UK's official coronavirus death toll rises by 17% with inclusion of care home and community deaths

The UK's official coronavirus-related death toll has risen by thousands after the government began counting all fatalities and not just those which occur in hospitals.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab revealed the death toll was now at 26,097, an increase of 4,419 from figures published on Tuesday, 765 of which were recorded in hospitals in the past 24 hours.

The additional 3,811 deaths took place in other settings in the community, such as in care homes, however they do not represent a exponential rise in deaths since Tuesday and have happened in the last few weeks.

Mr Raab said there had not been a "sudden surge" in the number of deaths deaths since Tuesday, pointing out that the deaths outside hospitals took place in the period between March 2 and April 28.

Public Health England said the total number of deaths was around 17% higher than previous data showed.

The first secretary was speaking at the press conference alongside deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam and Public Health England Director of Health Protection Yvonne Doyle.

Earlier, when standing in for the prime minister at PMQs, Mr Raab was told by Labour leader Keir Starmer that the UK was "on track to have one of the worst" coronavirus death rates in Europe.

According to his own calculations, the Labour leader said the UK's total death toll was likely to be more than 27,000 - a figure he described as "truly dreadful".

And at the press conference Prof Doyle said the official figure for deaths in care homes may be revised up further.

She told the press conference: “We may expect more than we are seeing at the moment, yes.”

Addressing the newly-published cumulative daily deaths, she said there was “about a 20% divergence” between the deaths in hospitals and the new total figure, which factored in casualties in care homes and in the community.

Mr Raab told the press conference 52,429 tests took place on Tuesday – just two days before the date the Government set for reaching 100,000 a day.

It brings the total number of tests to 818,539 across the UK.

Earlier, Mr Raab – standing in for Boris Johnson in Parliament following the birth of the Prime Minister’s son – said there was a “joint horror” across the House at the number of people killed in the outbreak.

They included 85 NHS workers and 23 social care workers – a total of 108.

At the press conference Mr Raab also gave an update following the birth of the prime minister's son.

He said he'd spoken to the PM earlier and that both Ms Symonds and their newborn son were “doing really well”.

Dominic Raab is standing in for Boris Johnson. Credit: 10 Downing Street

The press conference follows an announcement from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson that schools across England will reopen in a "phased manner".

He said the Government did not have a fixed date for reopening schools but ruled out the prospect of them opening over the summer holidays.

He told MPs: "I do expect schools to be opened in a phased manner. I also intend to be giving schools as much notice as possible."

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know