Britain has suffered a further 205 coronavirus deaths – the lowest figure in more than six weeks.
The official death toll for the UK is now 31,792. But it’s likely to be far higher in reality due to a delay in gathering death certificates.
Scientists have today warned the lives of 100,000 Britons could be lost to the killer infection by the end of the year if the crisis is not controlled.
And a separate study estimates 700,000 people will die in Britain as a result of the COVID-19 and the lockdown measures used to control it – more than in the Second World War.
Tonight Prime Minister Boris Johnson will formally announce how the UK’s lockdown measures will begin to loosen from Monday.
Limits on outdoor activities are expected to be among the first thing to relax – but Government ministers have insisted there will be no major changes.
Downing Street today has attempted to defend the decision to ditch the blanket ‘stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ slogan for an ambiguous ‘stay alert, control the virus, and save lives’ line.
New daily deaths up until May 9
On another pivotal day in the all-consuming crisis:
- Mr Johnson is expected to confirm that garden centres will be allowed to open from Wednesday and publish guidance for safer working in offices – but tougher fines of up to £3,000 for breaches of the rules;
- Airports and travel companies reacted with fury to plans to impose two weeks’ quarantine on anyone arriving in the country, including UK citizens returning from holiday;
- The UK death toll rose by 346 to 31,587, including more than 200 healthcare workers. Globally there have been almost 4million cases with more than 276,000 lives lost so far;
- Ministers voiced suspicion that political opponents and union barons were colluding to block schools reopening until pay demands were met, in a group they described as ‘The Blob’;
- A poll has found Britons believe the government has handled the crisis worse than other major countries apart from the US;
- Mr Jenrick revealed that 40 per cent of Isle of Wight residents, around 50,000 people, have downloaded the NHS coronavirus tracking app in the first week;
- Statistician Professor David Speigelhalter has branded the government’s use of figures ’embarrassing’, saying test numbers were being misrepresented and the public was not being treated with ‘respect’.
NHS England today confirmed 178 more people had died in its hospitals, bringing the total number to 23,149 in hospitals alone.
Patients were aged between 32 and 98 years old. Twelve of the patients, aged between 58 and 95 years old, had no known underlying health condition.
More fatalities that have happened outside of hospitals, including in care homes and private houses, will be announced by the Department of Health later today.
The number of tests that have been conducted will also be revealed later.
Scotland, meanwhile, announced a further 10 fatalities, and 12 more people died in Wales along with five in Northern Ireland.
These figures include deaths in community settings, but health officials do not provide a clear breakdown of how many fatalities occurred in each setting.
Britain now has the second highest death toll in the world, after the US where 79,700 people have succumbed to the pneumonia-causing virus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the nation tonight at 7pm and is expected to unveil a new DefCon-style five stage system to describe the country’s outbreak condition.
The PM is expected to drop the slogan ‘stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ in a televised address to the UK tonight at 7pm in an effort to reopen parts of the economy (pictured, new government pandemic slogan)
But he has already been forced to defend his ‘exit plan’ amid a furious backlash at dropping the powerful ‘stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ slogan.
Instead, a new ‘stay alert, control the virus, and save lives’ mantra will be pushed out by officials, which has caused confusion among the public and even leading politicians.
The PM took to Twitter to clarify the new advice after Nicola Sturgeon condemned ditching the stay-at-home line that has brought the country to an effective standstill since March 23.
The First Minister said she had not been informed about the change, and insisted the simple guidance would stay in force in Scotland whatever the PM says. Wales also indicated it would still tell people to stay at home.
Researchers predict social distancing measures until 2024 in order to beat Covid-19 if a vaccine is not discovered.
However, if Britain is plunged into a recession as a result, more than 675,000 could die from the virus, poor healthcare and impoverishment over the next five years, experts warn.
A study led by Philip Thomas, a Professor of Risk Management at the University of Bristol, produced the figure which is higher than the approximately 525,000 civilian and military personnel from Britain who died in the Second World War.
It comes after the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) received warnings that there could be 100,00 coronavirus deaths by the end of the year if measures are relaxed too far and too fast.
A study by experts from the London School of Tropical Hygiene and College London modelled different approaches to ‘evaluate which were viable and which were not’ and reportedly concluded there was ‘very limited room for manoeuvre’.
How the government’s DefCon style five stage alert system for the UK’s coronavirus outbreak could work