Coronavirus: 768 more deaths reported taking UK's total to 19,506

A nurse prepares to take a sample at a COVID 19 testing centre in the car park of the Bowhouse Community Centre in Grangemouth as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A nurse prepares to take a sample at a COVID 19 testing centre ahead of the new figures being released. (PA Images)

Hospital deaths in the UK related to COVID-19 have risen to 19,506, an increase of 768.

The Department of Health has also said there are now 143,464 confirmed cases, up 5,386.

Across the UK, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in English hospitals has risen to 17,373, up 587.

Most took place between 21 and 23 April, while 151 of the newly-recorded deaths happened between April 1 and April 20, while 32 deaths occurred in March.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, another 64 deaths have been reported, taking its total to 1,184 and Wales recorded another 110 for a total of 751. Figures from Northern Ireland were not yet out.

The figures combined vary from the UK-wide figure given by the Department of Health due to differences in accounting.

There are 2.7 million cases globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, with 191,000 deaths and 745,000 recoveries.

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Health secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that lockdown can be eased when the number of new coronavirus cases falls.

He said: “Now that we’re at the peak, and we very much hope that things will start to slow down and, if and when they do, then the speed with which the number of new cases reduces will frankly will determine how long we need to keep the measures on and that is as yet unknown.”

Mass testing and tracing – the ability to determine if someone has been infected and find people they have come into contact with – has been touted as a route out of lockdown.

“The truth is that we need to get the number of new cases down, right down, and the lower you go, the more effective contact tracing is because the more resources you can put into each individual case that gets a positive test,” Hancock said.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock leaves Downing Street, London.
Matt Hancock said test and tracing can take place as the virus's spread is decreased. (PA Images)

“You can really make sure you can get hold of all of their contacts and get them, in many cases, to self-isolate.

“The smaller the number of new cases, the more effective the test, track and trace system will be.”

Some construction firms have begun to reopen sites, with house builder Persimmon joining Vistry Group and Taylor Wimpey in announcing its plans to resume operations.

Persimmon’s chief executive David Jenkinson said the firm had developed social distancing and safety measures for site work.

“The UK Government has been very clear on the importance of the construction sector to the UK economy and its desire to see activity continue through the current period of crisis, provided appropriate public health measures are adopted,” he said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has asked Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence who was stabbed to death in a racist attack 27 years ago, to lead a review into the impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The coronavirus appears to have affected those groups disproportionately.

Starmer said: “Doreen Lawrence has spent almost three decades campaigning against injustice.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Sir Keir Starmer has spoken about how coronavirus has affected ethnic minorities. (PA Images)

“I have seen first-hand her drive and determination, and was proud to stand beside her in fighting for justice for Stephen.

“Her achievements embody Labour’s values and our historic mission to create a fairer, more equal society.

“It is extremely concerning to see the disproportionate toll coronavirus is taking on our BAME communities.

“We cannot afford to treat this as an issue to investigate once the crisis is over. We must address it now.”

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