The UK now has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe after new official figures revealed that more than 32,000 people have died from the virus.
The Office for National Statistics announced today that 29,648 deaths were registered in England and Wales by 2 May with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificates.
With the addition of deaths in Scotland and Northern Ireland, this takes the UK’s death toll to 32,313, according to calculations by Reuters.
This figure far exceeds the death toll of 29,029 in Italy – until now Europe’s worst-hit country, although Italy’s total does not include suspected cases.
Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, tweeted that the care home figures showed it was “meaningless” to talk of being past the peak of the outbreak as Boris Johnson claimed last week.
She called for urgent action to get PPE to staff on the frontline and tests for care workers.
The UK’s deputy chief medical officer for England, Jenny Harris has warned against international comparisons, but the dire picture will surely lead to more questions about the government’s response.