FIVE new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed for St Helens in the latest daily figures, but the cumulative weekly number does appear to be slowing.

NHS data shows that since the outbreak began in mid-March, 747 cases have been recorded locally. Analysis of the figures show a rise of 22 across the week.

On Sunday last week (May 17) there had been 725 cases recorded in St Helens, a rise of 29 across the week.

The previous seven day period had seen 36 cases, so the figures point to a gradual decline in confirmed cases.

However, health leaders did warn last week that the Merseyside area is still not coming down the other side of the epidemic curve as fast as other regions in England.

They urged the people of St Helens and the wider region to continue to heed the message to stay at home as much as possible.

On Sunday official figures showed two more patients had died at St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust after testing positive for COVID-19.

This means that since the outbreak began there have been 183 deaths linked to coronavirus at the Trust, which runs Whiston, St Helens and Newton hospitals.

Cases are only included in the data when a positive COVID-19 test result is received, or where COVID-19 is documented as a direct or underlying cause of death on the death certificate.

A week ago (Sunday, May 17) figures showed 177 people had died in hospital at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's attempts to get Britain back on track after coronavirus threaten to be overshadowed by the continued storm over Dominic Cummings' lockdown trip.

The Prime Minister chose to front the daily Downing Street COVID19 briefing to publicly back Mr Cummings on Sunday, saying he had "acted responsibly, legally and with integrity" by driving 260 miles to County Durham to isolate and that "any parent would frankly understand what he did".

The storm over Mr Cummings' actions overshadowed Mr Johnson's latest signal that the lockdown is easing as the Prime Minister confirmed the phased reopening of England's primary schools will commence on June 1. although it remains to be seen how many St Helens schools go ahead with this.

He is also, according to Government sources, set to reveal plans to ease restrictions for certain sectors of the economy - with the changes expected to signal the reopening of some non-essential shops – when the Cabinet meets on Monday.