There have been a further 616 coronavirus-related deaths in UK hospitals, the Department of Health has said.

It takes the total number of COVID-19 patients to have died in UK hospitals to 18,738. That is the lowest weekday increase in the last three weeks – since 2 April.

It comes after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said redesigned classrooms and changed working practices in offices could offer an exit from coronavirus lockdown measures.

Ms Sturgeon warned that social distancing measures might be in place in some form beyond the end of this year, but outlined how schools and some businesses might reopen prior to that.

Earlier, NHS England announced a further 514 deaths of those who had tested positive for COVID-19.

NHS England said the victims were aged between 31 and 100 years old and that 16 of the patients – aged between 37 and 92 years old – had no known underlying health condition.

Officials in Wales said a further 17 people had died, while Ms Sturgeon confirmed a further 58 people had died in Scotland after testing positive for the virus.

According to each home nation’s health authorities, the number of deaths in hospitals now stands at:

  • England – 16,786
  • Scotland – 1,120
  • Wales – 641

The figures for Northern Ireland have not yet been released.

Health authorities in the four UK nations record their own daily figures, which may not tally with the government’s overall UK total as they collate their numbers at different times throughout the day.

The weekend figures are often lower due to a lag in reporting cases because the people who collect and process the data do not work.

Yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs the UK is at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

He also thanked the British public for their steadfast commitment in following lockdown rules.

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(c) Sky News 2020: Coronavirus: Lowest weekday rise in UK hospital deaths for three weeks