The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK is more than 10,000 higher than the Government's official toll as fatalities continue to trend downwards, new figures suggest.

The true number of deaths is more than 47,000, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It found that there were 42,103 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales as of May 15, compared with 31,944 reported by the Department of Health on the same date.

The Government's latest official count was 36,914 deaths in all settings as of 5pm on Sunday.

There were 3,810 deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales registered in the week ending May 15 – the lowest weekly number recorded in the last six weeks, the ONS said.

A separate analysis by University of Oxford researchers has found that the UK has overtaken Sweden to again have the highest coronavirus per capita death rate in the world.

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Hospital staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as they care for a patient

Coronavirus deaths in hospitals and care homes continued to trend downwards, along with the number of excess deaths, in the week up to May 15, the ONS said.

Of all deaths involving Covid-19 registered up to May 15, 65.1 per cent occurred in hospital, 28.3 per cent happened in care homes, 4.6 per cent occurred in private homes and 1.3 per cent happened in hospices.

In a separate study, Oxford researchers found that the UK has passed Sweden to have the highest coronavirus per capita death rate in the world.

Although cases are declining overall, the UK had 4.54 deaths per million residents per day on a rolling seven-day average, according to figures from the Our World in Data website.

It is slightly higher than Sweden's rate of 4.51, the researchers found.

Britain and Sweden are followed by Brazil (4.4), tiny San Marino (4.21) and the US (3.52) based on data for the week up to Monday.

Excluding San Marino, given its small population of 34,000, Belgium still has the highest per capita death rate over the entire course of the pandemic, followed by Italy, the UK, France and Sweden.

The data emerged as Britons were urged to use common sense as the warm weather continues this week.

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Coronavirus outbreak

People are being reminded to practise social distancing as some councils ask day-trippers not to visit their beaches or beauty spots to prevent overcrowding.

Thousands flocked to beaches in places such as Bournemouth, Brighton and Southend on bank holiday Monday, raising concerns about social distancing.

Police were called to a lido in north London amid reports of one large group gathering, while people were also warned not to overcrowd beaches as sunseekers made the most of the fine weather. 

While new cases and deaths from coronavirus have fallen nationally, a hospital in Somerset was forced to close this weekend due to a high number of Covid-19 patients.

Coffins inside a temporary morgue set up for the coronavirus pandemic

Weston General Hospital, in Weston-super-Mare, stopped accepting new admissions, including into its A&E department from 8am on Monday.

As the hospital shut as a precautionary measure, some residents in Weston reported concern over high numbers of people enjoying a day at the seaside.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that all non-essential shops will be able to reopen in England on June 15 as part of plans to further ease the lockdown. 

Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen on June 1.

Shoppers will have to "exercise restraint" by not trying on clothing and testing goods when stores reopen next month, Michael Gove said.

Speaking about plans to reopen non-essential shops in June, the Minister for the Cabinet Office said shopping habits will have to change.

He told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: "It's also the case that we need to ensure that some of the shopping habits people may have grown used to in the pre-Covid days are habits that we exercise a degree of restraint on.

"So when it comes to touching and testing goods, when it comes to trying on clothing, when it comes to trying make-up and so on, that all of us exercise restraint in not doing that and recognising that as these stores reopen, it is a new normal, but it will allow us to ensure there are a wider range of goods and will also ensure the economy can return to a new normal, that is absolutely vital for people's jobs."