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Covid-19 news: Almost 20,000 care home deaths in England and Wales

A care worker wearing full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as she goes about her job
Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Almost 20,000 people in care homes died with covid-19 in England and Wales
19,394 people died with covid-19 in care homes across England and Wales between 2 March and 12 June, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS estimates that one in five people living in care homes in England became infected with covid-19 in the 56 per cent of care homes that had at least one confirmed case. The same analysis suggests that an estimated 7 per cent of care home staff have had coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. The estimates are based on a survey of more than 5000 care homes in England by the Department of Health and Social Care, conducted between 26 May and 20 June. From next week, care home residents over 65 and those with dementia will receive a coronavirus test every 28 days, and staff working in care homes will be tested weekly, the Department of Health and Social Care said today.

Other coronavirus news

The UK government’s online dashboard for regional coronavirus cases now includes figures from tests carried out within communities, not just those performed in hospitals and clinics. Yesterday the dashboard was updated for the first time including figures from tests performed in people’s homes or in mobile centres within communities – known as pillar 2 tests – with a resulting increase in the number of confirmed cases. Earlier this week, local officials in Leicester complained that they hadn’t been provided with the full picture on the outbreak there due to the lack of pillar 2 data.

Government figures released today suggest the UK’s R number – the estimated number of people each coronavirus case infects – remains between 0.7 and 0.9, with the range for England between 0.8 and 0.9. There is a time lag in the data, however, because it can take two or three weeks for people to realise they are infected and get tested. In the UK as a whole, the number of new infections has remained relatively constant. There is variation between regions, with the data suggesting infections may be rising slightly in London and in the south-west of England.

People arriving in England from more than 50 countries, including France, Spain, Germany and Italy, will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival from 10 July, the Department for Transport announced today. Quarantine restrictions remain in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Ministers in Scotland and Wales have criticised the decision, with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon describing it as “shambolic”.

The US reported more than 55,000 coronavirus cases yesterday – a new daily global record for the coronavirus pandemic. Since the pandemic began there have been more than 2.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and more than 128,000 deaths from covid-19.

The antiviral drug remdesivir has become the European Union’s first drug authorised to treat covid-19. The European Commission today conditionally approved the use of remdesivir in patients with severe covid-19, following an accelerated review process.

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