UK coronavirus hospital death toll rises by five as pandemic continues to worsen

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The UK's hospital death toll today climbed by five as new infections continue to spike across the country.

Scotland recorded a four-month high in new cases over 24 hours as officials grapple with a second wave of the coronavirus.

All five patient deaths occurred at hospitals in England, with Wales and Scotland reporting no new fatalities. Northern Ireland will report its figures later.

A total of 244 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland in the past 24 hours – the highest daily figure since May 6. The number of cases in Wales rose by 162.

Hospital admissions and hospital deaths have remained low despite the sudden uptick in coronavirus cases.

Yesterday there were eight deaths of patients in the UK's hospitals.

It comes amid warnings that the UK needs to act fast to stop coronavirus cases growing out of control, with a delay of even a few days potentially "dangerous", according to an academic who advises the Government.

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine, Imperial College London, said a "trickle" of cases can turn into a "cascade", adding that if people do not abide by the "rule of six" now then the country faces going back into "hard lockdown".

His comments come as concerns grow over an increase in Covid-19 cases in care homes, prompting the Government to send an alert to care providers to highlight the rising rates and to call for action.

The letter, which was sent on Friday, urges care bosses to "take the necessary action to prevent and limit outbreaks", pointing out that in the last three days there had been an increase in notifications of coronavirus cases in care homes.

The Government's new rule of six can seem "somewhat irrational" at times, but the alternative could be a wider lockdown, a top scientist has said.

From Monday, it will be illegal for people in England to meet in groups of more than six, inside or outside.

Fines can be issued to anyone found flouting the rules, starting at £100, but which could climb to £3,200.

Professor Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and an adviser to the Government on respiratory viruses said the rule "does seem somewhat irrational in some of the detail and I can appreciate that".

He added: "I'm afraid it's going to cause pain and suffering for us all to go back to some degree of lockdown but I'm afraid if we don't do this now we're going to be right back in hard lockdown.

Questioned further on what he meant by "irrational", Prof Openshaw explained to Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "I think people have been complaining widely about the fact that you can carry on doing things like exercising in groups and doing sports and getting together for special events, but yet you can't have both a grandmother and a grandfather come to visit your home if you're a family-of-five.

"It is inevitably going to create those difficulties which are hard to explain."

  • Coronavirus

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