Matt Frei 10am - 1pm
Coronavirus: 55 further UK deaths in lowest daily rise since lockdown began
8 June 2020, 15:00
The UK has announced a further 55 coronavirus-related deaths in its lowest daily rise since lockdown began on 23 March.
It brings the UK's official total number of Covid-19 deaths to 40,597 and represents the lowest rise in roughly two-and-a-half months.
However, the real figure is likely to be more than 50,000 as many are believed to have died with coronavirus in the community without a positive test.
There have been a further 1,205 confirmed infections, taking the country's latest official tally to 287,399.
Meanwhile, there have been no further deaths of people with the virus in London, according to NHS England.
Across the UK, there have been more than 5.7 million coronavirus tests carried out or posted out, however the exact number of people to have been tested is still unavailable.
In Scotland, there have been no new coronavirus deaths in hospitals recorded for the second day in a row, Nicola Sturgeon announced.
The First Minister said the trend was “very encouraging” but cautioned that Covid-19 was “in retreat but not gone”.
“I can't tell you how long I have waited to be able to report such a development and I know all of you will have longed to hear that,” she told the daily briefing in Edinburgh.
But she added: "Even so, we must still exercise caution. We know from previous weeks that fewer deaths tend to be registered at weekends so it is still highly likely that more Covid deaths will be recorded in the days ahead.
"But I very much hope that we will continue to see a steady decline."
It came as the Scottish leader said she was “optimistic” that the country could move into the second phase of lockdown easing on 18 June, when the next review is scheduled.
The second phase could allow people to meet up with another household indoors, as long as social distancing is maintained, re-opening more shops and businesses and resuming professional sport.
Warning not everything in the phase may be enacted, Ms Sturgeon said she wants “to get the economy back to as much normality as possible", but not in a way that “allows the virus to run out of control”.
She added: "We are making significant progress against this virus, but it is at a very sensitive and critical juncture.
"We need a safe foundation to lift restrictions more meaningfully in the weeks to come."
The first minister said Scots "should still be staying home most of the time and meeting fewer people than you normally would".
She also confirmed that "shielding" of those most at risk from the virus would continue until the end of July, but hinted that the limit on exercising outdoors may change.
A total of 2,415 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus. 15,639 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 18 from 15,621 the day before. There are 1,042 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, an increase of 40. Of these patients, 24 were in intensive care, a fall of one.