All you need to know from the latest UK coronavirus briefing

UK coronavirus death toll rises by 357 to 40,261

True scale of deaths passed 50,000 earlier this week

More than 40,000 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, the Department of Health has said.

It said the death toll had reached 40,261 by 5pm on Thursday, up by 357 from 39,904 the day before.

In the 24-hour period up to 9am on Friday, 207,231 tests were carried out or dispatched with 1,650 positive results.

Overall, a total of 5,214,277 tests have been carried out and 283,311 cases have been confirmed positive.

However, the true scale of deaths from Covid-19 is likely to be over 50,000, according to government data published earlier this week.

The figure was reached by adding up the number of times where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate from the Office for National Statistics in England and Wales, the National Records of Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

It also took into account the latest figures from NHS England, Public Health Wales and the Northern Ireland Department of Health.

It is even possible the 50,000 threshold was actually passed earlier this week, as more death registrations will be processed and added to the figures for each nation in the UK.

Meanwhile, the government’s scientific advisers have said they believe the rate of transmission has not breached the crucial value of one, although there is evidence it is very close in some regions.

They acknowledged there might be some places in England where the “R value” is close to one, which if exceeded could see the virus spread exponentially.

The government’s value remained between 0.7 and 0.9 for the UK as a whole, though the figure has a two to three week lag, meaning it does not account for the latest easing of the lockdown.

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