New data shows how the UK’s coronavirus death toll is increasing at a higher rate than other badly hit countries such as Italy, Spain and France.
The graph, released by Number 10 on Tuesday afternoon, shows a comparison of different countries’ death rates since 50 were recorded in each one.
When all settings – such as hospitals and care homes – are taken into account, it shows how the UK is ranking far above Italy, Spain and France.
The only country with a higher death rate is the United States, which is nearing one million confirmed COVID-19 cases.
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The worrying trend comes on a day when the UK’s official death toll in hospitals rose by 586 to 21,678.
This compares to the latest official death tolls in Italy (26,977), Spain (23,822) and France (23,293), according to Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, at the government’s daily coronavirus press conference on Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said the Department of Health will start recording care home and community deaths in addition to the hospital figures which are currently released every day.
He said it was part of an effort to “bring as much transparency as possible” to the death figures, saying it will “add to our understanding of how this virus is spreading day by day”.
In the same briefing, Hancock said the government is expanding the criteria for people who can be tested for COVID-19.
He announced that all people with coronavirus symptoms aged over 65 along with members of their households, as well as workers who have to leave home in order to do their jobs and their households, would be eligible for testing from Wednesday.
He said: “From construction workers to emergency plumbers, from research scientists to those in manufacturing, the expansion of access to testing will protect the most vulnerable and help keep people safe.
“It’s possible because we’ve expanded capacity for testing thus far.”