The number of deaths from coronavirus in England and Wales has hit its lowest level since before the nationwide lockdown in March, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.
The latest ONS figures published on Tuesday show 193 deaths registered in the week ending 31 July mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate.
That figure is the lowest number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 for 19 weeks: two weeks before lockdown started on 23 March.
It also represents an 11.1% decrease compared to the week before, in which 217 people died from the virus.
In England and Wales, 51,710 deaths involving COVID-19 occurred up to 31 July, and had been registered by 8 August.
However, the lower weekly death tolls come amid experts’ concerns about the government’s ability to deal with new outbreaks of the virus.
Prof Gabriel Scally, an epidemiologist at the Royal Society of Medicine who is also an Independent SAGE member, said the government was failing to suppress the virus by its own standards.
“Something’s got to change, otherwise we are really in for an extraordinarily difficult time,” he said.
“It’s bad, and at the back of it all is that the government does not have a strategy. The last time they published a strategy for COVID-19 was 3 March.
“What they have published is a strategy for removing social restriction, but that’s not about dealing with the virus. They have no strategy for dealing with the virus that they have ever made public.”
Coronavirus cases in the UK also appear to be on the rise, with Sunday seeing 1,062 new infections recorded. This was the first time more than 1,000 cases were confirmed in a day since 26 June.
Research by Public Health England, meanwhile, has found that among the 15 to 44 age bracket, the infection rate has risen by 35% over the last five weeks.
In the week up to 2 August, the rate of infection among 15 to 44 year olds in England was 11.9 per 100,00 people, up from 8.8 per 100,000 in the week ending 5 July.