Care homes in Surrey will receive over £19 million in funding to help them combat the spread of coronavirus.

The encouraging news for the Surrey care sector was announced by the county council (SCC) on Thursday (July 23), who said the money would be shared between homes and providers to best challenge the ongoing spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.

The money, £19.2 million in total, was allocated from the government's £600million Infection Control Fund designed to help the sector counter the virus after the mass death it has so far caused in the UK and around the world.

"Three-quarters of the grant – more than £14million – is being distributed to care homes in two instalments based on the number of beds at each facility," SCC said in a statement released Thursday.

SCC floated the possibility that the money could be used to hire more care home staff "where needed" while other uses like improving transport links between workers and workplaces was also suggested.

"The remaining 25 per cent of the grant is being shared out in line with local priorities which the county council worked to determine alongside the Surrey Care Association and other partners," SCC said.

Meanwhile, a "small proportion" of the total figure would go towards paying for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) bought by SCC before July 13.

Sinead Mooney, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, said: “This new funding will be a real help to care homes in keeping coronavirus at bay so that Surrey residents can have confidence their loved ones will be safe and happy.

"The funds will enable homes and their incredible and dedicated staff to build on work they’re already doing to drive out the virus and prevent future outbreaks," she added.

"They’re being supported by local public service partners who are committed to strong and high quality social care both now and in the years to come."

The UK has so far suffered a total of 45,554 Covid-19-associated deaths according to Public Health England as of Thursday July 23.

At the start of July, it was reported that the number of "excess deaths" in UK care homes related to coronavirus was over 20,000.