NINE new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Hampshire, according to the latest figures released this afternoon.

There were 5,394 lab-confirmed cases of the virus in the Hampshire County Council area as of 4pm today, up from 5,385 which was 10 up on the previous 24 hours.

There have now been 340,411 cases of the virus across the UK – an increase of 1,735 on the previous day.

The number of deaths in Hampshire hospitals remains the same today, staying at 607 where it has been since July.

There have been no deaths in Hampshire for more than two months. The figure for fatal cases at the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which includes the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, is 161, the same since June 29.

The figures for the other local trusts are Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust, 229; Solent NHS Trust, 2; Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, 17; University Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, 198.

Last week the Office for National Statistics, which has been collating numbers for all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, confirmed there had been no increase in the overall total.

Nationally, a further 13 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in England to 41,514, according to the ONS website this afternoon.

The rate of infection in Hampshire stands at 390.2 cases per 100,000 people, far lower than the England average of 519.5.

The number of confirmed cases in Winchester remains at 515, with a rate of 412.5 per 100,000 people.

The R number - the number of people that an infected person can pass on the virus to, remains the same at between -2 per cent and +1 per cent. Such a growth rate means the number of new infections is somewhere between shrinking by 2 per cent and growing by 1 per cent every day.

In today's coronavirus news: 

A new £500 million funding package will support trials of a 20-minute Covid-19 test and efforts to explore the benefits of repeatedly testing people for the virus, the Health Secretary has announced.

Money will go towards launching a new community-wide repeat population testing trial in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Existing trials in Southampton and Hampshire, using a no-swab saliva test and a rapid 20-minute test, will also be expanded through the new funding.

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As thousands of children in Winchester returned to school today after lockdown, the Chronicle went to one primary to find out how parents felt.

In March it was confirmed that two pupils from Oliver’s Battery Primary School were self isolating after they travelled in a taxi that had had another traveller with a confirmed diagnosis of the virus.

Soon after schools closed under Government guidance, but for the first time in seven months the majority of pupils returned this morning.

Oliver’s Battery Primary has introduced a range of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus including increased hand washing and pupils remaining in 'bubbles' throughout the day.

This morning parents were also not able to enter school buildings, with some children making their own way to class. Drop off and pick up times are also said to be staggered.

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