UK Covid deaths have grown by 610 but cases have dropped by 22 per cent in a week, with 30,004 new infections in the past 24 hours.
The drop in cases continues a downward trend since the latest lockdown was introduced, but deaths have risen 11 per cent in the last week.
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The number of deaths reported is usually lower on a Sunday.
This time last week there were 38,598 new cases and 671 extra deaths.
Yesterday, Covid deaths topped 1,000 for the fifth day in a row.
Infections increased by 33,552, while there was 1,348 new deaths.
It comes as:
- Boris Johnson must begin getting kids back into classrooms next month, the powerful Commons education boss warned
- Matt Hancock has warned we still have a "long, long way to go" before lockdown ends
- Extended lockdown powers to keep pubs, restaurants, shops and public spaces closed until the summer have been granted to councils
- Jonathan Van-Tam has urged Brits who have received the Covid-19 vaccine not to break lockdown rules as they could still spread the virus
The Health Secretary this morning said the NHS remains under "enormous" pressure as cases continue to soar and fears mount over newly-emerging mutant Covid strains.
Mr Hancock told Sophy Ridge on Sunday cases are nowhere near low enough to see an end to the Draconian lockdown measures.
Speaking to Stephen Dixon – who is filling in for veteran political presenter Sophy Ridge after she tested positive for the virus – the health sec said: "There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down.
"But we're a long, long, long way from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high."
He added: "You can see the pressure on the NHS, you can see it every day.
"The NHS are doing an amazing job in incredibly difficult circumstances and so we, I am confident in the measures that we've got in place now.
"What really matters is that everybody follows them and the reason for that is not just the death toll each day which is far too high but also because the pressure on the NHS – including from people who thankfully come out of hospital alive – the pressure on the NHS is enormous and that has knock-on consequences for people who suffer from all other illnesses.
"So it is very, very important that we continue to follow the rules, that's at the core of it even whilst we do everything we can to support the NHS through this."
Top scientists and Government Ministers are reportedly keen to make this our last lockdown and will not risk easing restrictions if lifitng them too early could see us plunged into a fourth shutdown, The Times reports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was "too early" to say whether coronavirus restrictions are to be lifted before spring or even summer.
The PM refused to be drawn on when Brits might see their freedoms returned when the national lockdown is eased.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 came in last July and was due to expire last week.
This law allows a local authority to close or limit access to premises or outdoor spaces in its area to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including stopping events.
But earlier this month it was extended by Mr Hancock until July 17 as part of a review of the third lockdown, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
Mark Harper, who chairs Coronavirus Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said the “extension will be of great concern to those worried about their jobs and businesses”.
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