More than 20,000 people have now died with coronavirus in UK hospitals – the fifth country to pass that milestone
The grim milestone was reached after England recorded another 711 new deaths, Scotland 47 and Wales 23.
It means at least 20,287 people have now died in UK hospitals – the fifth highest death toll after the US, Italy, Spain and France.
However, it is estimated the figure could be around 40% higher when deaths from care homes, hospices and other settings are taken into account.
The government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said on March 17 that keeping the toll under the number of 20,000 would be ‘a good outcome in terms of where we would hope to get’.
As the death toll rises, the government is facing growing criticism over its response to the pandemic.
It was slower to impose a lockdown than European peers and is struggling to raise its testing capacity.
There are concerns that limited testing could mean a slow exit from lockdown and a worse hit for Britain’s economy, the world’s fifth largest.
The government’s target of hitting 100,000 tests per day by the end of April is just days away. Reaching it would require a big leap from the 28,532 tests carried out on 23 April, the last day for which data is available.u
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