Further 358 hospital deaths linked to coronavirus as UK toll slows

The number of people who have died in hospitals in the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after contracting coronavirus has risen by 358.

NHS England announced 327 further deaths in the authority's daily update, taking the total number of hospital deaths linked to the condition to 21,180.

A further five were confirmed in Northern Ireland, taking its total to 381.

Wales saw 14 new deaths, taking the total to 983.

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A further 12 deaths were announced in Scotland, where the total is now 1,571.

This means the total UK hospital death toll is 24,115.

A full update, including care home and other deaths, will be announced later today and will see the total approach 30,000.

The new figures are the latest up to 5pm on May 2 and refer to deaths that were registered within the preceding 24 hours, rather than the number of people who died over that timeframe.

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They come after a senior Government minister said Britain will not return to "business as usual" this month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to set out the "road map" for how the UK will come out of the coronavirus lockdown over the coming days.

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today warned that some form of social restrictions are likely to be in place throughout May.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I don’t think we should expect us to go from this situation that we have at the moment of social distancing back to where we were in February – that’s clearly not going to happen and I don’t think anyone imagines that for one moment.

“The most important thing is that the absolute focus of what the Prime Minister will be announcing later in the week is that what we do do going forward doesn’t undo the brilliant work people have been doing to get that R number below 1 – the all-critical reproduction rate doesn’t come back up because that’s when we’d see a second spike.

“So no I’m afraid it is definitely not going to be business as usual but we do want to make sure that people understand where the routemap lies.”

It has previously been suggested that our lives could be radically different when lockdown ends according to plans said to be being considered by the Government.

People travelling to work could be asked to check their temperature before leaving the house under the proposals reportedly under consideration.

Honour our NHS heroes – from the surgeons to the porters, the nurses to the catering staff, the physios to the midwives, and the paramedics to the GPs – by helping to create a map of gratitude from every corner of Britain.

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The official advice – to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives – remains in place.

Merseyside Police re-inforced that message this weekend as the force thanked the public for complying with social distancing regulations despite a return to good weather on Saturday.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins, said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has stayed at home across Merseyside, or only visited parks and open spaces for their daily exercise, and supported each other in trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"There were a few days in the last couple of weeks when there was a greater number of people who were coming visit parks and opens spaces and not adhering to the Government restrictions.

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"But I'm pleased to say that members of the public seem to have listened to the pleas of ourselves, the local authorities and other local organisations to stay home and save lives, and protect our dedicated NHS workers.

"I would urge people to continue to heed the message – the more you stay at home, the less people will become infected with the virus, and the quicker we can return to normality and start to live our lives again."

Any loosening of restrictions is likely to be made in gradual stages – as we are beginning to see in other European countries.