April 29, 2020
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Coronavirus Death Toll Rises To 26,097 With Care Homes And Community Fatalities
Coronavirus has been linked to 26,097 deaths in the UK to date, figures published for the first time today reveal.
The total – including deaths in care homes and the community for the first time – means the UK has one of the highest fatality rates in Europe.
Previously, the government only released the number of deaths in hospitals that had been recorded each day – though some continue to be backdated by as much as a month.
The new death toll was released by Public Health England and were correct as of 5pm on Tuesday.
It represents 3,811 more deaths than those previously counted in hospitals, foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the Downing Street daily briefing.
While the UK now has one of the highest overall death tolls in Europe, taking into account population the performance of the UK is comparable to Italy and France, and better than Belgium and Spain.On the deaths, a PHE spokesperson said: “Of these, around 70% were outside hospital settings and around 30% were in hospital. The additional hospital deaths have been identified through PHE’s laboratory system and were not reported to NHSE.”
It comes with the government under pressure to lift some social distancing restrictions in order to kick-start the economy when the lockdown is reviewed next week.
Earlier, Michael Gove suggested ministers could lift restrictions on outdoor activities and businesses first, as the virus spreads more easily indoors.
He told the Commons public administration committee: “One thing we know is that the disease spreads more easily indoors, so work out of doors, and we’re already encouraging people to support the agriculture sector, whether that’s construction or indeed as a number of people have outlined sales from garden centres, it might be able to take a differentiated approach in that way.
“But again, I don’t want to pre-empt the judgment which is made across government.
“The prime minister has got to sign off on this, the cabinet has got to agree, but these are the sorts of common sense conversations people are having in public, so I hope I am not jumping the gun.”
On Tuesday, the Office for National Statistics gave a glimpse of an even worse picture in care homes: 4,343 deaths between April 10 and April 24 alone.
The reason for the discrepancy with the new official UK figure was not immediately clear. The government has described the new number as “confirmed deaths”, which may suggest it only includes people who have actually tested positive for Covid-19 rather than all those who have displayed symptoms.
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