Britain today announced 10 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 45,762.
Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which is often much higher because it takes into account lab-confirmed fatalities in all settings.
The early count — which only includes a fraction of the Covid-19 deaths in England — is calculated by adding up updates declared by each of the home nations.
NHS England today posted 10 deaths in hospitals across the country. No fatalities were recorded in any setting in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Just 14 deaths were recorded across Britain yesterday — but tallies declared on Sundays and Mondays are always lower because of a recording delay at weekends.
In other developments of the Covid-19 crisis today;
The travel industry was braced for a wave of cancellations by worried holidaymakers after the Government reimposed quarantine restrictions on Spain at just five hours notice; Just one person has been fined by police for breaching quarantine rules after arriving from abroad, figures from forces in England and Wales revealed;A senior ally of Angela Merkel has said a second wave of coronavirus has already hit Germany and that they are seeing new clusters of infections every day;The coronavirus pandemic is ‘easily the most severe’ emergency that the WHO has ever declared, the agency said as global cases surged past 16million;A leading Chinese disease-control expert confirmed that officials in the city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began in December, did cover up the scale of the initial outbreak and destroyed physical evidence;A cat became the first animal in the UK to be diagnosed with Covid-19 — but officials believe the unidentified pet caught the coronavirus from its owners and ‘not the other way round’. COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS ‘THE MOST SEVERE’ EMERGENCY WHO HAS EVER DECLARED
The coronavirus pandemic is ‘easily the most severe’ emergency that the WHO has ever declared, the agency said today as global cases surged past 16million.
The global tally has risen by a million in just four days, led by massive outbreaks in the United States, India and Brazil which are each piling up tens of thousands of new cases per day.
South Africa is also seeing more than 10,000 new cases a day while places such as Spain, Belgium and Hong Kong are facing second waves of the disease.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases had doubled in just six weeks as he warned today that ‘the pandemic continues to accelerate’.
However, while cases have been surging at record levels, global deaths have remained stagnant at around 30,000 to 40,000 per week.
Department of Health figures released yesterday showed 140,000 tests were carried out or posted the day before. The number includes antibody tests for frontline NHS and care workers.
But bosses again refused to say how many people were tested, meaning the exact number of Brits who have been swabbed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been a mystery for a month — since May 22.
Health chiefs also reported 747 more cases of Covid-19. Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 299,426 cases.
But the actual size of the outbreak, which began to spiral out of control in March, is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.
It means the rolling average of daily cases dropped to 663 — 7 per cent higher than the 621 average cases figure recorded last Sunday.
The daily death data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
The data does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland as well as Northern Ireland are always out of sync.
And the count announced by NHS England every afternoon — which only takes into account deaths in hospitals — does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.
More than 1,000 infected Brits died each day during the darkest days of the crisis in mid-April but the number of victims had been dropping by around 20 to 30 per cent week-on-week since the start of May.
Sixty-four Britons are dying with Covid-19 each day, on average. By contrast, the rate last Sunday was 69 and has barely changed in the past seven days.
With the end of the Covid-19 break on the horizon, thousands of Britons booked holidays abroad this summer.
But they may already be scrapping plans in the wake of a spike in cases in Spain and new rules on quarantining, the travel industry fears.
A wave of cancellations by worried holidaymakers is expected after the Government reimposed quarantine restrictions on Spain at just five hours notice.
Ministers announced at the weekend that everyone returning from Spain to the UK will now have to self-isolate at home for two weeks because cases are rising there.
Although the Government has stood by its decision to strike Spain off the UK’s list of safe destinations, the timing of the shift has sparked widespread fury amid fears it will be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for some tourism firms.
The Spain decision is believed to have spooked many people who had booked trips in France, Italy and Greece with operators already reporting ‘lots of cancellations’.
There are growing fears that a rise in coronavirus cases in some European countries could see quarantine reimposed on a number of destinations at short notice.
Travel firms said reimposing quarantine on Spanish travellers had ‘put fear into people’ as they warned the ‘rug has been pulled from under our feet’. An estimated 600,000 British holiday makers have been caught up in the Spanish quarantine chaos, wither because they are in the country or had booked a holiday.
Other experts said the Government had effectively pushed the ‘nuclear button’, putting at risk the entire foreign summer holiday season.
The Foreign Office is now advising against ‘all non-essential travel to mainland Spain’ but the Canary and Balearic islands are currently exempt from the ban.
However, the ‘blanket’ quarantine rules apply to the whole of Spain, including those islands, prompting suggestions that the current guidance is confused.
It comes as data today revealed only one person has been fined by police for breaching foreign arrival quarantine rules.
The ticket for breaching quarantine rules, which was issued by Lincolnshire Police, was one of only eight corona-related fixed penalty notices handed out in England in the two weeks to July 20, with none in Wales.
It does not include fines issued by UK Border Force, which had issued three penalties by July 10, when quarantine rules for people returning to or visiting the UK from a list of countries were relaxed.
A further six fines were handed to people who failed to wear face coverings on public transport, making a total of 32 under the regulations introduced on June 15.
In other news, Germany may also be facing the start of a second wave, it has been reported today. A senior ally of Angela Merkel has said they are seeing new clusters of infections every day.
Politician Michael Kretschmer, premier of the eastern German state of Saxony, gave the warning this weekend as daily infections rose to 800 on Friday and Saturday.
The country’s R rate, which measures the number of infections caused by an individual, also rose above 1 to 1.08 on Saturday, up from 0.93 on Thursday.
Kretschmer – a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats – told the Rheinische Post newspaper: ‘The second wave of coronavirus is already here.’
Meanwhile, in the UK, the first pet cat has been diagnosed with Covid-19 after showing respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath.
Officials in believe the cat — which wasn’t identified — caught the coronavirus from its owners and ‘not the other way round’.
Both the cat and its owners have made a full recovery and there was no transmission of the virus to other animals or people in the household, health bosses said.
Experts have warned people to avoid cuddling their pets if they have the virus. They also advise keeping cats indoors so there is zero risk they can spread germs around outside.
It is not the first time an animal has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in humans. However, there is currently no evidence humans can catch the virus from pets.
The first dog in the world to catch coronavirus died after it was declared disease-free and returned home to its owner in Hong Kong. The 17-year-old Pomeranian, whose owner caught Covid-19, had been quarantined at a government facility but returned home over the weekend.