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UK sees lowest daily coronavirus deaths since lockdown began

PUBLISHED: 18:23 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 06:23 19 May 2020

Coronavirus blood test in hospital laboratory. NHS. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Coronavirus blood test in hospital laboratory. NHS. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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The UK’s latest daily coronavirus death toll was the lowest since lockdown began, with 160 deaths recorded.

The Department of Health said 34,796 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Sunday, May 17, up by 160 from 34,636 in the last 24 hours.

In Norfolk two more patients who tested positive for coronavirus were confirmed to have died; a woman in her 80s at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and a man in his 70s at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during the coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street on May 18. Picture: PA Video/PA WireForeign Secretary Dominic Raab during the coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street on May 18. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

MORE: Two new coronavirus related deaths confirmed in Norfolk hospitals

The latest national figures follow 170 deaths that were confirmed the previous day.

The daily figures can vary due to hospital reporting delays, and the numbers reported on Sundays and Mondays tend to be lower than other days, however the figures continue a downward trend.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing on Monday, said the number of people in hospital was also down 13pc from last week.

He said the government has adopted a balanced approach, influenced by the overriding need to avoid a second peak.

Deputy Chief Medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam during the coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street on May 18. Picture: PA Video/PA WireDeputy Chief Medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam during the coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street on May 18. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

However England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the country had to prepare in case Covid-19 came back in the autumn and winter.

Only once there was a vaccine that is “really capable of suppressing disease levels” will the country be “out of this”, he said.

“So from that perspective we may have to live, and learn to live, with this virus in the long-term, certainly for many months to come if not several years,” he added.

He said more information was needed on the seasonality of Covid-19.

MORE: See inside Norfolk’s new centre for people recovering from coronavirus

“One of the things that’s very clear with flu viruses is that they come in our cold winters and the levels of transmission and circulation decline over the summer months.

“The data we have on other coronaviruses we have looked at very carefully, and it’s not clear that these coronaviruses are as seasonal as influenza.”

The latest figures also show that in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Monday, 100,678 tests were carried out or dispatched, with a total of 67,409 people tested and 2,684 positive results.

Overall a total of 2,682,716 tests have been carried out, and 246,406 cases have been confirmed positive.

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