Britain Reveals Hundreds More Coronavirus Deaths

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Britain today recorded another 468 coronavirus deaths on the first Saturday since the draconian lockdown was eased, taking the UK’s official fatality toll to 34,466.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson revealed the figures, which include fatalities in all settings, at tonight’s Downing Street press briefing, where he defended the Government’s controversial decision to reopen schools in England next month.

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Ministers have faced fierce backlash from teaching unions and anxious parents who fear the outbreak will spiral out of control again if staff are not given sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and schools are not able to enforce social distancing.

Mr Williamson said it was crucial that pupils returned to education so that the poorest children in society do not fall further behind, adding: ‘They will be the ones who will miss out on the opportunities.’

The Government does not provide a breakdown of how many deaths occurred in different settings, such as hospitals or care homes, but at least 181 of today’s fatalities definitely occurred in hospitals because NHS England reveals new deaths recorded by trusts every afternoon.  

Scotland (41), Wales (18) and Northern Ireland (four) do add care home deaths to their daily updates – but the nations do not provide a clear breakdown of how many fatalities occurred in each setting.

It comes amid reports Public Health England could be axed after widespread criticism of its testing strategy, which has lagged behind the majority of countries in Europe.

More than 240,500 people have been officially diagnosed with the viral disease but the true scale of Britain’s outbreak is considerably larger because of a controversial decision to abandon a widespread swabbing regime early on in the crisis.

Government officials suggesting up to 6.6million are likely to have caught it in England alone. Prime Minister Boris Johnson informed a meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives that he was planning a review of ‘a number of institutions’ once coronavirus is beaten back.