There have been nearly 300,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 44,600 people have died, government figures show.
These numbers only include people who have been tested, and the actual death toll will be higher.
New cases decline – but concern over hotspots
Across the country, the number of newly confirmed cases each day has been falling since a peak in April.
On Friday, a further 512 cases were reported.
Find out how the pandemic has affected your area and how it compares with the national average:
Public Health England figures on coronavirus cases were updated on 2 July to include people tested in the wider community, as well as hospitals and healthcare workers, causing the numbers to increase sharply. Figures for the rest of the UK already included people tested in the wider population.
Data from Public Health England show that confirmed infections have fallen by 25% in the week to 5 July.
There were just over 3,300 positive tests in the week to 5 July compared to 4,400 positive tests in the week to 28 June.
Merthyr Tydfil, which last week saw the highest incidence of positive tests at more than 170 per 100,000, fell this week to 3 per 100,000.
The spike was attributed to an outbreak at a local meat processing plant.
And cases in Leicester, which saw lockdown measures re-imposed last week, have fallen to around 125 per 100,000 compared with about 140 per 100,000 last week.
Until recently, the only figures available to local authorities were the results of hospital testing. However, more testing is now taking place in the wider community.
The Department of Health says a data-sharing agreement has been reached with local authorities, which will give them access to the number of people testing positive in the community in their area.
It should mean that new hotspots can be quickly identified and measures taken to restrict the spread of the disease.
The chart below shows how the growth in positive cases identified through community testing (pale blue) has become more significant as positive hospital test results (dark blue) have declined.
Downward trend of daily deaths has slowed
Government-announced deaths from coronavirus peaked mid-April and have been steadily falling since then, though the downward trend seems to have slowed recently.
On Friday, the government announced a further 48 deaths in the UK.
The UK has the highest official death toll in Europe and the third highest in the world, after the US and Brazil.
The government has argued it is too soon to make definitive international comparisons but, as the impact of the first wave becomes clear in many countries, analysis is beginning to suggest the UK has been the hardest hit of the leading G7 nations.
The majority of the UK’s deaths have been in England, with about 40,000 so far – around 90% of the total for the UK.
Scotland reported no new deaths on Friday, and its official death toll remains 2,490. Data on death registrations from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) suggests there had been 4,173 deaths by 5 July.
The NRS report said there were 17 coronavirus-related deaths in the week to 5 July, down from 18 the previous week. It’s the tenth weekly reduction in a row.
Wales has recorded 1,540 deaths and Northern Ireland 554. Neither region reported any new deaths on Friday.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of deaths from all causes registered in a single week has fallen below the five-year average for the second consecutive week.
The new coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19, was first confirmed in the UK at the end of January, but the number of daily confirmed cases and related deaths only began to increase significantly by the second half of March.
Lockdown restrictions came into force across the UK at the end of that month. The number of new cases came to a peak mid-April and have been falling steadily since.
The number of deaths as a result of the virus can be measured in three ways. The government’s daily announcement counts deaths with a positive test result.
But the ONS also counts death certificates mentioning the virus. This measure suggests there had been more than 54,500 deaths by 26 June.
When looking at deaths over and above the expected number for the period of the pandemic – the third way of measuring – the coronavirus death toll rises to almost 65,000 by the same date. This represents a decrease on last week’s total because there have now been fewer deaths than expected for two weeks running, so the overall total is shrinking.
Some of the excess deaths are likely to include people with undiagnosed coronavirus or those who died as an indirect result of the pandemic.
Coronavirus accounted for about 6% of all deaths in the UK in the week to 26 June, according to death registration data – a drop from 8% the previous week.
When deaths from the virus were at their peak back in April, this figure reached almost 40%.
What is the R number in the UK?
The “R number” is the average number of people an infected person will pass the disease on to.
If R is below one, then the number of people contracting the disease will fall; if it is above one, the number will grow.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, known as Sage, believes the R number across the whole of the UK is currently between 0.7 and 0.9.
The government says in England itself it is between 0.8 and 1.0. It is highest in the South West, where it is between 0.7 and 1.1.
The estimate for Scotland is between 0.6 and 1.0. In Northern Ireland, it is between 0.5 and 1.0, while it is between 0.7 and 0.9 in Wales.
The government has said that the R number is one of the most important factors in deciding when lockdown measures can be eased.
Testing now available to more people
The UK exceeded its target to increase testing capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of May. Though the number of tests reported each day has only occasionally been near that capacity.
In total, more than eight million tests have been processed so far.
Who is most at risk from coronavirus?
Most recorded coronavirus deaths have been among the elderly, with NHS England figures showing more than half of deaths have been among people aged over 80.
The disease appears to disproportionally affect men in their 50s and 60s, and the death rate for men outstrips women across all age ranges.
People with underlying health conditions are also at greater risk regardless of age.
Research by Public Health England (PHE) has also found that people from ethnic minorities have a much higher risk of dying from coronavirus than people of white British ethnicity. But it is still not clear why – the study did not take into account occupations or obesity, which are also known to be high risk factors.
Another study found that South Asian people were the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital. It was the only ethnic group found to have a raised risk of death in hospital, which researchers believe is partly due to high levels of diabetes.
The most deprived parts of England and Wales have been hit twice as hard by coronavirus as wealthier areas, according to the ONS.