UK now has the worst coronavirus death toll in Europe with more than 30,000 fatalities

Will Taylor
News Reporter

The UK now has the worst coronavirus death toll in Europe, ahead of Italy, and has the second highest number of recorded deaths in the world behind the US.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than 7,000 people died from COVID-19 in England and Wales in the week up to 24 April, bringing the total to 29,648.

When this total is combined with the numbers from Scotland and Northern Ireland, the UK has a death toll on 32,313, according to analysis by Reuters.

Italy has an official death toll of 29,029, meaning only the US, which has recorded more than 67,000 deaths, has a higher recorded count than the UK.

Globally, there are more than 3.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 247,000 people are known to have have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

New figures from the ONS have pushed the UK's death toll over 30,000, the worst in Europe. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

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The UK death toll recorded by the department of health stands at 28,734 as of Tuesday morning.

This figure, which now covers deaths in care homes and the community as well as hospitals, varies from the ONS total because of differences in accounting.

Italy’s national statistics institute ISTAT said on Monday that thousands of deaths there may not have been officially attributed to COVID-19.

There have been 25,354 “excess deaths” in Italy but 13,710 were registered as caused by coronavirus.

ISTAT said the remaining 11,600 could be deaths of people who had COVID-19 but were not tested or those who died from another cause that they were not treated for.

Stripe said 42,000 excess deaths – above the average expected – have happened in the last five weeks.

International comparisons are also muddled by how countries record statistics, and China and Iran have both been accused of underreporting figures. Both deny the claims.

Italy recorded its lowest daily death toll since early March on Sunday, reporting 174 deaths, while the UK’s increase of 288 on Monday is the lowest since 29 March.

Italy has been under lockdown for more than seven weeks, having spent much of March as Europe’s coronavirus epicentre.

Italy had confirmed 1,694 cases by 1 March, and 34 deaths. By 1 April, it had risen to 110,574 cases and 13,155 deaths.

Its prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has now announced that factories, constructions sites and wholesale supply businesses can restart operations when they have safety measures in place.

Parks and gardens reopened on Monday, with funerals, athlete training and visits to relatives in the same region also due to be permitted.

More shops and museums are to reopen on 18 May with restaurants, cafes and salons set to welcome customers again from June 1, if the easing of restrictions goes well.

The UK’s lockdown, implemented on 23 March, was not as stringent as Italy’s.

Boris Johnson is expected to provide more detail on how the UK will ease up on lockdown restrictions this week.

Workplaces could see half-empty lifts, staggered shifts and physical screens where keeping distance between employees is not possible, according to draft official documents seen by the BBC and the Financial Times.

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