Britain announces 244 more coronavirus deaths on the first Saturday since lockdown was eased – taking the country’s total fatalities to 34,242
- NHS England announced 181 more fatalities in its hospitals in the last 24 hours
- Scotland recorded 41 more deaths, followed by Wales (18) and N. Ireland (four)
- More than 237,000 people have been officially diagnosed with the viral disease
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Britain today recorded another 244 coronavirus deaths on the first Saturday since the draconian lockdown was eased, taking the UK’s official fatality toll to 34,242.
The preliminary figure – not yet confirmed by officials – is calculated by adding up the individual updates from each of the home nations and marks the lowest increase in fatalities on a Saturday since March 21.
There have only been two days since then that daily dates have been lower than today’s – on Sunday, March 29 and Monday, May 11, there were 214 and 210 deaths, respectively.
But a lag in the way COVID-19 deaths are registered means fatalities are always lower than average moving into the start of a new week.
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.
More than 237,000 people have been officially diagnosed with the viral disease but the true scale of Britain’s outbreak is considerably larger, with government officials suggesting up to 6.6million are likely to have caught it in England alone.
It comes as millions of Britons flocked to beaches and beauty spots on the first weekend since lockdown was eased – despite the Government’s scientists revealing yesterday that the reproduction value had crept up to the dreaded number 1.
The crucial R value – the average number of people a COVID-19 patient infects – has risen to somewhere between 0.7 and 1, up from between 0.5 and 0.9 last week.
Officials must keep the number below 1 otherwise the outbreak will start to grow again and potentially spiral out of control.
In other developments in Britain’s coronavirus today:
- Police stopped day-trippers heading for Brighton as 15 million sun worshippers defied beauty spot pleas to stay away and enjoy 70F temperatures in the first weekend since lockdown was eased
- The row between ministers and teachers unions intensified after Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield said that schools had to be reopened as quickly as possible;
- Public Health England could face the axe after Boris Johnson told a meeting of 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs that he he was planning a review of ‘a number of institutions’ once coronavirus is beaten back;
- Experts from King’s College London have suggested that one in three patients who fall severely ill with coronavirus develop deadly blood clots that trigger heart attacks, strokes and organ failure;
- NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens said that medics are still treating around 9,000 coronavirus patients a day in England, down from 19,000 at the infection’s peak in April;
- The University of Nottingham has suggested that coronavirus cases fell dramatically after the sunniest April on record, with strong UV light killing the virus and vitamin D strengthening the immune system.
Meanwhile, police have been stopping day-trippers heading to Brighton today despite changes to government rules as an estimated 15 million leisure trips are expected to be made this weekend.
The British public has been warned by authorities in Brighton and Hove, Whitby, and Scarborough this week not to flock to beauty spots and has been told roads would close if they became too busy.
Seaside towns and national parks are worried about the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections as city dwellers descend upon parks and beaches on the first weekend since lockdown was eased.
The Peak District National Park said that the Langsett area at the north-eastern edge of the park was ‘extremely busy’ on Saturday morning, making social distancing difficult.
Visitors seemingly flocked to the area despite people being asked to ‘think carefully’ before visiting national parks and beaches. On Twitter, park bosses in the Peak District said: ‘This area (Langsett) is reported to be extremely busy with car parks currently full and social distancing difficult.
‘Please don’t travel to the area or park outside of designated bays.’
Police officers are stopping cars and asking people where they are going, despite clear government guidance explaining that people can head out on extended day trips.
Live tracking data indicates that there were more cars on the roads at 1pm today than at the same time last Saturday, as 15 million leisure trips are expected to be made this weekend.