UK coronavirus death toll higher than feared, official information reveals

31 March 2020, 10:09 | Updated: 31 March 2020, 10:46

The coronavirus death toll is higher than initially thought
The coronavirus death toll is higher than initially thought. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

At least 40 people died of coronavirus outside of hospital in England and Wales before 20 March, the Office of National Statistics has revealed.

According to the latest figures, there were at least 230 deaths by this date - up from the 170 that were known to have perished inside NHS buildings.

This marks a 23 per cent rise in known fatalities.

Since 20 March, the total number of deaths in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland rose from 177 deaths to 1,408.

When the additional 40 patients who died at home are counted, the total death toll is 1,448.

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The NHS Nightingale has been set up to treat 4,000 Covid-19 patients
The NHS Nightingale has been set up to treat 4,000 Covid-19 patients. Picture: PA

Currently only those who are admitted to hospital with symptoms are tested for the virus.

Of the 22,141 people who have been so far tested positive, 9,000 are currently being treated in hospital, NHS chief Simon Stevens said yesterday.

People who have symptoms have been advised to self-isolate in their homes.

The difference between the coronavirus death figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and those published by NHS England and Public Health Wales is because of different methods of counting and reporting, the ONS explained.

The ONS death figures are based on the number of deaths registered in England and Wales where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate as "deaths involving Covid-19".

Brits are being urged to stay at home to stem the spread of coronavirus
Brits are being urged to stay at home to stem the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA

The number includes all deaths, not just those in hospitals, although there is usually a delay of at least five days between a death occurring and registration.

The figures published by NHS England and Public Health Wales are for deaths only among hospital patients who have tested positive for Covid-19, but include deaths that have not yet been registered.

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