The UK has reported a daily increase of 1,820 new coronavirus deaths on the country’s worst day of the pandemic, with opposition MPs blaming Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the government for the shocking figures.
The deaths from the past 24 hours take the total number of those who have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test to 93,290, while the number of deaths with the virus mentioned on the death certificate now stands at 101,880.
A further 38,905 Covid-19 cases were also reported on Wednesday, taking the UK to 3.5 million infections in total to date.
The latest data continues the downward trend in infections since England and the other nations entered their current lockdowns a fortnight ago.
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The UK’s previous record death increase was on Tuesday, when 1,610 new fatalities were reported, meaning the current figures are much higher than mortality during the peak of the pandemic in April.
Opposition politicians blasted the government over the grim new milestone, including the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, Angela Rayner, who, in a statement, labelled the number of deaths an “absolutely horrendous figure”.
Another absolutely horrendous figure. We cannot become numb to these numbers and the unimaginable grief that lies behind them. We should not be here. It was not inevitable, far from it this is a direct result of Boris Johnson's failure to learn from his own mistakes. https://t.co/7pEXEtfG56
— Angela Rayner 😷 (@AngelaRayner) January 20, 2021
“We should not be here. It was not inevitable – far from it. This is a direct result of Boris Johnson’s failure to learn from his own mistakes,” she said in a tweet.
Other Labour MPs described the death toll as a “catastrophe” of the government’s own making, and compared the UK’s numbers to the relatively small Covid mortality rates of other countries, including China.
1,820 UK Covid deaths recorded today In the past 24 hours: 0 deaths in New Zealand – pop 5m0 deaths in Taiwan – pop 24m0 deaths in Australia – pop 25m0 deaths in Vietnam – pop 96m1 death in Thailand – pop 70m2 deaths in China – pop 1,398mThey all have a Zero Covid plan.
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) January 20, 2021
Johnson described the figures as “appalling” during an interview on Wednesday.
“I’ve got to tell you… there will be more to come because what we’re seeing is the result of the wave of the new variant that we saw just before Christmas on December 18, or thereabouts,” the PM warned.
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Government data also shows that 4,609,740 people in the UK have now had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of Tuesday, while 460,625 people have had their second dose.
Data from a study in Israel has raised questions for the UK’s changed vaccine strategy of giving the first dose to as many people as possible, after it showed that the efficacy of a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may be just 33 percent.
The UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, told Sky News on Wednesday that the government would “keep measuring the numbers” related to the efficacy of vaccine doses.
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