Another 359 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 39,728, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Wednesday.
The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. As of Wednesday morning, 279,856 people in Britain have tested positive for the disease, a daily increase of 1,871, said the department, Xinhua reported.
Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday revealed details of the government’s plans to impose 14-day isolation on almost all people entering or returning to Britain from June 8.
Imported cases of the novel coronavirus posed a more significant threat now and it was now important to “protect our hard-won progress as we move in the right direction,” she told lawmakers in the House of Commons (lower house of the parliament).
A breach of self-isolation could result in a 1,000 pounds (about $1,260) fixed penalty notice in England, or potential prosecution, according to Patel.
Chairing the Downing Street daily briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the government’s quarantine plans despite criticism from the opposition parties and the aviation sector.
There is a need to impose strict controls to stop the risk of imported cases, said Johnson. He added that “air bridges” will be considered with countries with similar or lower levels of the virus but “only when it is safe to do so”.
Noting that Britain is seeing continuing falls in deaths, Johnson said that “we want to take more steps to unlock our society.”
But he urged people to follow “basic rules” such as washing hands, self-isolating, taking a test and observing social distancing.
“We are beating this disease — and we will beat it if everyone works together,” he said.