Coronavirus: UK 'has done well' to bring down COVID-19 as cases soar elsewhere, says WHO

The two-metre social distancing rule is being reviewed by the UK government. (AP)

The UK has “done well” to reduce its number of coronavirus cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

The WHO commended the UK as it issued a warning to other countries where COVID-19 continues to spread.

However, a spokesperson warned the UK that it still needs to be careful as its lockdown measures are eased.

Boris Johnson will set out plans on Tuesday to allow pubs, restaurants, cinemas and museums to begin reopening from 4 July.

On Monday, the government announced there had been 958 new daily coronavirus cases and 15 further deaths, although there is usually a reporting lag in figures after a weekend.

The figure for deaths was the lowest daily increase since the middle of March.

On Tuesday, WHO expert Dr Margaret Harris told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You have done well. You have really brought down your numbers.

“The UK has brought a very difficult outbreak right down.

“Very good news in the last couple of days about the limitation in cases, and far, far fewer people dying.

“So, now is the moment to celebrate that by being super careful.”

She said people need to understand that “this is the year of living differently”.

On Sunday, the WHO reported a record daily global increase in COVID-19 cases.

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The number of cases rose by more than 183,000 in the space of 24 hours, with the biggest increases in North and South America.

Brazil, the US and India saw the highest daily increases in coronavirus cases.

On Monday, South Korea revealed it is in the midst of a second wave of infections, while Germany reported that its transmission number, or R rate, had soared from 1.06 on Friday to 2.88 on Sunday.

Later on Tuesday, Johnson will publish a review of the two-metre social distancing rule and is expected to cut it to one metre in England from 4 July.

Boris Johnson is due to announce plans for pubs, restaurants, cinemas and museums to reopen. (AP)

The move follows intense pressure from some Tory MPs who have said easing the two-metre requirement is key to reopening the hospitality sector.

Many pubs and restaurants have warned that it would simply not be viable for them to operate as long as the rule remains in place.

However, some scientists have expressed concern the government is moving too quickly, and that its track-and-trace system to contain any fresh outbreaks is not fully up and running.

Lucy Yardley, professor of health psychology at the University of Bristol and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, told BBC Newsnight there was a "danger" that some people thought lockdown had ended.

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