United Kingdom joins four other nations with over 20,000 Covid-19 deaths

Grant Boone
April 26, 2020

People wearing face masks cross Millennium Bridge, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues, in London, Britain, April 25, 2020.

The UK has become the fifth country to pass 20,000 deaths in hospital from Covid-19, behind the US, Italy, Spain and France.

The total number of fatalities is likely to be much higher, largely because deaths in care homes are not included in the government's daily update on direct fatalities. As of 10 April, the hospital toll underestimated deaths by about 40%.

At the Downing Street briefing, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "As the deaths caused by this bad virus pass another tragic and awful milestone, the entire nation is grieving".

The government's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said on 17 March that keeping the toll under 20,000 would be "a good outcome in terms of where we would hope to get".

Still, some businesses are planning to reopen after implementing social distancing measures.

On easing of the current lockdown, Ashton said when people start to return to work, they should be regularly tested for the virus, and at the same time ensure older people were shielded.

Britain is to co-host virtually on May 4 a new Coronavirus Global Response Summit, aiming to raise money to develop vaccines, treatments and tests to help contain the coronavirus pandemic, announced the government Friday.

'A very sad day' as Britain passes milestone of 20,000 deaths - Powis
As the death toll rises, the government is facing growing criticism over its response to the pandemic. Data showed auto usage had started to rise this week.

Britain has been looking to ramp up the capacity and number of testing facilities available.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still recovering after falling seriously ill with COVID-19 earlier this month and in his absence, government ministers have been struggling to explain high death rates, limited testing and shortages of protective equipment for medical workers and carers.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: "As of 5pm on 24 April, of those hospitalised in the United Kingdom who tested positive for coronavirus, 20,319 have sadly died".

That is likely to put further pressure on the government given its target of hitting 100,000 tests per day by the end of April is just days away.

Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, said it may take "many years" before the full impact of the pandemic is felt.

Striking a positive note, Powis claimed that the NHS had not been overwhelmed in the way that hospitals in some other countries have been.

"If it is less than 20,000... that would be a good result, though every death is a tragedy, but we should not be complacent about that", he said.

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