New estimates published by the Financial Times have revealed that the UK could have the second-highest coronavirus death toll in the world.
Some 41,000 deaths are thought to have been caused by Covid-19 in Britain, more than double the official figure of 17,337 released by ministers on Tuesday.
If the analysis proves to be correct it would mean the UK has the second-highest coronavirus death toll in the world behind America, which has 45,373 recorded deaths out of a population five times as big.
The extrapolation is based on figures from the ONS published on Tuesday that include deaths that occurred outside hospitals.
The 41,102 figure is a conservative estimate that takes into account the number of people who have died in residential care since the start of the outbreak, which is up by 11,000.
Sir Ed Davey today called for an independent inquiry to be held into the Government’s “shocking failures” and “slow response” to the coronavirus crisis.
The Prime Minister, who is recovering from a severe case of Covid-19, has faced allegations of being slow to act in imposing a lockdown on the UK as other countries took the drastic measure.
The Government has also been dogged by allegations of NHS staff and other key workers facing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), as it grapples with the pandemic.
Sir Ed said: “Once we are through this crisis, there will of course need to be an independent inquiry to officially review the Government’s response to the pandemic, so we can learn the lessons.
“The inquiry must have the strongest possible powers given the shocking failures on protective equipment for staff and the slow response of the Government – to get to the truth and to give Boris Johnson the opportunity to answer the increasingly serious questions.”