The number of coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales is at its lowest level since late March, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

There were 12,288 registered deaths in the week ending May 22 - 2,348 more than the five-year average.

During this week, 2,589 death certificates in England and Wales mentioned coronavirus, down almost one-third (32%) on the week before.

However, the figure is well down on the height of the pandemic.

In the week ending May 22, some 32.5% of care home deaths in England and Wales involved coronavirus. Credit: PA

In the week ending May 22, there were 1,289 excess deaths in care homes compared with the five-year average, but 24 fewer deaths in hospitals.

The proportion of deaths in care homes involving coronavirus fell to below a third in the week ending May 22.

Some 32.5% of all deaths in care homes involved Covid-19 during the seven days, compared with 37.2% the week before.

Out of all deaths involving Covid-19 in this period, 64% (28,159 deaths) occurred in hospital, 29% (12,739 deaths) took place in care homes, with 5% (1,991) in private homes, 1% (582) in hospices, 0.4% (197) in other communal establishments, and 0.4% (169) elsewhere.

Deaths involving coronavirus in care homes continues to decline in line with those in hospitals and in the wider community. Credit: PA graphics

While the number of coronavirus-related deaths is decreasing from the peak in mid-April, across the UK as a whole, there have been almost 62,000 deaths above what would normally be expected in the UK during the outbreak.

There were 56,308 excess deaths in England and Wales between March 21 and May 22, compared with the average number of deaths for that period over five years, the ONS said.

It follows figures last week showing the equivalent numbers for Scotland and Northern Ireland, which, when added together, take the total number of excess deaths in the UK across this period to 61,795.

In England and Wales, Covid-19 was responsible for 77% of these excess deaths.

All figures are based on death registrations.

However, not all of these deaths will have been directly caused by coronavirus, fear of catching the respiratory disease is thought to have stopped people from seeking medical help.

All deaths registered in England and Wales compared to the five-year average. Credit: PA graphics

Tuesday’s ONS release takes number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK to just under 50,000.

Death registrations in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland show 48,896 deaths in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

A further 819 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 23 and 31, according to figures published on Monday by NHS England, indicating the overall death toll for the UK is now just over 49,700.

The UK death toll is the highest in Europe and second highest in the world, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

Detailed analysis on non-Covid-19 deaths will be published by the ONS on Friday.