UK virus death toll passes 100,000 - RTHK
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UK virus death toll passes 100,000

2021-01-27 HKT 03:40
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The death toll in Britain from the coronavirus pandemic passed 100,000 people on Tuesday as the government battled to speed up vaccination delivery and keep variants of the virus at bay.

Many more deaths would follow before a vaccination programme began to take effect, England's chief medical officer said.

Britain has the world's fifth highest toll from Covid-19 and reported a further 1,631 deaths and 20,089 cases on Tuesday.

The 100,162 deaths are more than Britain's civilian toll in the second world war and twice the number killed in the 1940-41 Blitz bombing campaign.

"It's hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic, the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended, and for so many relatives the missed chance, even to say goodbye," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

"We will make sure we learn the lessons and reflect and prepare," said Johnson, whose government has faced heavy criticism for its handling of the crisis.

England re-entered a national lockdown on January 5, which includes the closure of pubs, restaurants, non-essential shops and schools to most pupils. Further travel restrictions have been introduced.

In December, Britain became the first country in the world to approve Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine. It has set itself the task of offering vaccination to everyone 70 and over, those who are clinically vulnerable, frontline health and social care workers and older adults in care homes by mid-February.

Up to Monday, a total of 6,853,327 people had received a first dose and 472,446 a second dose.

The government has said the vaccination rate and the success of the vaccinations are key to being able to ease restrictions as Britain battles with the highest deaths per 100,000 people in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

"Unfortunately we're going to see quite a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccines begin to be felt," Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer said. (Reuters)