Sorrow of 100,000 Covid death toll hard to compute: UK PM

London - Britain has the fifth highest toll globally; a lot more Covid deaths expected.



By Reuters

Published: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 9:07 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 9:40 PM

More than 100,000 Britons have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, official data showed on Tuesday, a grim new milestone as the government battles to speed up vaccination delivery and keep variants of the virus at bay.

Britain has the fifth highest toll globally and reported a further 1,631 deaths and 20,089 cases on Tuesday, according to government figures.

The 100,162 deaths are more than the country's civilian toll in World War Two and twice the number killed in the 1940-41 Blitz bombing campaign, although the total population was lower then.

"My thoughts are with each and every person who has lost a loved one - behind these heart-breaking figures are friends, families and neighbours," health minister Matt Hancock said.

"I know how hard the last year has been, but I also know how strong the British public’s determination is and how much we have all pulled together to get through this."

England, by far the most populous of the UK's four nations, re-entered a national lockdown on Jan. 5, which includes the closure of pubs, restaurants, non-essential shops and schools to most pupils. Further travel restrictions have been introduced.

In December, Britain became the first country in the world to approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and has set itself the task of offering jabs to everyone 70 and over, those who are clinically vulnerable, frontline health and social care workers and older adults in care homes by mid-February.

A total of 6,853,327 people have now received a first dose and 472,446 a second dose.

'Sorrow of 100,000 Covid death toll hard to compute'

The sorrow of Britain's Covid-19 death toll, which passed 100,000 on Tuesday, was hard to compute, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

"It's hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic, the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended, and for so many relatives the missed chance, even to say goodbye," he told a news conference.

Johnson said his government had done everything it could to minimise loss of life in the coronavirus pandemic.

"I take full responsibility for everything that the government has done," Johnson said on Tuesday. "What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering."

Quite a lot more Covid deaths: Chief Medical Officer

Britain will see more deaths from coronavirus before a vaccination programme takes effect, England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty said on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately we're going to see quite a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccines begin to be felt," he said.


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