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UK covid-19 official death toll passes 30,000 – world’s second highest

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Prime minister Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, London on 6 May.

Latest coronavirus news as of 5 pm on 6 May

UK coronavirus official death toll passes 30,000 – the second highest in the world

The UK now has the highest recorded death toll from covid-19 in Europe and the second highest in the world, according to the latest data. Total deaths in the UK have reached 30,076, compared to 29,684 in Italy, previously the highest in Europe. The number of deaths in care homes in the UK continue to rise, and today prime minister Boris Johnson said he “bitterly regrets” the situation there. He said a “huge effort” had been made to provide more personal protective equipment and he set a new target of 200,000 daily coronavirus tests by the end of May.

Other coronavirus developments

US president Donald Trump said the country’s coronavirus task force will keep working “indefinitely.” Yesterday he suggested that the group, led by vice president Mike Pence, would be phased out over the next few weeks. A statistical model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimated deaths in the US could double to 134,000 by 4 August if states continue to relax social distancing measures.

German chancellor Angela Merkel announced further easing of coronavirus restrictions today. Larger shops will now be allowed to reopen as long as they comply with strict hygiene rules, and people from two different households can now meet. Germany is now at a point “where we can say that we have reached the goal of slowing down the spread of the virus,” said Merkel.

Airbnb has seen a spike in bookings as people in Europe start planning holidays. If the outbreak remains under control, people in Germany may be able to take holidays abroad soon, according to the country’s federal tourism commissioner Thomas Bareiss. Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte recently said Italians would be able to go on holiday this summer.

High school students have been allowed back to school in Wuhan, China for the first time since schools closed there in January. More than 57,000 students were allowed to sit university entrance exams but had to abide by social distancing rules, wear face masks and arrive at staggered times. Junior and middle school students have not yet returned. No new deaths from coronavirus have been reported in China since 27 April.

Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist advising the government whose research influenced changes to the UK’s coronavirus policy, has resigned from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) committee after he broke social distancing rules.

Unemployment among under-25s in the UK could reach 1 million this year, up 640,000 people on last year, according to a report from the Resolution Foundation think tank.

Heathrow airport is to start checking the temperature of passengers in immigration and other areas of the airport, and is urging the UK government to come up with a list of common standards for airports to deal with coronavirus. The airport’s CEO John Holland-Kaye said, “If you want to get the UK economy started again, you have to get the aviation sector started again.” Heathrow said it expected passenger numbers in April to fall as much as 97 per cent compared to the same month last year.

More than two-thirds of people surveyed across 20 countries in Africa, including Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa, say they would run out of food and water if they had to stay at home for 14 days, research by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed.

The Australian government has admitted that their Covidsafe contact tracing app may not be recording all the data required on some iPhones. 

Coronavirus numbers

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The worldwide death toll has passed 258,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 3.6 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

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Essential information about coronavirus

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What does evidence say about schools reopening?

How and when will the coronavirus lockdowns end?

What to read, watch and listen to about coronavirus

What coronavirus looks like in every country on earth is a 28 minute film from Channel 4 News showing what daily life looks like in every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Coronavirus explained on Netflix is a short documentary series examining the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to fight it and ways to manage its mental health toll.

The science of a pandemic: As the death toll from covid-19 rises, discover how researchers around the world are racing to understand the virus and prevent future outbreaks in our free online panel discussion.

A day in the life of coronavirus Britain is an uplifting Channel 4 documentary shot over 24 hours which shows how the citizens of Britain are coping under lockdown.

New Scientist Weekly features updates and analysis on the latest developments in the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees expert journalists from the magazine discuss the biggest science stories to hit the headlines each week – from technology and space, to health and the environment.

The Rules of Contagion is about the new science of contagion and the surprising ways it shapes our lives and behaviour. The author, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and in the book he examines how things spread and why they stop.

Coronavirus trajectory tracker explained, a video by John Burn-Murdoch for the Financial Times, uses data-visualisation to explain the daily graphs that show how coronavirus cases and deaths are growing around the world.

Contagion: The BBC Four Pandemic is a sober documentary about the progression of a hypothetical pandemic which the BBC simulated in 2017. Fronted by science journalist and TV presenter Hannah Fry, and made with the support of some of the country’s best epidemiologists and mathematical modelers, it’s very relevant to today’s covid-19 pandemic.

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