UK COVID-19 death toll rises 282 to 36,675

The COVID-19 death toll in Britain rose to 36,675 after another 282 patients died, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Saturday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

Meanwhile, 2,959 people have been confirmed positive for the virus, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 257,154 as of Saturday morning.

Jenny Harries, England’s deputy chief medical officer, told the Downing Street briefing that deaths are starting to come down. “We will be looking to expect that to come down further,” she said.

Encouragingly, Britain is also maintaining a downward trend in new confirmed cases, she said.

A member of TFL (Transport for London) staff is seen at Acton North tube station in London, Britain on May 20, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

During the briefing, Shapps announced the government is investing 283 million pounds (344.3 million U.S. dollars) into the public transport system to increase both frequency and capacity of services while ensuring there is enough space on vehicles to allow for social distancing.

“We now have opportunity to use power of transport to improve longstanding national weaknesses,” he said.

The transport secretary said the measures are “not just to get through (the crisis) but come out of the recovery stronger by permanently changing how we use transport.”

People wait at a bus stop in London, Britain, on May 17, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

The funding would be divided into 254 million pounds for buses and 29 million pounds for trams and light rail, according to Shapps.

“The mission is to level up Britain,” he said, “The COVID outbreak must be the catalyst for getting it done.”■