The UK’s coronavirus death toll has passed 28,000 after another 621 died.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick gave an update on the figures at the daily briefing today, saying the total number of lives lost is now 28,131.
Earlier it was revealed another 465 more people died in UK hospitals. The updated total includes deaths in care homes and the wider community, which the department of health began including in the daily figures amid concern that care homes represented a significant hidden death toll.
With the UK’s total now the third highest in the world, the government is not looking to ease lockdown restrictions any time soon. But Mr Jenrick said that was not the case for victims of domestic violence as he announced new measures to protect them today. The government is to give domestic abuse victims priority need status for social housing, as many across the country remain stuck in violent situations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Jenrick said: ‘For some in our society these [lockdown] measures involve sacrifices that none of us would wish anyone to bear for victims of domestic abuse it means being trapped in a nightmare.
‘The true evil of domestic abuse is that it leaves vulnerable people, including children, living in fear in the very place where they should feel most safe and secure – inside their own home.
‘Though domestic violence can leave physical marks, the true extent of the inflicted pain is much deeper than those marks. It can be invisible. These are emotional scars and scars that for some will never heal and which can even pass to the next generation – whose young eyes see things that they never should and hear things that none of us would wish our children to witness.’
Mr Jenrick said people who were in danger did not have to stay at home.
He announced a package of over £76 million in new funding to support the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic.
He said: ‘This funding will help charities, support survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. It will support vulnerable children and their families and it will support victims of modern slavery. This additional support will ensure more safe spaces and accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse and their children, and the recruitment of additional counsellors for victims of sexual violence, and this funding will also help frontline charities to be able to offer different ways of supporting those in need including virtual or phone based services.
‘We know that some refuges have had to reduce or even to cancel the services that they would want to provide during the pandemic. This funding will help them to meet the challenges posed in this national emergency, and to continue to help those that desperately need support.’
Aside from vulnerable people who are not safe at home, he urged members of the public to stick to current restrictions. It comes as the UK is set to enter it’s seventh week of lockdown.
The rate of transmission – the ‘R’ rate, is now coming down and the UK is said to be past the peak of the outbreak. But there is huge concern lifting measures would shoot the infection rate right back up.
England’s Chief medical officer Chris Whitty has said a second outbreak could be more deadly than the first.
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