LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom passed 50,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 on Wednesday, with a recent rise in infections leading to a new grim milestone for the European country hit hardest by the pandemic.
The United Kingdom has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered England back into a month-long national lockdown amid concerns that a second wave of infections could overwhelm the health service.
New government figures showed 595 new deaths of people within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since 614 deaths were reported on May 12.
That brought the total death toll from COVID-19 to 50,365.
“Sadly the upward trend is likely to continue and it will be several weeks before any impact of the current measures – and the sacrifices we are all making – is seen and is reflected in the data,” Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director of Public Health England, said in a statement.
“By limiting contact with others, you are helping to stop the spread of the virus. This will lead to fewer infections and help to save lives.”
There were 22,950 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest daily figures, up from 20,412 on Tuesday.
Asked about the milestone, Johnson told broadcasters: “Every death is a is a tragedy and we mourn everybody who’s gone.”