The daily number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has dropped to 170, the lowest since the day after the foreclosure began.
The announcement comes a week after the first easing of restrictions in England – and although the numbers are generally lower on Sunday, the figure is almost 100 less than the 268 reported a week ago.
But the overall death toll remains the highest in Europe and now stands at 34,636.
Meanwhile, in Spain, the number of deaths per day fell below 100 for the first time since the start of its lockdown.
The numbers of UK deaths reported on Sunday and Monday are generally lower than the other five days of the week, due to fluctuations in the speed with which deaths are reported by hospitals and care homes.
Sunday’s figure is the lowest since March 24, when 149 deaths were reported. The night before, Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the lock.
Spain, which implemented a strict lockdown on March 14, announced Sunday 87 new deaths. At its peak on April 2, there were 961 deaths over a 24-hour period.
This is the lowest number of deaths seen in several weeks, and it is a positive sign that we have very clearly passed the peak of the disease outbreak that has triggered a UK-wide lockout.
But experts warn that the reported numbers are going down every weekend – so we can expect the numbers to go up a bit over the next week.
There is also a lag between the identification of certain new infections and their unfortunate outcome in recorded deaths.
It will take weeks to find out if an easing of lockdowns will now lead to more and more cases and deaths.
Experts will be watching closely for signs of a second wave of infections threatening to overwhelm the NHS.
At the Downing Street briefing on Sunday, business secretary Alok Sharma said that the clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine at the University of Oxford was progressing well and announced £ 93 million to speed up a new vaccine research laboratory.
He added that the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca had finalized a “global license agreement” with Oxford and the government.
This means that if the trial is successful, 30 million doses will be available for the UK by September.