The UK coronavirus hospital death toll has reached 34,027 after 16 more deaths.
Another 15 deaths were recorded in England’s hospitals today while Wales reported one more death.
Scotland did not report any new deaths and Northern Ireland no longer releases updated figures on weekends.
The number of patients testing positive daily is still much higher than the four-month low figure of 546 on July 8.
Cases have steadily risen since over the past month, fuelling fears of a second wave. But separate figures released today suggested the number of people getting infected with coronavirus in England may have actually dropped 12 per cent in a week.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak through swab tests of thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England catching Covid-19 each day. Its estimate of 4,200 daily cases last week prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown.
Government scientific advisers today warned the coronavirus reproduction rate could now be as high as one right across the UK. SAGE estimates the R value – the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is now between 0.8 and 1.0, up from last week’s prediction that it was hovering around 0.8 and 0.9. Experts say the R needs to stay below one or Governments risk losing control of the epidemic and the virus could spiral back out of control.
In other coronavirus developments in Britain today:
- ‘Bold’ young Brits were urged to continue following social distancing rules as fears grow they are catching the virus without knowing it and passing it on;
- Thousands NHS nurses and healthcare staff marched through UK streets in protest at being excluded in pay rise for public sector employees who worked during pandemic;
- Hundreds of NHS Scotland staff fell silent to remember colleagues lost during the coronavirus pandemic at a protest over pay in Glasgow city centre;
- It was revealed that UK Border Force has issued just nine fines to people who breached quarantine rules after returning from abroad – including to two Britons who were later found to be complying with the rules;
- Lockdown is estimated to have ‘killed two people for every three that died of coronavirus’ – 16,000 people in the UK died in five weeks as hospitals shut down to deal with COVID while 25,000 died from the virus;
- More than 100,000 people could have died from coronavirus in Britain if the government didn’t tell people to stay at home, according to research.
Another 15 deaths were recorded in England’s hospitals today while Wales reported one more death. Pictured are sunseekers on Brighton beach this morning
Bournemouth beach was once again packed even by mid-morning as sun-seekers arrived in their droves to soak up the sun
Crowds flocked to the seafront despite pleas from local authorities to stay away, after an immensely busy day yesterday
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, this week claimed Covid-19 cases aren’t actually rising — despite government figures showing an upwards trend.
He said the rising infection rates are down to more people being tested, pointing to data showing the number of pillar two tests carried out each day rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.
The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.
The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.
This Saturday’s figures come amid a plea for ‘bold’ young people to continue following social distancing rules as fears grow that they are catching the virus without knowing and passing it on to other members of their household.
Preston’s director of public health warned mixing in pubs was to blame for the area being put back into lockdown, with almost half of the area’s new cases reported were among people aged 30 and younger.
The city council’s chief executive Adrian Phillips pleaded with young people to continue following the guidance and not risk infecting others.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I know our director of public health has said ‘don’t kill granny’ to young people to try and focus the message.
‘Young people are inevitably among the brave and the bold, they want to be adventurous and out and about but we know that they have the virus, are more likely to at the moment, they often have less symptoms but they do take it back to their household and the community spread we are seeing we believe in many cases are young people taking it home and catching the virus.
‘We’re going to have to repeat it and whether Radio 4 is the correct channel for that I’m not quite sure but we’re using multiple channels and we’re working with community groups who are doing peer to peer comms around.
‘It’s just trying so many different ways to get the message to all communities, to all areas of our city that the virus is still something to be really wary of.’
Bournemouth beach in Dorset was already busy by mid-morning as sun-seekers once again flocked to the coast today
The stark warnings did not appear to be heeded today as crowds of lockdown-weary sunseekers flocked to Britain’s beauty spots in their droves – with little signs of social distancing.
Revellers gathered on the beach this morning, with some even spending the night in tents, in anticipation of another sizzling day on Britain’s beaches – despite councils begging tourists to steer clear following yesterday’s ‘bedlam’.
Record numbers packed the seafront on Friday, despite Government warnings on what was the UK’s hottest August day since 2003.
Staycationers in Bournemouth were this morning seen emerging from tents they’d set up overnight to try and secure the best spots, while Sussex Police turned away cars from a full Camber Sands beach as early as 10am.
Crowds of visitors carrying bags make their way down to the seafront in Bournemouth ahead what is likely to be another busy day
Sussex Police turned away cars from a full Camber Sands beach as early as 10am this morning, with 95F temperatures set to hit later on
In North Wales, described as being a scene of ‘bedlam’ yesterday, a councillor’s plea for visitors to avoid towns appeared to be ignored as the local police force reported a ‘considerable build up’ of traffic in Abersoch as drivers made their way to the beach.
Similarly, drivers reported 40-minute queues for car parks in Sandbanks, which have also filled up throughout the morning.
Yesterday saw 19 of 24 beaches along a stretch of the Dorset coast full up by midday, at which time there had already been 70 coastguard callouts across the UK.
With the mercury set to rise to 95F today, and the RAC expecting the busiest weekend of the year, local authorities are urging people to stay away and avoid a repeat of yesterday’s crowds, where many appeared unbothered by fears of coronavirus as groups mixed without masks – despite rising cases in the UK driving fears of a second wave.
Meanwhile, the Local Government Association is calling for councils to be given more powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs nationwide, with revellers expected to pack into venues up and down the country once again later today.