The UK just reported more COVID-19 deaths in one day than the whole of the EU combined

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Boris Johnson has insisted he remains proud of the government's response to coronavirus despite the country's high death toll. (PA)

The UK recorded more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday than every member state of the EU combined.

The Department of Health added another 359 fatalities to the nation’s death toll, while all 27 EU countries recorded a total of 332.

France accounted for 107 death, Oxford University data shows, with Sweden adding 65 and Italy 55.

The data shows the extent of the outbreak in the UK compared to Europe as countries across the continent ease their lockdown.

However, the figures could be skewed by the way Spain reports its cases. It reported low totals last week but Reuters said the new way it counts deaths will lead to fluctuations and totals being revised in the future.

In England it is now possible to meet five other people outdoors, including in gardens, with non-essential shops set to open in mid-June.

Oxford University data shows the EU countries' tolls for 3 June. (Our World in Data/Oxford University)

The UK’s death toll of 359, a far lower number than the levels seen at the height of the outbreak, is still higher than Germany’s worst recorded day, which saw 333 fatalities in early April.

Deaths in the UK are trending downward but remain far higher than other European countries.

As a result there are concerns about restrictions being eased up too quickly, and Boris Johnson was warned of a global second wave of coronavirus on Wednesday.

The prime minister said it was a “very important thought that there could be a second wave across the world, as though the pandemic has its own kinetic force in itself”.

“It’s possible there could be a second pulse of this disease.”

Areas of Spain, including its beaches, have been reopening as its coronavirus deaths fell. (SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

He insisted he was “very proud” of his government’s response to the pandemic, despite the UK passing the 50,000 death mark and continuing to hold the worst death toll of all European countries. Only the US has a worse official toll.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned some countries had seen a rise in new cases as restrictions were eased.

He said: “It’s fantastic news numbers are coming down across Europe and have come down to low levels in Spain. It’s also the case, if you look in other countries, they are beginning to see outbreaks as measures are relaxed.”

The BBC reported that chief medical officers stopped Johnson’s plan to reduce the epidemic alert level to three from four.

The alert level can serve as an indicator of how the coronavirus is transmitting and whether restrictions should be eased.

Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, on Sunday said the UK remains in a “very dangerous moment”, and has urged the public to ensure they stick to the social distancing rules.

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