THE UK coronavirus death toll hit 44,131 today after 137 more fatalities were confirmed.
Another 544 infections were also logged – just over half of Boris Johnson's key target of 1,000 Covid cases per day.
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The figures mean 284,276 have now tested positive for the bug in the UK.
Today's rise in deaths is greater than it was yesterday, when 89 fatalities were logged.
It is, however, the lowest daily rise in deaths recorded on a Friday since lockdown began.
In England, 38 more deaths in hospitals were announced, bringing the total number of fatalities in English hospitals to 28,832.
Of those who died in England, patients were aged between 33 and 96 and all but two had underlying health conditions.
In Scotland, one fatality was recorded overnight, bringing the death toll there to 2,488.
A further two deaths from the bug were confirmed in Wales,bringing the grim tally in Wales to 1,525.
Northern Ireland's toll now sits at 554, after two more deaths were logged overnight.
It comes as…
- Quarantine-free air bridges to at least 50 countries to be revealed
- Almost 20,000 care home residents died during pandemic
- Pubs to open from 6am tomorrow
- Map reveals nine parts of England where cases have spiked
- Gyms to reopen in 'a couple of weeks,' says Boris
- PM urges Brits to 'be sensible' on Super Saturday
- Coronavirus R-rate goes up in England
Among the UK's tally are thousands of elderly people, with new figures today revealing 20,000 care home residents died in England and Wales during the pandemic.
The horror figures, which equate to one care home death every minute, show 1,300 care home residents died on April 12 – when the virus was at its peak.
R RATE RISES
Meanwhile, the killer bug continues to spread in England, with infections jumping significantly in nine parts of the country .
Data from Public Health England (PHE) reveals areas such as Redcar and Cleveland in North Yorkshire and Wokingham in Berkshire suffered the most severe spike in the last week – up to June 28.
The R-rate has also risen across parts of the UK, rising above one in London.
Last week, the virus' reproduction rate in England rate stood at 0.7 to 0.9. But new data, published today by the Government, shows that has risen slightly to 0.8 to 0.9.
It comes as experts claim a second wave of coronavirus combined with winter flu could “bring the NHS to a grinding halt”.
The predictions have caused the Royal College of Physicians to call for flu jabs for everyone over the age of 50.
The college also stressed that pressure on NHS staff may get worse before it gets better.
But the warnings will not stop the nation coming together for Super Saturday this weekend, with pubs, restaurants and hotels set to reopen in England.
Several covid-secure rules will be in place for those who choose to enjoy the measures – from no gossiping in some salons to bringing your own cutlery in many restaurants.
Brits will also be free to go on holiday soon, after ministers today revealed an air-bridge plan for last minute getaways.
Trippers from England will be able to fly to 59 countries and territories including France, Italy and Spain without needing to quarantine if they return from July 10.
The new freedoms do not apply to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
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