British health authorities announced on Monday that a further 48 people died of coronavirus across the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the total up to 44,650.

The total number of cases in Britain is now 288,133, an increase of 512 in 24 hours.

As Scotland moved into phase three of easing the coronavirus lockdown, the number of new coronavirus cases hit their highest levels in three weeks.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am asking everybody to stick to the law, not from a fear of enforcement, but because it is the right thing to do, it helps keep us and other people safe.”

“I encourage people to see wearing a face covering, for the foreseeable future, when you go to the shops to become as automatic as putting a seatbelt on is in a car already.”

Answering pre-selected questions from the British public, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that rules regarding face masks could be tightened further, saying: “We need to be stricter in insisting that people wear face coverings in confined places, transport and shops where they are meeting people they don’t normally meet.”

Across the world, COVID-19 has claimed over 555,500 lives in 188 countries and regions since emerging in China last December.

Nearly 12.3 million cases have been reported worldwide, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than half of all patients worldwide — over 6.76 million — have recovered so far.

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