FURTHER steps are being taken to protect vulnerable people in care homes, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock MP made the announcement during today's daily briefing from Downing Street.

Mr Hancock began the briefing by updating the nation on the latest coronavirus figures.

A total of 2,353,078 people have now been tested in the UK, with 133,784 tests carried out yesterday.

There are 10,024 people being treated in hospital with coronavirus - a decrease of 13 per cent on this time last week.

The total number of people who have died after testing positive for the virus is 33,998.

However Mr Hancock said it was clear that the number of deaths are falling and that we are 'past the peak of the virus'.

The Health Secretary went on to outline the Government's guidelines as we enter the second phase of lockdown.

He said people are free to do as much outdoor exercise as they like with members of their own household and were able to meet one other person in a public place.

However he also urged caution with the good weather expected this weekend, asking people to 'stick to the rules and don't take risks'.

Mr Hancock went on to discuss the impact of the virus in the nation's care homes.

He said all care home staff and residents with and without symptoms are now being tested, and that £600m has been made available to care homes this week to help control the infection.

The Health Secretary added that the government is now requiring councils to review the situation on the ground in local care homes regularly.

However he says efforts so far have been effective, with the number of care home deaths halving in recent weeks.