UK sees lowest daily Covid-19 death toll since lockdown began with 160 more victims

18 May 2020, 17:31

A woman pictured on the Tube in a protective face mask
A woman pictured on the Tube in a protective face mask. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

The daily UK-wide coronavirus death toll has dropped to its lowest level since the day after lockdown began.

The latest official figures show that 160 deaths were recorded in hospitals, care homes and the wider community in the 24 hours to 5pm on Sunday.

It brings the total death toll among those who have tested positive for Covid-19 to 34,796.

A further 2,684 cases were confirmed while daily tests dropped to 67,409, data from the Department of Health and Social Care shows.

The 122 fatalities in England over the past 24 hours were aged between 50 and 85 and had no underlying health conditions, NHS England said.

Two more people had died in Scotland, four in Wales and six lost their lives to the virus in Northern Ireland.

The UK-wide figure is the lowest since March 24, which saw 149 deaths.

The latest deaths come days after the critical R value - the rate at which one person with the virus spreads it to others - rose over the last week to near the dangerous 1.

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Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said of the latest deaths: “The overall long-term trend… is showing a consistent and solid decline as the days and weeks roll by.”

Earlier the Health Secretary announced everyone aged above five with symptoms can now get tested for the virus.

Speaking in the Commons after loss of taste or smell was added to the symptoms list, alongside a fever or continuous cough, Matt Hancock said the Government was “expanding eligibility for testing further than ever before".

Testing across the UK was previously limited to key workers, hospital workers and car home residents, with England and Scotland also offering tests to over-65s and those who need to leave the house to work.