The UK has recorded another 286 coronavirus deaths, the second lowest total reported on a Tuesday since 24 March.
It brings the country’s total to 40,883, officially the worst in the world behind only the US, although Brazil, which is approaching the UK’s toll, has stopped reporting a running total.
The tally shows the trend of deaths continues to decline, despite lockdown in England being eased to the point where six people can meet outdoors, some year groups have returned to school and more shops are due to start welcoming back customers.
Tuesdays have often had more severe tolls, with a lag following the weekend typically meaning Mondays record fewer deaths.
In contrast to past Tuesdays, 2 June saw 324 reported deaths and 26 May had 136, but that followed a bank holiday.
All Tuesdays prior to that recorded more than 500 deaths, with 7 April, 14 April and 21 April all recording more than 1,000 each.
31 March saw 382, while 149 deaths were reported on 24 March. Before then, 16 were recorded on 17 March and four on 10 March.
Monday’s figures showed 55 deaths, and no deaths reported in London over a 24-hour period.
In the House of Commons, health secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday there are “encouraging trends on all of these critical measures, coronavirus is in retreat across the land, our plan is working and these downward trends mean we can proceed with our plans.
“But we do so putting caution and safety first.”
He added that “we do expect more fatalities in the future” and as lockdown eases, he said the government “will not allow a second peak that overwhelms the NHS”.
Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “The acute deaths are coming down, the ones that are occurring in an active infection are looking like they are going to trend down to zero by the end of the month.
“The ones coming through on the death certificate could come through, though, for quite some months, if people consider this person was unwell in April and it affected them for months on end, they will still see underlying COVID on death certificates for quite some time.”
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