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                                UK COVID-19 deaths top 39,000 as another 111 patients die

                                2020-06-02 02:55:04 GMT2020-06-02 10:55:04(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

                                LONDON, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Another 111 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Sunday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 39,045, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday.

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

                                Noting that 111 is the lowest daily death toll since lockdown began in March, Hancock said during the Downing Street daily press briefing that Britain is winning the battle against the novel coronavirus, but warned COVID-19 is "not done yet".

                                As to testing, the secretary told reporters that the government now has a testing capacity of 206,444, as 128,437 tests were carried out in Britain on Sunday.

                                Asked about the test and trace system, Hancock said it is "up and running and successful" and those who are being told to isolate have responded positively.

                                The most important message is for anyone with coronavirus symptoms to get a test, because it's by "getting those tests we're able to identify those who have got the virus" and trace and control COVID-19, he said.

                                Without giving a specific number of how many contacts the government has made, he noted that it is good to have spare capacity in terms of the number of contact tracers (25,000) compared to the number of new cases.

                                Responding to whether blanket lockdown measures will be enforced if the R (infection rate) goes up, the secretary said the government is willing to reintroduce lockdown measures if necessary.

                                "We're prepared to reintroduce measures nationally or locally if necessary...taking local action to respond to a local flare up is an incredibly important part of the toolkit that we have available to respond if we need to," he added.

                                As part of the government's easing lockdown measures, most primary schools in England reopened to more pupils on Monday.

                                Earlier in the day, a survey from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) suggested that primary school leaders expect that 47 percent of families will keep their children home, with the proportion rising to 50 percent among pupils eligible for free school meals.

                                "There needs to be very clear messages and reassurance for parents, as well as a continued focus on the quality of remote learning," said NFER chief executive Carole Willis. 

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