UK's official coronavirus death toll rises by 173 to 42,461

19 June 2020, 15:54

The new deaths come as the UK's coronavirus threat level was reduced from four to three
The new deaths come as the UK's coronavirus threat level was reduced from four to three. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The UK's coronavirus death toll has risen by 173, taking the country's official total to 42,461.

There have also been a further 1,346 people test positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections in Britain to almost 301,815.

The Department of Health and Social Care said there were 169,600 tests available today, but the number of people actually being tested is still not being recorded.

However, the government's official figures do not include all deaths involving coronavirus across the UK, which is believed to have passed 52,000.

Britain's total number of tests to have been carried out or posted out now stands close to 7.5 million (7,433,114).

The figure for the number of people tested has been “temporarily paused to ensure consistent reporting” across all methods of testing.

It comes as the UK's coronavirus threat level was reduced from four to three.

A government spokesman warned however "the virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur. You must continue to wash your hands and keep 2m distance."

The decrease indicates the epidemic is in general circulation but transmission is no longer "high or rising exponentially."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The UK moving to a lower alert level is a big moment for the country, and a real testament to the British people’s determination to beat this virus.

“The government’s plan is working. Infection rates are rapidly falling, we have protected the NHS and, thanks to the hard work of millions in our health and social care services, we are getting the country back on her feet."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also told people to "watch this space" when asked whether social distancing restrictions could be cut to help schools to return in September.

There has been discussion that the two-metre rule could be reduced to one in a bid to get children back into classrooms.

Speaking to broadcasters during a Hertfordshire school visit on Friday, Mr Johnson said it was "absolutely" his aspiration that pupils of all ages will be back in the classroom for a full five days a week in September.

The PM said: "Of course, on the social distancing measures, as I've said, 'watch this space'.

"We will be putting in further changes as the science allows.

"I think that's what the public also wants to see, they want to see us working with the reality."

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