THE UK coronavirus death toll has risen to 43,730 after 155 fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours.
Another 689 Covid-19 infections have also been confirmed – the fourth day in a row the figure has remained below the government’s target of 1,000.
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It brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in the UK to 133,467.
It comes as…
NHS England today confirmed that 37 more people have died in hospitals across England, bringing the overall death toll in England to 28,709.
Patients were aged between 48 and 94-years-old and all but one (aged 80) had underlying health conditions.
In Scotland, three more deaths were confirmed, following four consecutive days without any fatalities.
It brings the overall death toll in Scotland to 2,485.
Another three deaths were recorded in Wales, bringing the overall tally there to 1,510.
No new deaths were recorded in Northern Ireland, where the death toll stands at 551.
Giving a glimmer of hope to the nation today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that no excess deaths had been recorded in England and Wales for the first time since the pandemic began.
The ONS said the number of deaths registered during the week ending June 19 was in fact 0.7 per cent below the five-year average (65 deaths fewer).
This is the first time weekly deaths have been below the five-year average since March – and half of NHS trusts in England reported no coronavirus deaths in the last week.
But the government has vowed to clamp down on localised spikes, with Leicester facing the country’s first local lockdown.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday that the city would be the only place in England not allowed to ease restrictions.
The city’s pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will instead remain closed for two more weeks — until July 18 — at least.
Non-essential shops will have to shut again from today in a local lockdown, and schools will close for most pupils from Thursday – taking it back to the more severe restrictions of May.
An the Health Secretary revealed this morning that new laws were coming into force to put Leicester under lockdown,threatening “further action” if other areas suffer similar spikes in coronavirus cases.
‘NO LONGER PRISONERS’
It comes as Boris Johnson declared today we must “no longer be prisoners” of coronavirus.
In a stirring speech today in Dudley, the PM declared: “Where many in this country are nervous rightly about more outbreaks whether national or local, we cannot continue simply to be prisoners of this crisis.
“We are preparing now, slowly and cautiously, to come out of hibernation.
“I believe it is absolutely vital for us to sort out the road ahead.”
But the PM warned the virus has not gone away, warning it is still circling like a shark in the water.
The PM’s comments were echoed by new holiday freedoms for Brits, with the Government confirming it would ditch the 14-day quarantine rules for everyone coming into the country.
In a written statement Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government will “shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border” which will allow passengers to be “exempted from self isolation requirements”.
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The Government will outline later this week which countries will be on the safe list, meaning people won’t have to stay home for 14 days when they arrive in the UK.
The air bridges – also known as travel corridors – will be set up with other countries with lower levels of infection.
The rules will apply to anyone coming in via plane, rail or boat.