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UK coronavirus death toll rises by 121 up to 36,914

Britain today announced 121 more coronavirus deaths across all settings, taking the official death toll to 36,914 as sun-worshippers descended on parks and beaches today.

It marks the lowest Monday death toll since lockdown was enforced on March 23 (74 deaths). For comparison, 160 fatalities were announced last Monday and 118 were recorded yesterday.

But death numbers released on Sundays and Mondays are usually smaller due to a delay in processing fatalities over the weekend.

Department of Health chiefs also announced 1,625 more Covid-19 cases, the first time the UK has recorded fewer than 2,000 positive tests in a day in almost nine weeks.

NHS England recorded 59 Covid-19 fatalities across hospitals. While Scotland declared three deaths in all settings, Wales seven and Northern Ireland  eight.

The figures published today by NHS England show April 8 continues to have the highest number for the most hospital deaths on a single day, with a current total of 891.

Of the 59 new deaths recorded in England’s hospitals, 47 occurred over the weekend. Five took place on Friday, while the remaining seven victims succumbed to the disease between May 16 and 21.

It comes as Dominic Cummings will this afternoon make a public statement to directly address claims he broke lockdown rules by travelling to Durham, Downing Street confirmed.

Mr Cummings is expected to take questions about his conduct which has plunged the government into a state of crisis and has prompted calls for a formal investigation.

The intervention came after one of the government’s scientific advisers warned the ‘debacle’ over the lockdown journey had ‘fatally undermined’ the nation’s fight against coronavirus.

Professor Stephen Reicher, who is a member of the Government’s advisory group on behavioural science which feeds into SAGE, said the result of ‘undermining adherence to the rules’ will be that ‘more people are going to die’.

Mr Johnson is facing a furious backlash from ministers, Tory MPs and even bishops after he yesterday attempted to mount an extraordinary defence of Mr Cummings, staking his reputation on trying to protect his aide.

At a dramatic Downing Street press conference last night, the PM claimed Mr Cummings had acted ‘responsibly, legally and with integrity’ while making a controversial 260-mile trip from London to Durham during lockdown.

Mr Johnson insisted Mr Cummings had ‘followed the instincts of every father’ by driving to his parents’ farm after his wife developed symptoms of coronavirus. The PM’s defence of his aide prompted fury among Britons.

Sun-worshippers descended on parks and beaches today for the Bank Holiday amid an expected 79F heatwave, which could see parts of the country basked in temperatures hotter than Athens, Nice and Barcelona.

Crowds formed outside the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park, as beaches in Sussex, Essex and Dorset quickly filled up with visitors looking to enjoy the dry and sunny conditions forecast to last the whole day.