Coronavirus UK: Death toll hits 35,704 after 363 more die

Another 363 people have died of coronavirus, bringing the UK’s death toll to 35,704.

A total of 248,293  people have tested positive for the virus in the UK. The fatality figure includes people who have died after testing positive in hospitals, as well as in care homes and the wider community.

Earlier, NHS England recorded 166 more deaths in hospitals – but this does not take into account other settings like care homes.

Across all settings, Scotland announced 50 more deaths, while Wales had 14. Northern Ireland will release its figures later today.

The Department of Health and Social Care began including fatalities outside of hospitals in their official daily count recently, amid concerns that there was a significant hidden death toll in care homes across the country.

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The latest figures emerged after Boris Johnson announced the deaths of 181 NHS workers and 131 social care workers have ‘sadly been reported involving Covid-19’.

That is an increase of 37 NHS staff who have lost their lives to coronavirus in the past week.

Mr Johnson was grilled by MPs this afternoon during Prime Minister’s Questions on care home deaths and how ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that government claims that they threw ‘a protective ring around our care homes’ were ‘flatly contradicted by the chief executive of Care England’.

He said that government advice up to April 15 was that negative tests were not required before patients were discharged form hospitals to care homes.

‘What’s protective about that?’ Sir Keir asked.

The PM claimed ‘no one was discharged into a care home without express authorisation of a clinician’.

It comes as the government has unveiled a new lockdown slogan after ‘stay alert’ was criticised as too ambiguous, having dropped the key ‘stay at home’ message.

The British public are now being advised to ‘Keep our distance, wash our hands, think of others and play our part. All together’.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the new instructions help explain the ‘general direction’ behind the ‘stay alert’ slogan.

‘Of course the different elements to staying alert, which include washing hands, keeping our distance, builds up to that general approach which is that we all must be very much aware not only of each other but what we can do in order to minimise the inadvertent transmission of this terrible disease.’

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