UK coronavirus death toll rises by 118 to 36,793

Prime minister also backs Dominic Cummings in press conference

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 24 May 2020 18:06
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UK coronavirus death toll rises by 118 to 36,793

The daily coronavirus death toll in the UK has risen by 118 to reach a total of 36,793, Boris Johnson announced on Sunday.

Weekend death tolls tend to be lower, due to delays in data collection.

As of 5pm on Saturday, nearly 37,800 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK.

In the 24 hours running up to 9am on Sunday, 110,401 tests were carried out or dispatched, with 2,409 positive results.

In total, 259,559 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.

The government’s flagship test-and-trace system will launch next week.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, the UK prime minister also backed Dominic Cummings, his chief adviser, amid allegations he had broken rules in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.

The aide "acted responsibly, legally and with integrity", Mr Johnson said.

“I have had extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus – and when he had no alternative – I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent," the PM said.

“I do not mark him down for that.”

Mr Johnson claimed "some" of the allegations about Mr Cummings' behaviour during self-isolation were "palpably false".

Conservative MPs have called for Mr Johnson to sack the senior advisor after it emerged Mr Cummings had travelled 260 miles to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family while official guidelines warned against long-distance journeys.

Further reports also suggested he took a second trip to the northeast in April, having already returned to London.

Mr Cummings has denied the fresh allegations, which were reported by the Observer and the Sunday Mirror, and Mr Johnson announced he would be standing by his most senior aide.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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