UK death toll rises to 44,517 after another 126 lose lives to outbreak

UK official figures include deaths in all settings (Picture: PA)

A further 126 people have died in the UK after being diagnosed with coronavirus, the Department for Health have announced.

Today’s figures bring the country’s total death toll up to 44,517, covering fatalities in all settings including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

A total of  286,979 people have been diagnosed with the disease in Britain since the start of the pandemic.

NHS England recorded another 42 hospital deaths today. Four more deaths were announced in Wales, compared to one in Scotland and none in Northern Ireland.

It comes after the Treasury performed a U-turn on plans to tax workers who are given coronavirus tests by their employers. However the exemption will not apply to antibody or antigen tests. Meanwhile a hospital in Boris Johnson’s west London constituency was forced to close its doors to emergency admissions after an outbreak of Covid-19 among its staff.

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Around 70 workers at Hillingdon Hospital are now self-isolating. Ambulances were diverted away from the hospital from last night, although ‘walk in’ casualty patients were still being seen today.

A member of the clinical staff wears personal protective equipment (PPE) as she cares for a patient at the Intensive Care unit at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, on May 5, 2020.

It comes as MPs have warned of a shortage of PPE if there is a second wave (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

As pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers opened over the weekend on what was nicknamed ‘Super Saturday’, some businesses have already had to close due to positive coronavirus tests.

In Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, a pub, a vape bar and an Indian takeaway were forced to close after an unknown man visited all three venues and later tested positive.

MPs from the cross-party Commons Public Accounts Committee have warned the UK may face a shortage of PPE if there is a second wave and claimed the Department for Health is not treating the matter with ‘sufficient urgency’.

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation has warned of ’emerging evidence’ that coronavirus could be spreading through particles in the air, in addition to droplets from the nose or mouth.

Speaking to ITV’s This Morning earlier today, England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries dismissed suggestions Covid-19 could be getting weaker, as made by an Italian doctor.

She said: ‘There is a possibility that that is happening but I don’t think we have enough clear evidence of that at the moment, and I’d just say two things – it is possible that that will happen but we should not be complacent, I think it’s far too early to say that.’

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