© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A paramedic closes an ambulance door outside the Royal London Hospital, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in London, Britain, January 7, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville
By David Millliken
LONDON (Reuters) – The UK’s official death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic rose above 150,000 on Saturday, government figures showed, following a record wave of cases due to the Omicron variant cause.
About 313 deaths within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 were reported on Saturday, bringing the total number of deaths in this measure to 150,057.
A broader but less timely measure of the number of deaths with COVID-19 on death certificates – including those who died early in the pandemic when testing was limited – was 173,248 as of last data. same on December 24.
“Coronavirus has taken a terrible toll on our country and today the recorded death toll has reached 150,000,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement. “Our way out of this pandemic is that everyone should get a booster shot or the first or second dose if they haven’t already.”
Britain has seen an increase in cases linked to the Omicron coronavirus variant in recent weeks, although the death rate has been lower than in previous waves of infections.
The government has focused on rolling out booster vaccinations – which have already reached more than 60% of the population – rather than demanding a return to the containment measures seen earlier during the pandemic.
About 1.227 million people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past seven days, 11% more than last week, while the weekly death toll increased 38% from the previous week’s 1,271.
There are tentative signs the number of new cases may have peaked, with 146,390 new cases reported on Saturday, down from a record 218,724 recorded on January 4.
The UK’s cumulative death toll is the second highest in absolute terms in Europe, behind only Russia.
But on a per capita basis, the United States, Italy, Belgium and some countries in Eastern Europe have higher cumulative mortality rates. Britain’s death rate is 7% higher than the European Union average, according to figures collated by Our World in Data.
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