UK reports one coronavirus-related death and 3,383 new cases

31 May 2021, 18:08 | Updated: 31 May 2021, 18:44

People packed Brighton's seafront yesterday enjoying new freedoms in the sunshine after lockdown measures were eased
People packed Brighton's seafront yesterday enjoying new freedoms in the sunshine after lockdown measures were eased. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

One further person has died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday, according to the latest Government figures, bringing the UK total to 127,782.

Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have now been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Monday, there had been a further 3,383 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.

The latest figures come amid warnings from scientists that the UK could be entering the early stages of a third Covid wave.

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Ministers have two weeks to make a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the planned lifting of lockdown on June 21 with an announcement expected to be made on June 14.

A leading scientific adviser to the Government earlier urged caution over the approach to the June 21 easing of Covid-19 restrictions, saying authorities ought to have a clear picture of the pandemic before such moves are made.

Professor Adam Finn, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said while the country's vaccination programme "will ultimately give us ... protection" against the Indian coronavirus variant, key markers in the community should be taken into account before the next phase of reopening.

"What we've done wrong in the past is left it too late and delayed making decisions, ultimately pushed them back and then ended up with large waves of infection."

Michael Kill, the Chief Executive of the Nighttime Industries Association, said his members have been suffering under lockdown, and have done all they can to be covid secure.

He urged the government to press ahead with the June 21 lifting, saying: "We've got to start treating this like an endemic and got to move things forward."

British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "The Government must hold off making a final decision on whether lockdown is fully lifted on June 21 until latest data can be scientifically considered - the Prime Minister had pledged he would be guided by 'data not dates', and it's vital that he now honours this commitment.

"We are at a pivotal moment in battling against the virus in the UK, and with the June 21 date signifying an end to all legal restrictions and allowing normal social mixing of people.

"Yet since the road map was announced, we have seen the emergence of a highly-transmissible new variant and significant escalation of cases - and in the last week a reversal of a downward trend into seeing increases in hospital admissions and deaths. At the same time, we know the second vaccine doses are critical to controlling the spread of the new variant.

"A premature ending of all legal restrictions which then resulted in a surge of infections would undermine our health service's efforts to tackle the biggest level of backlog of care it has ever faced. It would also add further demands on staff who are exhausted, both mentally and physically."