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Peter Wells in New York

Texas reported its smallest increase in coronavirus deaths since mid-June on Monday, as its governor hinted at the possibility of further rollbacks to pandemic restrictions.

A further eight deaths were attributed to coronavirus, authorities revealed this afternoon, down from 33 yesterday and compared with 11 on Monday a week ago.

It was the smallest increase since seven deaths were reported on June 15 and also comes a day after the Lone Star state became the fourth in the US to report more than 16,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Monday data tend to be lower than other days of the week owing to weekend delays in reporting.

Over the past 24 hours, a further 2,192 people tested positive for coronavirus, near the 2,181 new cases reported yesterday and compared with 1,397 a week ago.

Texas continues to add older cases that stem from backlogs of tests at commercial laboratories, which are added to the statewide total but excluded from the daily figures.

There were 1,217 such historical figures added to the statewide total by authorities today.

Governor Greg Abbott said in a tweet this afternoon that “Texans have continued to keep COVID under control” and said “hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained.”

The governor said he “will be announcing more openings soon”, adding the words “Cheers!” and a brief video clip of two people clinking beers together to his social media post.

In mid-September, Mr Abbott reversed some coronavirus restrictions for the state, including expanding occupancy levels for retail stores, gyms and museums and reauthorising non-elective surgery. Bars have remained closed since July.

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