UK's coronavirus death toll surges past 40,000, even as cries of PM's crisis handling grows louder
The United Kingdom has been the worst affected country in Europe registering more than 40,000 deaths so far even as PM Boris Johnson set out a gradual plan to get Britain back to work
London: The United Kingdom’s COVID-19 death toll now exceeds 40,000, by far the worst yet reported in Europe, raising more questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics for England and Wales brought the United Kingdom’s official death toll to 38,289 as of May 3, according to a Reuters tally of death registrations that also includes Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Since then, at least 2,251 people have died from COVID-19 in English hospitals, according to the latest daily data, bringing the true death toll as of Tuesday to just over 40,000.
While different ways of counting make comparisons with other countries difficult, the figure confirmed Britain was among those hit worst by a pandemic that has killed more than 2,85,000 people worldwide.
The data came a day after Johnson set out a gradual plan to get Britain back to work, including advice on wearing home-made face coverings - though his attempt to lift the coronavirus lockdown prompted confusion.
The leaders of the devolved nations - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - said that advice given by Johnson only applied to England. They told people to stay at home still.
Such a high UK death toll increases the pressure on Johnson. Opposition parties say he was too slow to impose a lockdown, too slow to introduce mass testing and too slow to get enough protective equipment to hospitals.
The data painted a grim picture in care homes, which have been especially hard hit by the virus.
Meanwhile in Italy, the next worst-hit country in Europe and whose population is about 90% of Britain’s, the death toll stood at 30,739 as of Monday, according to a measure based solely on confirmed cases rather than suspected cases.
Broadly comparable British data on Tuesday showed 32,692 deaths.