The UK has recorded its lowest number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases – 958 – since the lockdown began.
The number of daily virus deaths also fell to 15, the lowest figure since 15 March, the day before the government began its daily televised briefings.
However, the number of deaths announced are often lower on Mondays due to reporting lags over the weekend.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm further easing of lockdown rules in England on Tuesday.
The new government figures on Monday show that for the first time both the number of deaths and the number of positive tests are back at pre-lockdown levels.
On 23 March, when the UK went into lockdown, 967 cases were recorded. And that was before testing was massively ramped up – with tests now available to anyone with symptoms.
Speaking at the Downing Street briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also revealed a third piece of positive news – that the number of people currently being treated in hospital for coronavirus has dropped below 5,000. At its peak, on 12 April, the number of patients in hospital was 20,699.
Mr Hancock said the figures were “pointing in the right direction”, adding: “The plan is working.”
“Infections are falling, the NHS is restoring and the virus is in retreat,” he said.
“A month ago around one in 400 people had the virus, now it’s about one in 1,700 – and this means that tomorrow the prime minister will be able to set out the next steps in our plan to ease the national lockdown.”
Northern Ireland ‘Gradual relaxation’
The UK’s chief medical officers downgraded the coronavirus alert level from four to three last Friday – days after non-essential shops in England were allowed to reopen.
Under level three, the virus is considered to be “in general circulation” and there could be a “gradual relaxation of restrictions”.
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson is expected to announce if the hospitality sector can reopen on 4 July.
It is also expected that the 2m distancing rule in England will be relaxed – to 1m – with some mitigating measures.
But No 10 warned the moves would be reversed if they led to a surge in cases.
Non-essential stores re-opened in Wales on Monday, and in Scotland, dental practices and places of worship have been allowed to operate again.
In Northern Ireland, the executive has said groups of up to six people can meet indoors from Tuesday.
Across the nations in the past 24 hours, there were no deaths from coronavirus in Scotland or Northern Ireland, and only one in Wales.
The official total number of deaths in the UK from coronavirus, among those who tested positive, stands at 42,647, across all settings.
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