CORONAVIRUS fatalities in the UK have risen by 123 to 45,667 as outbreaks in care homes are at their highest levels in a month.
The latest data from Public Health England shows Covid-like illnesses in care homes have gone up in the country.
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In the week from July 13 to 19, there were 145 outbreaks of “acute respiratory infection” in care homes around England – up from 128 the week before.
An outbreak is defined as one or more people having the same symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing.
Care homes haven’t seen such a high number since the week of June 15 to 21 when there were 176 outbreaks.
The spike in outbreaks raises fears that the decision to reopen care homes in England has come too soon.
Outbreaks in care homes are concerning because the elderly are one of the groups most at risk of dying – and thousands of residents have died from Covid-19 in the past four months.
Today’s coronavirus death tally went up by 123 and is higher than it was yesterday when 53 people died from the bug.
Zero new deaths were recorded in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and they include all settings such as care homes, hospices and the wider community.
In English hospitals, the total number of Covid-19 deaths rose to 29,247 today – up 16 from yesterday.
NHS England confirmed the patients were aged between 58 and 104 years old and all had known underlying health conditions.
The Department of Health has not confirmed today’s new death figures reported by PHE as Matt Hancock has called for an urgent review into how health chiefs calculate those killed by the bug.
The number of new infection reported by the Department of Health is 770 – up from from yesterday’s 769.
A total of 297,914 people have now tested positive for Covid-19.
Today’s death tally is lower than last Friday’s number of 114.
There were no new deaths recorded in Scotland for the past eight days as their death toll stays at 2,491.
In Wales, no further deaths were recorded – leaving the deadly toll at 1,548.
Zero deaths were recorded in Northern Ireland today – keeping their total death at 556.
Today’s figure’s come as new face mask rules have come into force today.
From today, people in England will have to wear face masks in shops, supermarkets stations, banks and post offices – and anyone refusing to do so can be fined up to £100.
But some companies say they won’t be acting to enforce that law, which also requires people to cover their faces in all transport hubs, shopping centres and petrol stations.
And police today said the new rule is ‘impossible’ to implement.
Adding to the confusion, customers who sit down to eat, as well as those in pubs, can go without a mask – but anyone buying a takeaway must cover up.
This week, figures published by the ONS revealed that three times as many people are now being killed by the flu and pneumonia than Covid-19.
For the week ending on July 10, ONS data shows that 917 flu and pneumonia deaths were registered.
In comparison, 366 coronavirus deaths were registered for the same week.