THE UK Government's Environment Secretary George Eustice has said that 669,850 Covid-19 tests have been carried out in the UK - including 29,058 tests carried out on Saturday.

He told the daily Downing Street briefing that some 152,840 people have tested positive - an increase of 4,463 cases since the day before.

"15,953 people are currently in hospital with the coronavirus in the UK, down from 16,411 on April 25," he said.

"And sadly, of those hospitalised with the virus, 20,732 have now died, and that is an increase of 413 fatalities since yesterday.

"We express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these victims."

Professor Stephen Powis said the benefit of social distancing was beginning to be felt in the stabilisation of the number of new cases.

He added: "You can see we now have a very definite trend of a reduced number of people in hospitals - that is most marked in London.

"But there is the beginnings of that in the Midlands and other areas of the UK."

However, he pointed out that despite the apparent decline in new cases and a plateauing in deaths, it was too early to say the UK is winning the fight against Covid-19.

"Those benefits have occurred not by luck, but because people have complied with the instructions that we have all been given and they have followed the science," he said.

"The science of this is quite straight forward, if we reduce the number of people that can be infected from an individual person who has the virus to below on average one, then the virus starts to go into decline and the number of infections starts to fall."

Earlier, Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced that 1,249 patients have died in Scotland.

But she urged some caution on the latest daily death figures, stressing deaths registered at the weekend tend to be relatively low.

She said more than 22,000 students and former NHS and care workers have volunteered join or return to the health and care workforce, since an appeal was launched four weeks ago.

A number of these volunteers have been placed with NHS boards and pre-employment checks are being carried out for more than 3,000 more.