The UK’s Covid death toll has passed 150,000, heartbreaking figures released this morning reveal.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the virus had been mentioned on 150,418 death certificates by April 2.
This includes 450 fatalities in the seven days to Friday, April 2 – a drop of 350 compared to the previous week.
Since then there have been an additional 284 deaths announced by the Department of Health, meaning at least 150,702 people have died after contracting the virus.
Only the USA, Mexico, Brazil and India have recorded more coronavirus deaths than the UK.
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The was encouraging news in the ONS figures, however, as it emerged that the overall number of deaths was lower than average for the fourth week in a row.
Analysis by The Mirror last month revealed that in the first year of the pandemic, an average of 2,300 more people died than normal in England and Wales each week.
Across the UK, there were 9,458 deaths from all causes registered in the week to April 2 – 2,088 fewer deaths than the UK five-year average, and 1,991 fewer deaths than the previous week.
Deaths in all four countries of the UK were below the five-year average for the fourth consecutive week.
England had the highest number of deaths involving Covid-19 with 385 deaths, followed by Scotland with 38 deaths, Wales with 15 deaths and Northern Ireland with 12 deaths.
The ONS figures differ from the government’s official death toll, which records fatalities within 28 days of a positive test.
Last night the Department of Health figure stood at 127,100 after a further 13 deaths were announced yesterday.
Earlier today it was announced that over-45s in England can now book an appointment to be vaccinated – but within minutes high demand led the NHS England website to crash.
Until now the NHS in England had been focusing on offering vaccines to those at highest risk including people over the age of 50 and people deemed to be “clinically extremely vulnerable”.
The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation, which decides the priority list for vaccines, is expected to set out its advice for the under-50s shortly.
Meanwhile, a third vaccine is now being rolled out in England, by the firm Moderna.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, said the move “marks another milestone” in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
It is the third vaccine to be added to the NHS “armoury”, alongside the Covid-19 vaccines from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer.