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UK COVID-19 deaths reach 28,446 as another 315 patients die


London: Another 315 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain, bringing the total novel coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 28,446, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove said.

The figures include deaths in hospitals, care homes and the wider community, reported Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

There were 76,496 coronavirus tests carried out in the 24 hours to 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) Sunday morning, said Gove, as more than 200,000 key workers and their families had been tested for coronavirus.

At Sunday’s Downing Street briefing, Gove said in the coming days Prime Minister Boris Johnson will talk more about the government’s plan on the next step when the lockdown in Britain is eased.

He said that the comprehensive plan will explain “how we can get our economy moving, how we can get our children back to school, how we can travel to work more safely, and how we can make life in the workplace safer.”

The government plans a “staged” return with ministers working with employers and unions to help workers understand safety guidance and public servants will be offered protective equipment varying “from setting to setting”.

He also unveiled that the government has pledged an additional 1.6 billion pounds (US $2 billion) to councils across England to support their “essential frontline services” including adult social care.

Co-charing the conference, National Medical Director of NHS (National Health Service) England Stephen Powis told reporters that the peak of hospital admissions has now passed, particularly in London.

It’s “evident” the rate of coronavirus transmission in the community is decreasing despite the increase in testing which would show up more cases, said Powis.

As to the effects of the lockdown, Powis said as a doctor, he understood the measures can have detrimental effects.

“We are very aware of the effects that lockdown can have, socially, emotionally and on health. Deaths due to the virus have to be balanced off over time against the harm that is done around lockdown. It’s not easy. Those are two things that are not easy to reconcile,” he said.

Asked about the role of the contact tracing app in the government’s policy of suppressing the virus, Powis noted that it’s unlikely it’ll be the single intervention that will ensure that the virus is always under control.

“It will need to sit aside other measures that we have become used to, such as self-isolating if you have symptoms of the virus,” he told reporters.

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