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UK coronavirus death toll rises by 282 to 36,675

Grant Shapps has defended the PM’s advisor (Image: 10 Downing Street)

 

Britain today announced 282 more coronavirus deaths, including a 12-year-old with an undisclosed underlying health condition – taking the UK’s total fatalities to 36,675.

Today’s death jump – which takes into account all settings – is the lowest recorded on a Saturday since March 21 (56), three days before the UK went into lockdown.

The 12-year-old victim passed away in a hospital in England and becomes the fourth child under the age of 15 to succumb to the virus in the UK. Britain’s youngest victim was a six-week-old baby who died earlier this month.

Just 157 deaths in the last 24 hours were in hospitals, with the rest of the fatalities registered in the wider community and care homes – where the virus is still running rampant.

The figures were announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at tonight’s Downing Street press conference, where he also revealed 2,959 more Britons had tested positive for the disease.

More than 257,000 people have now been officially diagnosed with COVID-19, but the true size of the outbreak is estimated to have seen around 5million infected. Most patients have been missed because of the Government’s controversial decision to ditch widespread swabbing early in the crisis.

Despite today’s low jump in death, Government scientists have warned the reproductive ‘R’ rate is still teetering on the brink of spiraling back out of control.

The R represents the number of other people an infected patient will pass the sickness on to and it must stay at 1 or below or Britain will face another crisis.

This is the second week in a row the R rate has officially been announced as between 0.7 and 1, meaning every 10 patients infect between seven and 10 others.

However, the way the R is calculated means it is out of date, and the latest calculation is based on data from around three weeks ago – before the lockdown loosened.