Coronavirus UK: Death toll hits 19,499 with 684 new fatalities

Another 684 people have died from coronavirus in Britain, taking the total number of fatalities to 19,506.

Officials also announced that 5,386 people tested positive for the killer virus in the last 24 hours, meaning 143,464 have now officially been diagnosed.  

NHS England confirmed 587 people died in its hospitals, while another 174 deaths were announced across Scotland and Wales. 

Victims in England were aged between 40 and 102 years old, and 34 of them had no known underlying health conditions. 

Northern Ireland has not announced its new cases and deaths yet, but the figures are expected this afternoon.   

There was again a disparity in the true death toll, with the four UK nations announcing 761 fatalities between them.

The health bodies in each country record their own daily figures, which do not tally with the Government’s as they collate their numbers at different times in the day. 

Department of Health figures also show the true number of cumulative deaths jumped by 768 – but 84 of these were historically revised so are not included in the daily jump.

The Government had hoped to keep the number of victims to 20,000 or lower but recent trends suggest the UK will hit that tomorrow counting hospital deaths alone.

The 684 new deaths mark an 11 per cent rise from yesterday’s 616 – but experts are not worried by the jump as they expect fatalities to hover in the high hundreds for a few more weeks. 

Meanwhile, more questions emerged over the true number of Britons dying in care homes today after figures from Northern Ireland showed a third of all fatalities were elderly residents.

Data from England and Wales has suggested the true number of deaths outside hospitals – which are the only ones recorded by the Department of Health – is around 15 per cent.

But figures from Scotland show the rate is around 40 per cent, which could mean the UK’s true death toll from COVID-19 is more than 27,000.

Another 684 people have died from coronavirus in Britain Officials also announced that 5,386, people tested positive for the killer virus in the last 24 hours. It means the total number of fatalities is 19,506, while 143,464 patients have been officially been diagnosed

As Britain’s coronavirus death tally edges closer to 20,000: 

  • Millions of key workers face a rush to get a coronavirus test on the Government’s new online system tomorrow morning – after it ran out of home testing kits just two minutes after launching today 
  • Traffic has returned to London’s A40, with 10 per cent more cars hitting the roads as shops, building sites and factories reopen
  • Nicola Sturgeon says Scottish people could soon be allowed to meet with a ‘bubble’ of up to friends or family as deaths and cases continue to fall
  • Northern Ireland has similarly signalled it could lift restrictions independently of the rest of the UK
  • But Wales maintains that people should not leave their home unless absolutely essential as hundreds more people continue to die every day
  • The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s largest companies dropped by 86 points or 1.48 per cent to 5,740 this morning after drug trials showed anti-Ebola medicine Remdesivir does not help coronavirus patients 
  • An ex-top civil servant said the UK should allow a Sweden-style ‘phased’ easing of the coronavirus restrictions beginning in June

The 684 new deaths mark a 7 per cent rise from yesterday’s 638. Experts are not surprised by the tiny jump as they expect daily deaths to plateau for a few more weeks before plummeting. 

The number of daily coronavirus tests carried out in Britain rose from just under 24,000 yesterday to 28,532 today after the Government launched a new website for key workers to book coronavirus swabs.

However the site ran out of home testing kits just two minutes after launching this morning, meaning millions of key workers face a rush to get one tomorrow.

Daily testing figures are still way off ministers’ ambitious goal of 100,000 by the end of the month – a target that looks impossible despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s insistence that the country will reach it.   

A total of 1,184 patients have now died in Scotland after testing positive for COVID-19, a rise of 64 from 1,120 on Thursday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a further 288 had tested positive for the killer virus.

The number of daily coronavirus tests carried out in Britain rose from just under 24,000 yesterday to 28,532 today after the Government launched a new website for key workers to book coronavirus swabs

The number of daily coronavirus tests carried out in Britain rose from just under 24,000 yesterday to 28,532 today after the Government launched a new website for key workers to book coronavirus swabs

Speaking at her daily press briefing, Mrs Sturgeon revealed the number of people in hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 is 1,710, down from 1,748 yesterday.

She added that 141 of these patients are intensive care, seven less than there were on Thursday.

