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UK second country to cross 40,000 COVID-19 deaths

Another 357 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Thursday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 40,261, the British Department of Health and Social Care said on Friday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. As of Friday morning, 283,311 people have tested positive for the disease in Britain, a daily increase of 1,650, said the department, Xinhua reported.
Charing Friday’s Downing Street press briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the number of people on ventilators in hospital has dropped to 571, from a peak of more than 3,000 on April 12.

These are “encouraging trends”, he said.

Hancock also announced that all hospital visitors and out-patients will have to wear face coverings from 15 June.

All hospital staff, whether working in a clinical setting or not, will have to wear a type one or two surgical mask, he added.

Earlier in the day, British government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance told reporters in a virtual briefing that the R-number — the average number of people that will contract coronavirus from an infected person — for England was between 0.7 and one, while it remained between 0.7 and 0.9 for Britain as a whole.