THE UK coronavirus death toll rose to 31,241 today after 626 more fatalities were recorded – including a six-week-old baby.
The baby, who was born in the North East of England with underlying health conditions, is believed to be the UK’s youngest victim of the deadly bug.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
The tot, whose gender was not revealed, is understood to have passed away on May 3.
A source said of the baby’s death: “It is absolutely tragic. They were sadly unwell when they were born and never left hospital.”
The tot was exactly six weeks old, meaning it was born on March 23, the day before lockdown.”
The devastated family have asked for no more information to be released as they grieve their loss.
Environment Secretary George Eustice revealed the number of lives lost in hospitals, care homes and the wider community during today’s daily coronavirus briefing.
He added that the number of cases in Britain is now at 211,364 after 4,649 more infections were confirmed in the last 24 hours.
Today’s jump in deaths is greater than it was yesterday, when 539 further deaths were announced.
It is smaller, however, than any rise recorded on a Friday for the last six weeks.
The number of people in hospital with the deadly bug have also fallen by 18% in the last week – sitting at 11,788 compared with 14,346 the week before.
Today, another 332 people died in hospitals across England, bringing the death toll there to 22,764.
Scotland’s deadly toll hit 1,811 today, after a further 49 deaths were confirmed.
In Wales, 28 more people died, bringing the overall tally there to 1,090.
It comes as…
Mr Eustice insisted that Brits should prepare for “no dramatic change” to lockdown measures on Sunday, when the Prime Minister is expected to unveil a roadmap for Britain’s future.
The minister, who was joined by NHS England Director Stephen Powis, said: “Any evolution of the current restrictions will be done with the utmost of caution.
“There isn’t going to be dramatic change in the short term.
“We will be cautiously making some changes where we think those can be considered and the PM will be setting out a timetable for other changes as well.”
He also urged Brits to resist the “temptation” of breaching restrictions during the sunny Bank Holiday, adding: “It is absolutely essential people abide by the current restrictions stay at home and don’t succumb to the temptation to go out and about.”
RATE OF TRANSMISSION
The Government has stressed that the R rate of transmission must stay below one in order to lift lockdown measures in the future.
When asked how the R rate varies by region, Professor Stephen Powis said: “I can’t give you the data by region, I think what has been said of the R is it is somewhere between 0.5 and 0.9.
“Undoubtedly it will vary from place to place, and it will vary over time from place to place.
“The important thing is that as a whole that it stays below one.”
It comes as scientists warn as many as 20,000 Brits are contracting coronavirus every day due to a spike in care home infections.
Experts admit the bug is now being passed on to more people overall than it was a fortnight ago – sending the “R value” up.
‘NOT BEATEN YET’
It follows a warning from Dominic Raab last night, who said: “The virus is not beaten yet. It remains deadly and infectious”.
But he said after making decisions at the right time, the UK was now able to start thinking about the next phase in the pandemic.
He added that the PM will address the nation on Sunday and is expected to relax some small measures – but the lockdown will carry on in most forms after being formally extended for three more weeks yesterday.
Today, Sajid Javid called for different lockdown rules based on people’s ages to kickstart the economy.
The former Chancellor urged the Government to relax restrictions on younger people to get the nation working again.
The Prime Minister will meet with his cabinet on Sunday before revealing his “road map” for Britain in a televised address that evening.
He hopes to bring in small changes such as relaxing limits on exercise and picnics before looking at analysis to see what impact it has.
This was echoed this morning by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who warned the public any changes would be “tentative” and could even be reversed.
Speaking on the Today Programme, he said: “Let’s wait and see what the PM says, we have discussed this at cabinet and he will set out a roadmap.
“It’s right to say where do we go next and he will set out the different stages.
“At each stage we’ll take a supremely cautious approach and it will only be if the public health allows us to do so that we will take that step of unlocking.
“If we see a variation from that for example the R rate starts to rise in an uncontrollable fashion then we won’t hesitate to step back again.”
VE DAY SPIRIT
Today, millions of Brits skipped traditional Victory Day celebrations as they marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day from home.
Defiant families celebrated the end of the Second World War from their doorsteps, taking part in a two minute silence to remember our fallen heroes.
And Boris Johnson called for the nation to channel its VE Day spirit in the battle of coronavirus.
He said: “People of every age, race and background came together in one supreme effort and they paid a grievous price with over 450,000 British people laying down their lives.
“We are now engaged in a new struggle against the coronavirus which demands the same spirit of national endeavour.
“And that means we can’t hold the parades and street celebrations we enjoyed in the past.”
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don’t miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.
Get Britain’s best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.