UK coronavirus death toll rises by 315 to 28,446

More than 28,000 people have died in the UK after contracting Covid-19. Credit: PA

A further 315 people have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus.

As of 5pm on Saturday, a total of 28,446 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for Covid-19, according to the Department of Health.

The number of deaths on Sunday were considerably down from the previous day, when 621 more were confirmed.

The figure means the UK is closing the number of deaths linked to coronavirus in Italy, which stands at 28,884, the highest in Europe.

In England, the number of people who have died with the respiratory disease has risen by 327 to 21,180.

These figures are calculated over a different time period, resulting in in the higher number than the total.

In Northern Ireland, five more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 381.

A further 14 people have died in Wales, taking the total number of deaths there to 983, Public Health Wales said.

Scotland deaths rose by 12 to 1,571, the health minister said.

It was also confirmed that there had been a significant drop in testing carried out on Saturday, with just 76,496 carried out, well below the 100,000 daily target.

England has seen the highest number of people dying with coronavirus. Credit: PA

The number of people in hospital being treated for coronavirus is also dropping, with London now said to be past the peak.

Asked when the peak of the virus was, Professor Steve Powis said: “I think that’s a question that can’t really be precisely answered.”

He explained: “There’s been a series of peaks – there’s been peaks in deaths, peaks in hospital admissions and peaks have occurred at different times around the country because different regions of the country have been in different stages.”

However he added: “I think broadly we saw that plateauing of a variety of measures around the middle of April.”

He also said that Government advisers now believe the R-rate to be “around 0.7”.

Professor Steve Powis.

During the Government's daily briefing, Chris in London asked what lessons have been learned for future waves of the virus and how the government will ensure there are enough PPE and ventilators in the future.

NHS England’s national medical director Professor Powis said: “What I learned is that the NHS and the great staff of the NHS, when given that challenge, can very, very rapidly put in place the extra capacity that is required.

“And they have done that magnificently, and at no point during the surge of cases in April was the NHS in a position where it was not able to give the treatment to patients with Covid-19 that they needed.

“That is a great testament to how well the NHS has been able to cope.

“And I think then the lesson going forward is one, that we can do that, but two, we need to keep that capacity in place.

“But we need to keep it in place at the same time as standing up all the other services that the NHS is providing.

“They’re the ones we’ve always provided, the emergency services, but some of the services that we’ve had to stand down during April, so elective surgery for instance.

“So my lesson is that the NHS is incredibly flexible. It can respond to this challenge, and it will respond to the challenge going forward into the months ahead.”