London, May 26 (IANS) Another 121 COVID-19 patients had died in Britain as of Sunday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 36,914, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Monday.
The figures included deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
As of Monday morning, 261,184 people had tested positive in Britain, an daily increase of 1,625, according to the department, Xinhua reported.
At Monday’s press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the government intends to allow outdoor markets as well as car showrooms to reopen from June 1, subject to all premises being made COVID-19 secure.
The government plans to allow all other non-essential retailers to reopen from June 15, according to Johnson. But he also said that this move will be “contingent upon” progress in the fight against COVID-19.
“The food retail sector has already responded fantastically well, enabling supermarkets to be kept open in a safe way — and we will learn lessons from that experience as we allow other retail to open,” said Johnson.
Also on Monday, Johnson’s most senior adviser Dominic Cummings defended his actions during his first public appearance since a major row erupted over reports that he “broke” Britain’s COVID-19 lockdown rules.
During an earlier press conference in the rose garden of Downing Street, Cummings told reporters that he had behaved “reasonably.”
The row has dominated newspaper headlines in Britain since it was revealed on Friday that Cummings, together with his wife and their four-year-old son, drove about 418 km from London to his parents’ home in the northeastern city of Durham.
Cummings explained that he made the car journey when his wife developed COVID-19 symptoms. He was worried that if he also became ill, which he subsequently did, there would be problems looking after their young son, so he headed to Durham to isolate there for 14 days close to his family members.
The lockdown rules have always allowed exceptions in certain circumstances, said Cummings.
“It says that in some circumstances you won’t be able to follow the rules and it seems to me that I was in such an exceptional circumstance and I was trying to balance all these very complicated things,” he added.