UK heads towards worst Covid-19 death toll in Europe with over 26,000 lives lost
29 April 2020, 17:08 | Updated: 29 April 2020, 17:49
The UK is on track to have the worst coronavirus death toll of any country in Europe, with the total number of lives lost passing 26,000.
The latest figures show a total of 26,097 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, a figure which includes deaths in care homes and in the community for the first time.
The new figure includes an additional 3,811 deaths since the start of the outbreak, and includes 765 deaths reported in the 24 hours to 5pm on Tuesday.
The worst affected country in Europe is Italy, which has a total of 27,359 deaths so far although Italy was affected by the
virus earlier than the UK.
Earlier today Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer challenged Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over the projected numbers.
Sir Keir said the UK was heading towards “one of the worst death rates in Europe”. Mr Raab said “It is far too early to make international comparisons.”
There were a further 601 deaths in hospitals across the UK in the past 24 hours. England recorded another 445 hospital deaths, with 83 in Scotland and 73 in Wales.
The new total combines the latest NHS figures for deaths in hospitals with the latest ONS figures on total deaths in care homes and the community linked to coronavirus.
It is a significant increase on the yesterday's NHS total of 21,678 deaths in hospitals.
The new figures show that the spread of the virus in care homes, where elderly residents are most at risk from coronavirus, is a major cause of concern.
On Tuesday, Care homes notified the CQC of a total of 4,343 deaths of residents in homes between April 10 and 24 in England, the Office for National Statistics said.
It is the first time the CQC death notifications for suspected or confirmed Covid-19 in care homes had been published.
At Prime Minister's questions on Wednesday, Dominic Raab said:"It is a challenge that we must grip and can grip to make sure we can get the numbers down in care homes as we have seen in hospitals and as we've seen in the country at large."
There is currently an 11-day time lag for the Office of National Statistics' (ONS) data on the number of people who have died in care homes and their own homes after contracting coronavirus.
Mr Raab, who was standing in for Boris Johnson following the birth of the Prime Minister's son - said there would be no "sugar coating" of the issues and stressed the efforts being made to get a grip on the care homes crisis.
The Foreign Secretary, who faced questions in the Commons amid fears that the UK was on course to have the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, said there was a "joint horror" across the House at the number of people killed in the outbreak.
They included 85 NHS workers and 23 social care workers - a total of 108.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pointed to chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance's suggestion in March that keeping the death toll below 20,000 would be a good outcome.
"We're clearly way above that number and we're only part way through this crisis and we're possibly on track to have one of the worst death rates in Europe," Sir Keir said earlier.
He took issue with Mr Johnson's comments about the "apparent success" of the UK's strategy, adding: "Far from success these latest figures are truly dreadful."
Mr Raab told him it was too early to make international comparisons.
Earlier on Wednesday, Professor Newton, the UK's coronavirus national testing co-ordinator, told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "We have always known that a proportion of cases have been in care homes."
Sadly coronavirus affects older people a lot more... There will be a substantial number (of deaths)."
He added the Government is "massively increasing" the number of tests carried out on those living and working in care homes.