Coronavirus: UK COVID-19 death toll soars as government includes care home victims for first time

Virus Outbreak Britain
Virus Outbreak Britain Copyright Frank Augstein/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Copyright Frank Augstein/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
By Victoria Smith
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The UK's COVID-19 death toll soars after government includes care home victims for the first time


The official UK COVID-19 death toll has leapt to 26,097 people after the government included deaths outside hospitals for the first time.

London added 4,419 new deaths on Wednesday after it switched to begin including fatalities in retirement homes.

The jump means the United Kingdom now has the third-highest official death toll in the world, behind the United States and Italy.

However direct comparisons of national figures are difficult to make, as reporting methods vary.

Introducing the new figures, the UK's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government was redoubling efforts to control the spread of the virus in nursing homes.

“The government says it’s seeking to quash the epidemic in care homes by bringing in extra kit, more testing and importantly ensuring some level of control over the people who go in and out of care homes who until up until now could have been taking the virus in,” Euronews correspondent Victoria Smith told Euronews Now.

Earlier the government said it was too early to consider lifting lockdown restrictions.

Dominic Raab said there was “light at the end of the tunnel” for health workers on the coronavirus frontline and parents at home with their children. But, he added, it was not time to talk about announcing a plan to exit confinement.

“We must not gamble away the progress we’ve made,” added Raab, saying the government would wait for a meeting of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in early May before making a decision.

The government has pledged to reach 100,000 tests for COVID-19 by April 30 -- this Thursday. Raab said 52,000 tests were carried out on Tuesday.

The foreign minister stood in for Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament, after Johnson his fiancée Carrie Symonds announced the birth of their baby boy.

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