Excess deaths in UK during coronavirus pandemic passes 65,000

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty - Credit: PA

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest data for the number of deaths surrounding coronavirus, showing the UK has passed another grim milestone.

Tuesday's figures from the ONS show there were 59,252 excess deaths in England and Wales between March 21 and June 12 2020.

Data published last week by the National Records of Scotland found there were 4,877 excess deaths in Scotland between March 16 and June 14, while the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency put the figure for Northern Ireland at 972 excess deaths between March 28 and June 12.

Together, this means the total number of excess deaths in the UK across this period now stands at 65,101.

Excess deaths are the number of deaths that are above the five-year average.

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It comes as doctors have nurses have called for the government to conduct a review to ensure that the country is prepared for a second wave and gets 'ahead of the curve'.

This review should focus 'areas of weakness' where action is needed to prevent further deaths and help restore the economy, they said in a letter published in The BMJ.

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The total number of deaths in the UK involving Covid-19 has risen to more than 54,000, according to PA news agency analysis.

'Several countries are now experiencing Covid-19 flare-ups,' the authors wrote.

'While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk. Many elements of the infrastructure needed to contain the virus are beginning to be put in place, but substantial challenges remain.

'The job now is not only to deal urgently with the wide-ranging impacts of the first phase of the pandemic, but to ensure that the country is adequately prepared to contain a second phase.'

They point to a recent editorial calling for a paid review of what needs to be done to prevent or prepare for a second wave.

'We believe that such a review is crucial and needs to happen soon if the public is to have confidence that the virus can be contained,' they wrote, adding: 'We believe this will be essential if the UK is to get ahead of the curve.'

Such a review should be cross-party and with the support of all UK nations, with the first results available in August and the work completed by October, they added.

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