Another 148 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Friday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 44,798, according to the British Department of Health and Social Care.

As of Saturday morning, 288,953 people have tested positive for the disease in Britain, a daily increase of 820, according to the department.

The R rate — the number of people infected by one person with COVID-19 — has risen slightly in England this week to reach between 0.8 to 1.0, according to figures published by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on Friday.

In June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was under pressure to resume economic activity so he decided to reopen elementary schools in England and was expected to allow non-essential businesses to resume within 10 days, despite warnings from a number of experts that it was too soon to ease the lockdown.

As many high schools in England also partially re-opened in this month, thousands of students were heading back to classrooms, with smaller class sizes, for the first time in months.

Earlier, the government issued a new rule where people in England travelling on trains, buses and commuter ferries, as well as the London Underground, must wear face coverings.

Meanwhile, the overall number of global COVID-19 cases was nearing 12.7 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 564,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.