UK counts 359 more deaths as infections top 280,000

epa08457734 A sanitizing station at Leicester market which re-opens on 01 June 2020, after being closed for 9 weeks because of the COVID-19 lockdown, Leicester, UK, 01 June 2020. Leicester Market is over 700 years old and is the largest outdoor covered market in Europe with over 270 stalls. Countries around the world are gradually easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in an effort to restart their economy and help people go back to their daily routines after the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. EPA-EFE/TIM KEETON

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The United Kingdom’s death toll from people who tested positive for COVID-19 has risen by 359 to 39,728, the government said on Wednesday.

1,653 new cases were registered today, taking the country’s tally to beyond 280,000.

In a separate development, the leader of Britain’s COVID-19 test and trace programme said she hoped data on the numbers of people tested and contacts traced within 24 hours would be available from next week once it had been validated.

“We need to make sure any data we share is accurate and validated,” Dido Harding told a committee of lawmakers on Wednesday. “I would very much hope that we will start to publish a weekly dashboard from next week.”

The programme, which is key to loosening blanket lockdown measures, went live last Thursday. A smartphone tracking app will be added in coming weeks, although the government has not specified when.

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