Another 409 people have died of coronavirus in UK hospitals, raising the overall death toll to at least 31,024.
The toll was updated after England recorded another 332 deaths in hospitals, Wales another 28 and Scotland another 49. Northern Ireland has not published its figures yet.
The government is due to announce its official death toll later today, which will include deaths in care homes and the wider community. Yesterday, that number stood at 30,615.
The latest hospital figures emerged after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed black people are significantly more likely to die from coronavirus than white people and a study from Oxford University found men were twice more likely to die than women.
There are now calls for the government to consider these risk factors in phase two of the coronavirus response, when lockdown will gradually be eased.
A five-point plan to get the nation back to normal over a period of six months is expected to be laid out on Sunday. Mr Johnson will be addressing the nation at 7pm, with some small changes expected to be brought in as early as Monday.
With the UK’s death toll now the highest in Europe, critics fear this is too soon and risks a second deadly wave of infections. Downing Street has insisted any restrictions will be lifted ‘with maximum caution’ to avoid worsening the crisis.
Boris Johnson today said Britain needs the ‘same spirit’ as World War II heroes to defeat coronavirus. Writing to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the prime minister said those who served in the armed forces during the Second World War are ‘quite simply the greatest generation of Britons who ever lived’.
The annual celebration ‘may give the impression that Hitler’s downfall was inevitable’, but those on the front line knew the true story, the Tory leader said.
Covid-19 restrictions prohibit Britons from celebrating the annual event with traditional street parties and services. However, Mr Johnson assured veterans their ‘invincible courage’ would ‘always be remembered’, as he offered his ‘heartfelt thanks’.
He wrote: ‘On this anniversary, we are engaged in a new struggle against the coronavirus which demands the same spirit of national endeavour that you exemplified 75 years ago.
‘We cannot pay our tribute with the parades and street celebrations we enjoyed in the past; your loved ones may be unable to visit in person.
‘But please allow us, your proud compatriots, to be the first to offer our gratitude, our heartfelt thanks and our solemn pledge: you will always be remembered.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.