Daily Deaths

Boris Announces Next Step in Reopening as Daily Covid Deaths in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland Fall to Zero

Boris hailed what he called a “very considerable step on the road back to normality” at a Downing Street press briefing this evening, outlining what he’s graciously going to “allow” us to do from May 17th. MailOnline has more.

Pints inside the pub are back from Monday, along with hugs for friends and family and staycations, Boris Johnson said tonight. …

But he urged people to be cautious, saying the country must remain “vigilant” about fuelling cases and the threat from variants.

When the next stage in the roadmap is reached groups of six or two households will be allowed to meet indoors for the first time in months.

Overnight visits will also be allowed, while outdoors the limit will rise to 30 in the most significant loosening yet.

Staycations can also get properly up and running, with hotels and B&Bs that do not have self-catering facilities permitted to open – as well as cinemas and theatres if audiences wear masks.

Crucially the government has decided the risk is now low enough that social distancing can be left more to “personal choice” – meaning that while people are urged to be ‘cautious’, hugs are allowed at private gatherings.

However, despite the very low infection rate and stunning vaccine rollout, social distancing rules will still be maintained at bars and restaurants.

Together with a requirement for table service indoors it means many venues will still struggle to make ends meet.

Advice to work from home where possible will also stay in place.

In other elements of the changes from next week, the much-criticised cap on the number of mourners at funerals will be lifted, while up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings and other life events.

Indoor sport and exercise classes can restart, along with sauna and steamrooms. And secondary pupils will no longer need to wear masks at schools in England.

In a huge relief for many isolated elderly people and their families, care home residents will be able to have up to five named visitors – and up to two at once provided they are tested and follow guidelines. Residents will also have greater freedom to leave homes without having to isolate afterwards.

Worth reading in full.

During the announcement, Boris thanked the public for their commitment and said infections were now at the “lowest level since last July”. That’s also true of Covid deaths in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with zero being recorded in the last 24 hours in all three nations. MailOnline has more on that, too.

The UK has confirmed another 2,357 coronavirus cases and four deaths – all four in Wales – as the country’s Covid alert level was downgraded from four to three, suggesting the virus is ‘in general circulation’ and not rising.

Both figures mark increases on last Monday’s numbers, although that was a bank holiday and the counts are so low that even relatively small changes can appear to have a big effect. The longer-term trend remains flat.

July 30 was the last time that the reported death count was zero and the return marks a huge milestone after England’s toll peaked at 1,243 at the height of the second wave on January 19. The figure includes only death certificates processed yesterday; it does not mean that nobody died of Covid.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Telegraph Science Editor Sarah Knapton has interviewed a number of scientists, including Prof. Carl Heneghan, to ask them whether we really need to wait until June 21st before reopening in full. One of those in favour of reopening sooner is Dr. Jason Oke of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford. He said: “We are rapidly approaching the figure required for population immunity, if we haven’t already reached that point. Even the modellers who have been the most pessimistic in the past have revised their concerns about another wave in the summer.”

Two Covid Deaths Reported in Last 24 Hours

While the number of Covid cases increased slightly this week, the number of reported deaths fell by 86%. MailOnline has the story.

Coronavirus daily deaths tumbled by 86% from 14 to just two in a week while cases rose slightly by 6% in the same period as official figures show a third of U.K. adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid.   

The latest Department for Health figures show that the number of daily virus cases rose from 1,671 to 1,770 on last Sunday while the number of Covid deaths plummeted in further evidence of the efficacy of vaccines. 

Official figures also show that more than 17.6 million people have now received both jabs, with England and Northern Ireland both estimated to have given two doses to 33.6% of their adult population – slightly ahead of Wales (33.4%) and Scotland (33.1%)…

Meanwhile, 35,371,669 people in the U.K. have now received a first dose of vaccine – the equivalent of 67.2% of the adult population.  Wales has given a first dose to 76.2% of its adult population, ahead of Northern Ireland (66.9%), England (66.8%) and Scotland (65.4%).   

The Prime Minister should go much further tomorrow than simply announcing that hugging will be “allowed” from May 17th.

Worth reading in full.

Just Five New Covid Deaths Recorded in Last 24 Hours

Britain’s daily coronavirus deaths fell by nearly 30% today, as the number of people who have received a second dose of a Covid vaccine soared past 17 million. MailOnline has more.

Officials also recorded just five lab-confirmed deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid swab, 28.6% less than the number recorded a week ago.

The latest figures show that nearly 35.2 million Britons have been given at least one dose of Covid vaccine, after another 119,349 first injections were administered yesterday.

The NHS also dished out a further 449,716 second doses, bringing the total number of people fully vaccinated against the disease to 17.2 million.

Some 66.8% of adults have had a first jab, while nearly a third have had their second.

Worth reading in full.

UK Covid Deaths Stay in Single Figures for Second Day Running for First Time Since September

The Department of Health’s daily update showed four more Covid deaths in the UK yesterday, making May 2nd and 3rd the lowest two-day total for eight months. MailOnline has more.

The Department of Health’s daily update showed infections are also down more than a quarter compared to last week after 1,946 positive tests were processed in the past 24 hours.

It comes after just one Covid fatality was recorded yesterday. It is the first time there have been single-digit deaths for two days running since September 14th.

The small number of deaths may be partly explained by the bank holiday, when the figures are often lower to due the way fatalities are logged. The seven-day rolling average number of daily Covid deaths is now 13.

People have also been less likely to come forward for tests on weekends or public holidays and many of the daily swabs are now conducted in schools and workplaces.

Meanwhile, latest figures show another 208,362 second vaccine doses were dished out across the UK on Sunday and 79,304 people were given their first injection.

It means 34.6million Britons — more than half — have been jabbed at least once and 15.6million — nearly a quarter of the population — have been fully vaccinated.

The promising data will be seized upon by MPs, pubs and restaurants, who have called for England’s lockdown to end sooner. One restaurant boss claimed reservations have been cancelled because of the ‘terrible weather’ and hospitality chiefs said it was essential that trading goes back to being “unrestricted” on June 21.

Sir Robert Syms, Tory MP for Poole in Dorset, yesterday said: “We need to push the Government to get on with it. A lot of normal life could be returned.” He said the country would “lose another summer” if rules aren’t eased soon.

The PM has so far refused to budge in the face of calls for more freedom, with restrictions set to stay in place until June 21st — touted as England’s independence day.

Worth reading in full.

Britain Records One Covid Death in Lowest Daily Toll in Nine Months – Yet Boris Doggedly Sticks to Roadmap

The U.K. recorded its lowest Covid death toll in nine months yesterday, while infections fell to a level not seen since September. MailOnline has more.

Department of Health statistics showed this was only the third time deaths had fallen to this level, after August 3rd and 30th. July 30th was the only day of the pandemic to see zero victims recorded.

Health bosses also posted another 1,649 coronavirus cases, down by a fifth on the 2,064 last Monday. It was the fewest positive tests since September 2nd, before the second wave spiralled out of control.

Figures tend to be lower on Mondays because fewer people are available over the weekend to process paperwork to record a death. Separate date of death statistics, which lag by around a fortnight, show around 15 Brits are still succumbing to the virus every day – similar to levels seen at the end of summer, when ministers were happy to let Britons mix with few curbs despite no one being inoculated.

Britain today passed the landmark of having dished out 50million Covid vaccines, after another 250,000 jabs were dished out yesterday. Around 34.6million people have now had their first dose, and 15.4million – or 30% of all adults – are fully inoculated.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the “massive” achievement and insisted we are going to have a “great British summer”, while Boris Johnson said he could see no reason why England’s next planned relaxation on May 17th could not go ahead.

Despite the success of the vaccine roll-out coming alongside falling cases and deaths, the PM poured cold water on holiday hopes, warning putting lots of countries on the travel ‘green list’ could risk an “influx of disease”. His comments came hours after the EU unveiled plans to let vaccinated Brits in for summer trips.

Mr Johnson insisted Number 10 will be “cautious” amid bitter Cabinet wrangling over how far to loosen the border restrictions this month. Mr Hancock and chief medical officer Chris Whitty are said to be among those pushing for quarantine-free states to be kept to an absolute minimum.

On a pre-election visit to Hartlepool this afternoon, Mr Johnson also claimed there is a “good chance” that current social distancing rules will be scrapped on June 21st – touted as England’s independence day.

Worth reading in full.

Britain Records Lowest Daily Covid Death Toll Since the Start of September

The Department of Health recorded just four Covid deaths in the past 24 hours – the lowest number since September 7th, when three deaths were announced. The Mail has the story.

Department of Health figures showed there were also 2,963 new infections in the past 24 hours, down 17% on last week’s figure of 3,568. 

Today’s Covid deaths are the lowest they’ve been in more than seven months, after falling by almost 70% compared to last Monday’s 13. 

There is no indication that opening outdoor pubs, gyms and hairdressers last week, or reintroducing the rule of six late last month, has caused any uptick in cases. Coronavirus metrics are usually low on Mondays due to the way test results and fatalities are logged, but ministers will take confidence in the fact both cases and deaths are down significantly from last Monday. 

The statistics will inevitably pile more pressure on Boris Johnson to speed up his roadmap out of lockdown, with the next relaxation not due for almost another month.  

Mr Johnson has promised to stick to “data, not dates” when it comes to easing curbs but has so far refused to move quicker despite vanishingly low death numbers and just 2,000 Covid patients being treated by the NHS.

Cause for optimism, you’d think. But apparently not, according to the Government. The narrative continues to focus not on falling Covid cases or the success of Britain’s vaccine rollout but on the threat of Covid variants – particularly the Indian variant, which has landed the country on the Government’s “red list” for international travel. In light of this, Environment Minister George Eustice has said it is still “too early to say” whether the reopening of indoor hospitality can take place on May 17th.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Daily deaths from Covid have fallen below the average numbers from road accidents, latest official figures show. The Telegraph has more.

London Has Zero Covid Deaths on One Day for First Time in Six Months

Zero deaths from Covid have been reported in London for the first time in six months, according to Public Health England (PHE). BBC News has the story.

PHE figures for March 28th showed no deaths had been registered of patients within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

At the height of the crisis last April, about 230 deaths a day linked to the virus were recorded in London.

“This is a fantastic milestone, but we’re a long way from returning to normal,” one doctor said.

It is the first time the daily Covid figures have shown zero deaths in the capital since September.

Dr Jim Down of University College Hospital says that, while Covid cannot be forgotten about, the focus of hospitals should start shifting to the non-Covid health crisis.

We’re down to about seven Covid patients on the intensive care unit and we’re expecting them to get better.

It’s a wonderful feeling but it sets up new challenges. 

The backlog for people needing hip replacements and cancer treatment is vast. You need to start bringing them back in but keep the hospitals ready in case of a third wave.

Professor Karol Sikora has similarly stressed the urgency of dealing with the huge backlog of non-Covid patients.

Over the last year, politicians have been adopting untried and untested policies, the consequences of which none of us can yet fully grasp. The main aim, of course, of these extraordinary lockdown measures has been to suppress Covid in order to reduce pressure on our hospitals. That has been the metric on which Government approval has been judged.

Whether or not you agree with every restriction, it is clear that this focus has sucked the oxygen away from other pressing health issues. Covid required a response unlike anything we have seen in modern times. But was it right that this happen at the expense of so many other illnesses which have torn apart millions of families? 

Too often it has been framed as Covid or cancer; it does not need to be like this. We turned the country on its head to deal with this virus; we now need to tackle the non-Covid health crisis with the same vigour.

Currently, the number of people waiting to receive hospital treatment in England stands at 4.6 million (a record high).

Worth reading in full.

Coronavirus Deaths Fall to Lowest Figure For a Saturday in Six Months

Just 58 deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded today, the lowest number for a Saturday in six months. Ninety-six deaths were recorded last Saturday, meaning fatalities have fallen by 40% in the past week. MailOnline has more.

The figures come ahead of the easing of restrictions on ‘Happy Monday’, with larger outdoor meetings being permitted in England from March 29th.

Earlier today, Boris Johnson said that he can see nothing in the data to dissuade him from continuing along his roadmap, which would mean no curbs from June 21st.

The Prime Minister acknowledged cases could again spiral as restrictions are relaxed, with the ‘stay local’ order having ended in Wales and larger outdoor meetings being permitted in England from Monday.

But he said on Saturday that the “key difference” this time is that the rise in prevalence should be “sufficiently mitigated” by the successful vaccine rollout.

Worth reading in full.