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Matt Hancock declares coronavirus ‘in retreat across the land’ after lowest daily death total since pre-lockdown

Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke in the Commons about the new figures (Parliamentlive.TV)

2 min read

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has declared coronavirus is "in retreat across the land” after the lowest rise in the daily death total since before lockdown began.

Official figures from the Department of Health and Social Care said 40,597 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for Covid-19 as of 5pm on Sunday.

This is up by 55 from the day before, the smallest incremental rise since 22 March, the day before Boris Johnson introduced measures to keep people at home.

In amongst those new statistics it was revealed there were no deaths from the disease in Scotland for a second day in a row.

Speaking in the House of Commons about the data, Mr Hancock said: “They also show there were no deaths recorded in London hospitals - which is a real milestone for the capital, which of course in the early stages of this pandemic faced the biggest peak.”

But he said that he expects the figure to rise again later this week as the death total after the weekend is typically lower than other days due to a lag in reporting.

And the Cabinet minister added: “55 deaths is still 55 too many. 

“And hundreds of people are still fighting for their lives, and each death brings as much sadness as when the figure was much higher.”

He said the Government's plans to ease lockdown can proceed with "caution" and they will not allow a second peak of the virus.

"This means that the number of new infections is expected to continue to fall," the Health Secretary told MPs.

"So, there are encouraging trends on all of these critical measures, coronavirus is in retreat across the land, our plan is working and these downward trends mean we can proceed with our plans.

"But we do so putting caution and safety first. Even at the peak of this pandemic we protected the NHS and ensured that it was not overwhelmed, and we will not allow a second peak that overwhelms the NHS."

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon echoed Mr Hancock’s words by saying coronavirus was "in retreat" in Scotland with no new deaths from the disease for a second day in a row.

She said she is now "optimistic" of moving to the next phase of her plan to ease the country out of lockdown, but she also warned the virus could still "roar back with a vengeance" if the guidance is ignored.

Public Health Wales said a further three people have died in the principality after testing positive for coronavirus.

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