Publication of overall daily figures for coronavirus-related deaths in the UK has been paused after Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered an urgent review.

It is after Public Health England confirmed that the reported deaths may have included people who had tested positive for the virus months before they died.

Information released by Scotland, Wales and Ireland only include people who died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19, meaning the overall UK figure may have been distorted.

A statement on the govenment's website posted yesterday states: "The Secretary of State has today, July 17, asked PHE [Public Health England] to urgently review their estimation of daily death statistics.

"Currently the daily deaths measure counts all people who have tested positive for coronavirus and since died, with no cut-off between time of testing and date of death.

"There have been claims that the lack of cut-off may distort the current daily deaths number. We are therefore pausing the publication of the daily figure while this is resolved."

The most recent figures on the government website state that as of 4.02pm yesterday there had been 45,233 UK deaths involving people who had tested positive for the virus, which was a rise of 114 on the previous day.

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However, NHS England figures have continued to be published as normal, which show that there have been no further rises of hospital deaths in Cornwall relating to the virus in the last 24 hours.

The figure remains at 91 and has not risen since July 2, when one death was added. Prior to that, the total had not increased since June 2.

However, on Tuesday the Office for National Statistics, which has been collating weekly data for hospitals, care homes and the wider community, confirmed that the overall number of deaths for Cornwall in any setting had risen by two on the previous week, to 207.

Nationally a further 13 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 29,173.

Patients were aged between 49 and 96 years old and all patients had known underlying health conditions. Their families have been informed.

Five additional deaths are reported with no positive Covid-19 test result but where the virus was recorded as a direct or underlying cause of death, in today's figures from Public Health England.

One further death has been recorded in the south west region as a whole.

The total number of lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK sat at 293,239, which was a rise of 687 in 24 hours.

In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly there remained 899 confirmed cases - the same figure as it has been since Sunday, aside from an isolated unexplained drop to 898 on Monday.

In other coronavirus-related news:

HOPES are dimming that 'herd immunity' can help stamp out the tenacious global pandemic amid growing concerns that people can be reinfected with Covid-19.

Recovery from the disease provides antibodies to fight off the infection, but the 'shelf life' of those antibodies may be insufficient to protect a patient for very long.

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THEY are the friendly faces that have appeared on shopping streets across Cornwall: the new street marshals aimed at keep people safe post lockdown.

Appointed by town councils, they are on hand at the busiest times of the day to give help and guidance to those visiting and working in towns, operating alongside Cornwall Council’s public protection officers.

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THE pedestrianisation measures in place in Truro city centre are being adjusted from Sunday.

The temporary measure was put in place to help customers get back to the high street safely during a time when social distancing remains a part of everyday life, made possible thanks to a £25,000 grant - but that cash has now run out.

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CORNWALL Council is set to provide more funding to help towns which have seen a drop in visitors due to an increase in the number of empty shops and rise in number of charity shops.

Earlier this year the council agreed to set up a £4million town centre fund as a result of an inquiry which looked at how to help high streets which have been hit by the decline in the retail sector - and now the council is looking at how to use that money to help towns in Cornwall which need support.

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THE Minack Theatre is set to spring to life after lockdown next month with two weeks of performances of 'Educating Rita'.

The production stars Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita, and is directed by Max Roberts.

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