Weekly coronavirus deaths have fallen by more than a quarter within seven days and remain at the lowest level since before the lockdown, official statistics show.
England and Wales are experiencing fewer deaths than would normally be expected for the sixth week in a row, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
There were 217 deaths registered in the week ending July 24 involving Covid-19 – accounting for 2.4% of all deaths.
This is a 26.4% fall from the previous week, when there were 295 deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate.
The last time deaths involving coronavirus were so low was in the week ending March 20, before lockdown measures were introduced, when there were 103 deaths.
Overall deaths continue to stay below the number usually expected at this time of year, based on an average from the previous five years.
There were 8,891 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending July 24 – 161 deaths fewer than the five-year average.
While deaths remain below the average, there were 68 more deaths registered compared with the previous week.
The number of deaths in care homes and hospitals was also below the five-year average, but the number of deaths in private homes remains above it, with 727 more deaths during the week.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “It remains concerning that while the number of deaths in care homes, hospitals and other communal establishments remains below the five-year average, the number of deaths in private homes remains higher than the five-year average.
“The number of deaths in the home setting is almost 40% higher than the total number registered with Covid-19 in any setting over the last six weeks.”
The number of deaths involving Covid-19 decreased across all English regions, except for Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands.
The South East had the largest number of weekly deaths involving Covid-19 (40), while the East Midlands had the highest proportion of deaths involving coronavirus (4.4%).
All regions, except for the North East, East Midlands and West Midlands, had fewer overall deaths than the five-year average.
In Wales, there was one death below the five-year average registered in the week ending July 24.
More than 56,600 deaths involving Covid-19 have now been registered in the UK.
Tuesday’s ONS figures show that 51,596 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to July 24, and had been registered by August 1.
Equivalent figures for Scotland registered up to July 26 and Northern Ireland up to July 29 take the total to 56,651.
These are deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.