A group of scientists has predicted what the UK’s COVID-19 death toll could be by the end of the month, as lockdown restrictions continue to be relaxed.
According to the forecast, made by scientists at Cambridge University, the number of daily deaths is “likely” to be between 45 and 85.
The model predicts that the East of England is likely to have the highest rate of infections, ahead of London and the Midlands.
It comes as the number of weekly registered deaths involving coronavirus has fallen to the lowest level since lockdown was first introduced.
According to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of deaths registered in England and Wales involving COVID-19 in the week ending 3 July was 532.
It is the lowest number of deaths linked to the virus in the last 15 weeks, the ONS said.
It added: "The number of death registrations involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) decreased from 606 in Week 26 to 532 in Week 27, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths registered since Week 12, week ending March 20, when 103 deaths involved COVID-19.
"Of all deaths registered in Week 27, 5.8% mentioned COVID-19, down from 6.7% in Week 26.”
Boris Johnson announced lockdown measures on 23 March and in that week 539 deaths involving coronavirus were registered, according to ONS figures.
Dr Layla McCay, a director at the NHS Confederation, said that while the decline was a "positive development", a second spike in cases could overwhelm the NHS.
She added: "While the number of people known to be dying with coronavirus continues to decline, this positive development comes at the same time as we have been given a horrifying warning from the Academy of Medical Sciences that without continued government action and public vigilance, we could be faced with a second wave of COVID-19 infection this winter that could cause 120,000 deaths.
"NHS leaders are already bracing themselves for a very challenging winter, but a second wave of this magnitude would overwhelm their services.
"We note this isn't a prediction of what will definitely happen, but it is another stark reminder that the pandemic is not over: it will be with us for a very long time.”
More than 50,000 deaths involving COVID-19 have been recorded in England and Wales during the outbreak, including suspected cases, with the virus the main reason for deaths increasing above what would normally be expected for this period, the ONS said.
The number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the UK is now just under 56,000 including suspected cases, according to the latest available data.
Figures also showed that deaths have been below the five-year average for the third week in a row.