The nation’s coronavirus death toll has risen by 315, the government has confirmed – bringing the total number of recorded fatalities in the country to 28,446.
The figures come after a drive to increase testing in the country to more than 100,000 per day – a target the government achieved despite criticism that as-yet uncompleted postal tests were included in the total number.
However the number of tests conducted fell over the latest 24 hour period observed by the government – falling to 76,496. Overall, a total of 1,206,405 coronavirus tests have been carried out in the UK since the beginning of April.
It also comes after the government announced it would include deaths outside of hospitals – in particular those recorded in care homes and in the community – in total death figures, leaving the UK with one of the highest fatality rates of any nation worldwide.
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Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference Mr Gove said: “Thanks to the hard work of so many across the NHS, Public Health England, our pharmaceutical sector and our universities, we have tested over 200,000 key workers and their families, allowing those who don’t have the virus to go back to work and protecting those who do.
“We have now of course extended the criteria for testing beyond key workers to anyone over 65 displaying symptoms, and anyone who has to travel to get to work.
“And this week, we will be piloting new test, track and trace procedures on the Isle of Wight with a view to having them in place more widely later this month.
“All of these steps will help us to get more people back to work and help to support the delivery of our public services.
Mr Gove – the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – went on to pay tribute to Muslims celebrating Ramadan during lockdown – adding: “For those experiencing the first Ramadan without a loved one, this will be a particularly painful time.”
“As with Christians who could not celebrate Easter together in church, and the Jewish community whose Passover rituals were affected by social distancing, our thoughts are with Muslim neighbours who cannot break their fast together and must adapt their religious and cultural practices because of the crisis.”
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