THE UK’s coronavirus death toll hit 41,698 today after 36 more people died across the country.
It brings the total number of people who have lost their lives to the virus in the country closer to 42,000 – but it’s the lowest rise since before the lockdown began in late March.
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In total, 295,889 people have now tested positive for the virus.
Today’s recorded death toll is a 53 per cent drop on last Sunday’s 77.
It’s raised hopes that this month there will be a day with zero fatalities – for the first time since March 4.
The toll was 115 the previous Sunday, May 31.
Officials from NHS England said this afternoon that patients were aged between 50 and 101.
Two of the casualties, who were 77 and 96, had no known underlying health conditions.
Three more people have died in Wales with the virus, while one person lost their life in Scotland.
In Northern Ireland, no new deaths were reported today, the Department of Health confirmed.
Meanwhile in the Republic of Ireland, one more person has died, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 1,706.
It’s the lowest number of deaths reported in one day in the UK since March 22, the day before lockdown began, when 35 deaths were recorded.
The news comes as the Government prepares to launch a fresh push to get children back to school.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that not all primary pupils will return before the six-week holiday, although officials are considering the possibility of summer camps for little ones.
It’s now understood ministers will allow children other than Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 for lessons when announcing updated guidelines soon.
A No10 source says Boris Johnson is “acutely aware” of the impact the extended closure was having on pupils and is working with Mr Williamson on a major “catch-up” plan.
Meanwhile, secondary schools are due to open to some students in Years 10 and 12 tomorrow.
School heads will only be allowed to accept some of the country’s four million primary pupils back if there is capacity.
Class sizes will still be kept at a maximum of 15 and protective measures such as hand-cleaning and staggered drop-off times will be in place.
The Prime Minister has come under pressure to cut the two-metre social distancing rules to help get pupils back into class and businesses including pubs and restaurants open again.
Although he faces opposition from Government scientists, who are reportedly refusing to budge on the issue, The Sun exclusively reported today that Mr Johnson will ease the rule from July.
He’s previously said punters will be able to prop the bar up once again from July 4, although landlords have called for that date to be made official so they can begin to prepare their boozers for customers.
But when pubs do reopen, singing and shouting could be banned indoors to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Loud music may also have to be turned off so customers don’t have to talk loudly to each other, which risks greater levels of transmission.
And from this weekend, lonely Brits are allowed to meet up with others from different households as part of ‘support bubbles’.
The PM this week revealed that single people living alone – or with children under 18 – can form a support bubble with another family or household.
Mr Johnson said: “There are too many people, particularly those who live by themselves who are lonely and struggling with being unable to see friends and family.”