Britain on Tuesday 26th January 2021 became the first European country to pass 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, in a grim milestone nearly one year since its first case of the disease.
But the number of confirmed new infections is declining steadily amid a third lockdown and the world’s third-highest vaccination rate.
Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest.
The US has recorded more than 400,000 Covid-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times more than that of the UK.
The Department of Health said 100,162 people have died after testing positive, including 1,631 new deaths reported Tuesday.
“It’s hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a televised news conference.
The UK toll is more than twice as many people as were killed by Nazi bombs during the 1940-41 Blitz, and 30,000 more than the total number of British civilians killed during the entire Second World War.
The first confirmed British victim of the virus was Peter Attwood, an 84-year-old pensioner who died on January 30, 2020 – though the cause was not recorded as Covid-19 until months later.
High vaccination rate
Despite suffering a high death toll, the UK has so far been a success when it comes to vaccinations.
Britain boasts the world’s third highest number of Covid-19 doses administered per capita, behind Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
It had given out a vaccine dose to 10.79 percent of its population by January 25, compared to just 2.29 percent in Germany and 1.67 percent in France, according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data tracker.
The UK became the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech jab on December 2, and the first country to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on December 30.
Britain approved the Moderna jab on January 8.
By contrast, the EU did not approve its first vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, until December 21.
The UK’s number of confirmed new cases peaked at 68,053 on January 8 and has since fallen steadily, declining to 20,088 on January 26.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and ASB News)
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