The UK coronavirus death toll has increased by 48, the latest official figures released today show.
This brings the death toll across all settings including hospitals, care homes and the community to 44,650, the Department of Health said today.
It is also the lowest Friday increase since lockdown began.
This follows yesterday’s figure of 85, which was the lowest Thursday rise since lockdown began.
There were also a further 512 coronavirus infections recorded in the UK in the last 24 hours.
This brings the total number of cases across the UK to date to 288,133.
And it marks another day in which the daily death toll has been below triple figures.
On Monday it was 16, the second lowest daily toll since lockdown began, Sunday 22 and on Saturday it was 67.
Last Friday saw 137 reported deaths and the Friday before that was 186, suggesting a steady pattern of decline in deaths and new cases.
By contrast, Friday , April 10, saw 980 deaths recorded.
England’s death toll is now over 40,000 – at 40,066.
Scotland’s is 2,490, Wales’ is 1,540 and Northern Ireland is at 554.
Earlier today, the UK’s coronavirus death toll in hospital settings only increased by 22 in 24 hours, with all fatalities occurring in England.
No new fatalities were reported in hospitals by public health officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as Britain’s hospital toll climbed to 33,597.
It is the lowest increase in hospital deaths on a Friday during the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown and the lowest Friday overall since nine deaths were announced on March 13, almost two weeks before the shutdown began.
On recent Fridays, the death toll increased by 43 on July 3, 70 on June 26, 57 on June 19 and 84 on June 12. The biggest increase on a Friday was 953 on April 10, when the UK was in the peak of its outbreak.
The UK’s true death toll is believed to be more than 10,000 higher than reported by the Government, at least 55,398 as of Monday, based on death certificates mentioning Covid-19 as a cause.
And Government scientists say nationwide lockdown measures could be reintroduced at the end of summer.
New infection rate data from the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggests the outbreak in England may no longer be shrinking.
The R reproduction estimate in England has seen an uptick to between 0.8 and 1, up from between 0.8-0.9 the previous week.
The upper end of that estimate at 1 would mean on average every person who catches the virus is passing it on to someone else.
A separate measure of “growth rate” suggests the outbreak is shrinking less, but is still coming down slowly.
Some of this is thought to be down to the warm weather and the fact that people can spend more time outdoors where the virus cannot easily spread.
SAGE now believes the virus spreads at an “optimal temperature” of 4C and is braced for a fresh winter crisis.
A source said: “If the number overall increases then I would expect to have to impose some national measures.
“The aim is always to reduce close contacts.”
The growth rate estimate of new infections per day for England is now from -4% to -1%. This changed from between -5% to -2%.