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UK coronavirus death toll rises by 21 bringing total to 44,819

A further 21 people who died of Covid-19 in the UK have been added to the tally, bringing the total to 44,819.

The new death toll, released today by the Department of Health and Social Care, covers fatalities in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

A further 148 deaths were added to the running total on Saturday.

The figure is more than double the 67 people whose deaths from Covid-19 were recorded last Saturday and more than triple the 48 people who were added to the tally on Friday.

Typically the daily increase is lower on Sundays and Mondays, due to a lag in reporting over the weekend.

Last Sunday 22 deaths were added to the tally, with 16 coming the day after.

The week before that 45 and 15 were recorded on Sunday and Monday respectively.

What may be more of a concern than the large number of deaths recorded yesterday – compared to last Saturday – is the number of cases.

Today there were 650 positive cases recorded and yesterday there were 820.

Last Saturday 624 were recorded and 516 came the day after, with around 500 or 600 added to the tally for each of the subsequent six days.

The rise in daily recorded cases may be linked to a significant rise in infection rates across the UK following the easing of lockdown restrictions, although such a trend has not yet been irrefutably established.

Earlier today it was reported that there are 20 areas in England which are believed to be most at risk of a fresh coronavirus outbreak.

The 20 council regions were flagged as “areas of interest” in the Public Health England memo – with three, Sheffield, Bradford and Kirklees, needing “enhanced support”.

Six of the 20 regions – Bedford, Barnsley, Rotherham, Oldham, Rochdale and Blackburn with Darwen – were noted as areas of “concern”.

Topping the list was Leicester, prompting fears that other areas on the list could be next to plunge into local lockdown if the virus starts running out of control.

A full-scale local lockdown was imposed on Leicester from June 30, with schools and non-essential shops forced to close, pubs and restaurants barred from reopening, and non-essential travel in and out of the city barred.