Covid-19 deaths pass 40,000 in the UK

UK was insufficiently prepared for pandemic secret document reveals

All figures are based on death registrations.

Figures show the daily deaths are consistently trending downwards - by comparison, there were 627 new fatalities last Tuesday and 693 on the same day the week before.

Speaking in today's Downing Street briefing, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government is now urging people to help work on farms, saying that "only a third" of the usual fruit and vegetable-picking staff who usually come from overseas have come this year.

"It was the best thing to do with the tests that we had".

There have been 246,406 cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom since the pandemic began, of which 2,684 new cases were reported today.

NHS England releases updated figures each day showing the dates of every coronavirus-related death in hospitals in England, often including previously uncounted deaths that took place several days or even weeks ago.

It follows an Office for National Statistics report which today found at least 44,000 people have now been killed by COVID-19 in the UK.

Earlier today, Boris Johnson's spokesperson confirmed that 5,889 care homes in England have reported a suspected coronavirus outbreak as of yesterday.

However, some statisticians believe that the actual death toll is significantly higher than is reported, and could be more than 41,500. The DH count only includes patients who have tested positive for the virus.

However, researchers warned that the figure was "still 3,000 above the five-year average" as they estimated that a more realistic total death toll in care homes was around 15,000.

The number of coronavirus cases in the community is remaining relatively stable with one in 400 people in England infected, the government's surveillance programme shows.

The ONS says there were 39,071 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales up to May 8 and registered up to May 16.

Four people died in Wales, and six people have died in Northern Ireland.

Hospital deaths have now tapered off so much that the numbers of people dying in hospitals is lower than average for this time of year, for the first time since the lockdown was introduced.

"Most of them in care home settings, but a significant chunk have happened in hospital".

This shows that the coronavirus outbreak is now mostly persisting mainly in care homes.

The ONS figures show a sharp fall in coronavirus deaths in the week up to May 8, reinforcing ministers' claims that the country is past the peak.

In England's care homes, which have been scrutinised heavily due to their residents' vulnerability to the coronavirus, 9,495 deaths linked to COVID-19 took place while 480 occurred in Wales's care homes, the ONS said.

It was last week predicted to be higher than 12,500 already.

A total of 62 % of care homes in England had no reported cases of COVID-19 at all, he added.

"Staff looking after these residents have effectively been abandoned too". We are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need.

The overall death toll in Northern Ireland has now risen to 489, the Department of Health said.

The office of national statistics has confirmed the figures, however, the number of deaths have fallen for the third week running with the hope that the worst of the pandemic is over as the nation looks forward to 'normality'.

These accounted for 31.1 per cent of all deaths during those seven days.

The latest weekly figures represent a drop of 2,105 (34.8%) from the previous week, when 6,035 deaths were registered.

The ONS said it is continuing to investigate the number of non-Covid-19-related deaths and will publish detailed analysis.

Covid-19 was responsible for 37,187 (75%) of these excess deaths.

Those dying with COVID-19 in hospitals continued to decrease, with 50.5% of all people dying with the virus doing so in hospital in the week ending 8 May.

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