recognise symptoms like loss of taste or smell – which other countries like the US acknowledge as signs of infection.  

Britain today announced 252 more coronavirus deaths, taking the UK’s official fatality toll to 31,493. The daily death count is expected to rise when the Department of Health reveals fatalities in care homes later today

Today’s deaths mean a total of 1,847 patients have succumbed to the virus in Scotland after testing positive. Public Health Wales said its death toll now stands at 1,099.

All of the home nations except England add fatalities in all settings, including care homes, to their overall tally. 

The government’s refusal to recognise symptoms like a loss of taste or smell has led to two thirds of cases going undiagnosed, a leading epidemiologist has claimed.

Tim Spector, professor at King’s College London, said the failure to acknowledge the symptoms has led to statisticians collecting data which is ‘nonsense’. 

The Government has listed a fever temperature and a persistent cough as primary symptoms of the killer virus.

But there is growing evidence that a loss of taste and smell are tell-tale signs of infection.

Other nations, like the US, have revised their guidelines to include the symptom and help doctors spot patients.   

Officially, just 212,000 Britons have been diagnosed with confirmed coronavirus  – but millions of cases have been missed because of a lack of mass testing.   

Professor Spector told The Times: ‘Only people with those two symptoms got tested and ended up on the statistics. 

‘All this governmental data on confirmed cases and how many people have recovered, it’s all nonsense.

 

NHS England’s announcement of 202 new deaths brings the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 22,972.

The patients were aged between 37 and 100 years old and 19 of them had no known underlying health condition. 

Yesterday, the UK declared 626 more coronavirus deaths, including a six-week-old baby who is thought to be Britain’s youngest known victim,  

Meanwhile, police today turned sun-worshipping covidiots away from the seaside as the Coastguard reports its highest number of call-outs since stay-at-home rules began. 

Boris Johnson begged Britons to stay at home during the last days of full lockdown, ahead of his address to the nation tomorrow night when he’s expected to relax some of the measures.

The Prime Minister warned that venturing outside during the sunny weather could ‘undo everything that’s been done so far’. 

But he was accused of mixed messaging after being pictured strolling through St James’ Park this morning carrying a reusable Costa coffee cup, a commuter staple.   

Pictures showed a passer-by accosting Mr Johnson and apparently give him a piece of his mind, with a photo showing him pointing a finger at the dumbfounded PM as a smiling woman looked on.

Tomorrow the PM is expected to reveal his plans to ease the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, with commuters urged to cycle to work, firms told to provide staff with face masks and garden centres allowed to reopen from Wednesday. 

A member of the public stopped to give British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a talking to as he took a morning walk through St James’s Park, London today. He was carrying a reusable Costa coffee cup 

Visitors walk through a busy Broadway Market in London today despite Mr Johnson urging Britons to stay at home over the weekend 

Parliament Square in Westminster witnessed huge crowds of cyclists as people enjoyed what is expected to be the hottest day of the year with 26C temperatures 

Mr Johnson told Cabinet last week that he will be proceeding with ‘maximum caution’ in order to avoid a second wave of deadly infections.

But he is expected to detail initial changes to some of the draconian curbs currently in place to allow the UK economy to get moving again. 

Mr Johnson’s lockdown exit strategy is expected to include:   

  • A green light for garden centres to reopen from Wednesday.
  • A direction to workers to cycle or walk to work if they are able to. 
  • Firms will be told they must provide staff with face masks to be worn at work, on public transport and when shopping. But wearing face coverings will not be compulsory. 
  • A phased return for schools amid growing opposition from unions. 
  • A phased return for public transport use as union bosses warn they will not risk the health of their workers. 
  • All travellers returning to the UK will be told to self-isolate for 14 days or face fines of up to £1,000. 
  • A legal right to work from home is also being considered by ministers but may not be in the plan.  

Ministers are thought to want to start sending children back to classrooms in June but unions have said they will not sign off on the plans until a test and tracing system is fully operational.

The return of schools and childcare services will be key to restoring much of the economy because many workers with children will be unable to go back to work until education settings are up and running.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is also expected to announce that firms will be required to provide returning staff with face coverings. 

The wearing of such masks will not be compulsory in England but it will be recommended while at work, while shopping and while using public transport. 

The Cabinet Office has paid for machines to make the coverings which will then be sent to companies to allocate in order to avoid a run on medical-grade masks which the NHS needs, according to The Telegraph. 

However, such a move is unlikely to be enough for critics, with former health secretary Jeremy Hunt today arguing that temperature-checking walk-through scanners should be installed at the entrances to all restaurants and offices.

Mr Johnson’s long-anticipated ‘road map’ for getting out of lockdown is expected to set out ‘milestones’ for the easing of measures. 

Initial changes – some starting from Monday – are likely to focus on outdoor activities due to the reduced rate of transmission outdoors compared to indoors.

Mr Johnson will announce that garden centres will be allowed to open their doors to customers from Wednesday May 13.

Nursery bosses will have to ensure shoppers obey social distancing measures, such as keeping two metres away from others, and will be expected to put restrictions in place, including queuing systems and installing Perspex shields to protect till staff, in a similar way to supermarkets.

A senior Government source said: ‘Garden centres are typically open large open-air spaces where the risk of transmission of coronavirus is lower.

‘With strict social distancing measures in place we believe they can open safely from next week.’ 

It is also understood ministers are preparing to recommend that commuters use their bicycles for journeys to work, in a bid to reduce the number of people using public transport. 

Mr Shapps will later unveil a further £250 million for extra cycle lanes, while trials on the use of e-scooters on British roads are due to be fast-tracked. 

The lockdown plan is due to set out a phased restarting of the UK economy with different sectors returning at different times. 

However, those workers who can work from home could soon be given the legal right to do so.

This would stop them feeling compelled to go to the office, make it easier for workplaces to comply with social distancing measures and reduce the strain on public transport. 

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