Another 149 people in the UK have lost their lives after testing positive for coronavirus.
Today’s announcement from the Department for Health and Social care beings the national death toll to 43,230. Figures from the Government include fatalities in all settings including care homes and the wider community.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic a total of 307,980 people have tested positive for the virus. As of 9am today 8,710,292 tests have been carried out, 167,023 of which were carried out yesterday.
As the rate of infections and deaths continues to fall, Boris Johnson has announced the biggest easing of lockdown rules in England since the outbreak began. Pubs, restaurants, cinemas, museums and hairdressers have been given the all-clear to re-open provided they can prove they are ‘Covid-secure’ and follow strict guidelines.
To facilitate this, the Government is also reducing the two-metre social distancing rule to ‘one-metre plus’ – meaning certain ‘mitigations’ like masks and visors should be taken. New laws reportedly set to be published today will allow businesses make the most of outdoor spaces, where the risk of transmission is much lower.
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Strict new guidance has been issued meaning live performances, shouting and big groups will be banned from pubs to lower the risk of spreading Covid-19. But concerns have been raised after figures showed Britain’s new test and trace system failed to reach 30% of people who tested positive for coronavirus, meaning they weren’t asked for details of who they had been in contact with and could have passed the disease on to.
Thousands of people were employed for the new scheme, earning £17 to £27 per hour, but some have said they are being paid to ‘watch Netflix’ as there is ‘hardly any work to do’.
Some have claimed they get as little as one call a day, most of which go straight to voicemail. And even when they do go through, one contact tracer, known as Roger, told LBC callers sometimes get hostile when told to self-isolate.
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘The new NHS Test and Trace service is up and running and is helping save lives.
‘Anyone in this country can now book a test and the majority who book a test get the results back within a day.
‘We have over 27,000 contact tracers in place, who have all been trained and are fully supported in their work by public health experts.
‘The public has taken their civic duty during the pandemic extremely seriously, and we need everyone to continue playing their part.’
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