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Coronavirus death toll hits 45,999 after another 38 die

The figures were confirmed hours after officials claimed they would no longer be releasing them

Another 38 people have died after being diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK, the Department of Health have said, as the UK announced its highest number of daily cases since June 29.

Today’s figures bring the country’s official death toll to 45,999, covering fatalities in all settings including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. The total number of lab confirmed cases now stands at 302,301, with 846 people diagnosed in the past 24 hours – compared to 763 the day before – amid fears that a second wave could be on the way.

The daily death toll was announced later than usual – and just hours after officials had suggested that the use of such data was being scrapped.

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Meanwhile separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 56,400 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

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Earlier NHS England declared another 12 hospital deaths, bringing its to 29,331. The Scottish Government announced no new fatalities, leaving its toll at 2,491.

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Public Health Wales confirmed another two deaths, bringing its toll to 1,556. No fatalities were reported in Northern Ireland, leaving its total at 556.

It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned of a second wave of Covid-19 ‘rolling across Europe’ and said he would not hesitate to reintroduce emergency measures to protect the country.

He said it was ‘not just Spain’ that is a concern, despite the Mediterranean country being the centre of a row after being taken off the UK’s list of safe holiday destinations – requiring travellers to quarantine for 14 days when they come home.

Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London on 30 July 2020. The British government has continued to support it stance on a 14-day quarantine for travellers returning to Britain from Spain.
It comes after Matt Hancock warned of a second wave ‘rolling across Europe’ (Picture: EPA)

Today England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam announced the length of time people with coronavirus symptoms will have to self-isolate has increased from seven days to 10.

He told reporters the change was being made due to the ‘low but real possibility of infectiousness’ between seven and 10 days after the onset of the illness.

A statement from the Department of Health said in the light of widespread testing and the possibility of relaxing other emergency measures, this move struck the ‘correct balance.

Concerns are growing over a new NHS map revealing rapidly rising infection rates in Blackburn, Oldham, Leicester, Trafford and Bradford.

The ‘R’ rate – measuring the speed of infection – is now thought to be above one in the South East and South West, according to Cambridge University data.

Health officials in the West Midlands borough of Sandwell warned of a ‘full lockdown’ in a matter of weeks unless the situation improves.

The area now suffers the seventh highest number of weekly infections in the UK, with 30.9 cases per 100,000 people – almost 10 times last month’s rate.

After a number of outbreaks in towns with high populations of people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, Asian community groups say they feel scapegoated.

STONE, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Serco staff working on behalf of NHS Test and Trace operate a coronavirus testing centre on July 30, 2020 in Stone, England. The Staffordshire market town of Stone has seen a spike in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases after social distancing guidelines were not adhered to at the nearby Crown and Anchor pub. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Serco staff working for NHS Test and Trace operate a testing centre in Stone, Staffordshire (Picture: Getty Images)

As Muslims prepare to celebrate the festival of Eid this Friday. There are concerns the festival will be blamed for further outbreaks.

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Saima Afzal, a community inclusion activist and Blackburn councillor, said the disease spreads irrespective of race or religion in any high-contact location, whether it be care homes, cruise ships, football crowds – or Asian households.

She said: ‘People are hearing, “Muslim, coronavirus, Niqab, death.” You are going to start feeling a little bit of angst by it. People need to just be a bit more empathetic, step back from making this a race issue or a religious issue.

‘No-one is suggesting for the data not to be put out there. Now we are finding a knock-on effect from that, which is not good for anyone.

‘We have got to be honest about the data, but we have to also manage the impact. I’m worried just as much about the negative impact on cohesion.’

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