In Brief

Coronavirus: UK records more daily deaths than entire European Union

‘Astonishing’ latest figures come as UK eases lockdown

The UK recorded more coronavirus deaths than every member state of the EU combined yesterday, as health experts warn that Downing Street is risking a second wave of infections by easing lockdown too soon.

A total of 359 deaths were recorded in the UK, compared with 332 across the 27 countries in the bloc in the same 24-hour period.

And the UK tally, “while among its lowest daily tolls, is still higher than Germany’s worst recorded day, which was 333 fatalities in early April”, says Yahoo! News.

France had the second-highest death toll on Wednesday, at 107, reports Newsweek

BBC Newsnight’s political editor Nicholas Watt described the latest figures as “astonishing”, adding that “the UK, with a population of 66 million, has more deaths than the EU with a population of nearly 450 million”.

However, he cautioned that “you have to be careful” when comparing Covid-19 death figures, as “countries compile them in a different way”. The UK total, for example, is for deaths registered in the period, regardless of when the fatalities occurred.

This warning was echoed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which compiled the data. The UN health agency says that “stark differences” are to be expected, as most countries operate on different reporting timelines and use different criteria for data collection.

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The total number of deaths involving Covid-19 recorded in the UK since the pandemic began has now passed 50,000, with only the US reporting a higher tally. However, the UK continues to ease lockdown restrictions, despite opposition from a number of government scientific advisors.

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), last week said that the NHS test and trace system needed to be “fully working” before social distancing measures could be lifted safely.

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