Mrs Sturgeon described the drop in hospital and ICU figures as ‘a growing cause for optimism that the lockdown is working to suppress the virus’.

Meanwhile Wales announced its biggest daily increase so far, with 110 new deaths recorded, a surge from 17 yesterday. 

This is partly because it reported its figures later than usual and has revised its tally to include 84 previous cases that weren’t counted. It takes Wales’ total deaths to 751.

Wales also recorded 243 new cases of the lethal infection, meaning 8,601 patients have officially been diagnosed. 

Figures from the AA show show more car journeys than at any point over the past few weeks in a sign the economy is slowly restarting after the UK first entered coronavirus restrictions at the end of March

Figures from the AA show show more car journeys than at any point over the past few weeks in a sign the economy is slowly restarting after the UK first entered coronavirus restrictions at the end of March

THIRD OF COVID-19 DEATHS IN NORTHERN IRELAND ARE IN CARE HOMES… SO WHAT IS THE TRUE NUMBER OF FATALITIES IN THE UK? 

More questions emerged over the true number of Britons dying in care homes today after figures from Northern Ireland showed a third of all fatalities were elderly residents.  

The latest weekly update from the Northern Ireland Statistical and Research Agency (NISRA) records 276 deaths involving Covid-19 up to April 17.

Of these, 60.1 per cent occurred in hospitals, 33.7 per cent in care homes, 5.1 per cent at private addresses and 1.1 per cent at hospices.

The 96 deaths in care homes and hospices involved 44 separate establishments.

The NISRA figures are higher than the number of deaths reported daily by the Public Health Agency (PHA), which by April 17 had reached 212.

The PHA figures are based on patients who had previously tested positive for the virus, whereas NISRA figures are based on the information entered on death certificates, filled out by medical professionals.

Comparatively the total number of total deaths registered in Northern Ireland in the week ending April 17 was 424. The figure is 11 fewer than the previous week but 134 more than the five year average of 290. 

Data from England and Wales has suggested the true number of deaths outside hospitals – which are the only ones recorded by the Department of Health – is around 15 per cent.

But figures from Scotland show the rate is around 40 per cent, which could mean the UK’s true death toll from COVID-19 is more than 27,000.    

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon today suggested people in Scotland could soon be allowed to meet a small ‘bubble’ of friends or family outside of their households under plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

The Scottish First Minister said other countries are beginning to look at expanding the definition of ‘households’ to allow small gatherings of people and that Scotland could do the same.

The SNP leader said any such scheme would only work if people stuck to meeting the same group each time as she said she understood the ‘anguish’ of not being able to see loved ones.

She also suggested people who live alone could ‘match up with somebody else who is on their own or a couple of other people’.

It came as the Welsh government announced some of its stay-at-home measures are being toughened up but also followed Ms Sturgeon in publishing a roadmap for how to eventually get out of lockdown.

Northern Ireland has similarly signalled it could lift restrictions independently of the rest of the UK with Downing Street now under growing pressure to set out its own strategy for getting life back to normal amid fears England could be left in limbo.

UK ministers, led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, continue to insist the focus must remain on stopping the spread of the virus but the actions of the devolved administrations mean Number 10 could ultimately be forced to change tack.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the aim of his government’s end-of-lockdown ‘framework’ will be to ‘find a way for people in Wales to live and work alongside coronavirus’ and to enable a ‘gradual return to something resembling normal life’.

But he also moved to tighten current guidance on staying at home to make sure people stick to it and do not linger outside after completing essential tasks like shopping or exercise.

The Welsh government advice is being tweaked with the requirement for people not to leave the place where they live now becoming a requirement ‘not to leave or remain away from that place’.

A further crackdown on people visiting second homes in the country is also being considered with the Welsh government asking the police if extra restrictions are needed.

But some rules are being formally loosened with ‘click and collect’ services allowed to open as long as they apply two metre social distancing rules.

Meanwhile, rules are also being relaxed for people with particular health conditions or disabilities so they can leave home for exercise more than once a day.

It is hoped this will help families with children with learning disabilities and autism in particular. The changes will come into effect from tomorrow.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk