Coronavirus: UK death toll rises to 27,510 after further 739 fatalities reported

Numberplate pixelated by PA picture desk. A medical worker takes a swab at a drive-in coronavirus testing facility at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort in south west London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Testing at Chessington World of Adventures Resort in south west London, ahead of the new toll. (PA Images)

The number of people in the UK who have died after being infected with coronavirus has risen by 739 to 27,510.

There are also 177,451 confirmed cases, a rise of 6,201 from Thursday.

The toll remains the second worst official count in Europe, behind Italy, but ahead of Spain and France, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Around the world, there have been 3.2 million reported cases, with 233,000 deaths and more than 1 million recoveries.

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The government is set to reveal more details of how the UK will progress in its fight against the coronavirus.

There have been calls from Labour to reveal what the next step is, with the lockdown wreaking havoc on the nation’s economy.

Boris Johnson emphasised the importance of keeping the amount of new infections low – based on a measure referred to as the R-number – and is mindful of how any attempt to ease the lockdown could see the rate of infections climb again.

A key way out is contract tracing, where authorities can find people who recently came into contact with an infected person and prevent the virus spreading further.

David Nabarro, the World Health Organization’s special envoy on COVID-19, said it would be “perfectly reasonable” for the government to begin easing the lockdown before a full contact tracing system is set up.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “Every government is having to make a choice and I understand that the contact tracing process is now well advanced and so that’s a reasonable time to be thinking through how lockdown can be eased, and it won’t be eased all at once, it will be eased bit by bit.”

He added: “You don’t need to have 100% contact tracing in order to get the R-number down

“The contact tracing is an absolutely essential part of reducing transmission, and getting that capacity as widely spread as possible is key to getting the transmission as low as you can.

“But you certainly can release the lockdown while you’re building up the case finding and contact tracing capacity – that’s what most other countries are doing.”

Meanwhile, NHS England’s national mental health director Claire Murdoch has said there is no evidence the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has led to a rise in suicides.

She told MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee: “There have been various studies as we’ve seen, in fact for adults as well, everybody is more worried.

“Lots of people are sleeping less, lots of people are worried about all kinds of things.

“But I do think it’s very important that we don’t succumb at this stage to a narrative of massive spikes in suicide and that we’re very responsible in how we understand the evidence there.”

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