More than 1,50,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting COVID-19, the British government said on January 8. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the virus has "taken a terrible toll on our country," and offered his condolences to people who have lost friends and relatives.
The U.K. is one of the most affected countries in Europe, second only to Russia, which has a reported death toll of almost 3,15,000. Globally, the U.K. is the seventh country to pass this grim milestone, following the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico and Peru.
What else did Boris Johnson say?
"Each and every one of those [deaths] is a profound loss to the families, friends and communities affected and my thoughts and condolences are with them," Johnson said in a tweet. He then urged citizens to get vaccinated and boosted, saying this is the way out of the pandemic. Around 61 per cent of the British population over the age of 12 has received a vaccine booster.
What is the coronavirus situation in the U.K.?
The number of daily reported cases in the U.K. reached a record 2,00,000 last week. In recent days, this has subsided slightly, with 1,46,390 cases reported on January 8. The U.K. has introduced new pandemic measures, including compulsory wearing of face masks by students in schools, but did not impose restrictions on social gatherings over the festive period.
Due to the massive increase in positive cases, the country's Defense Ministry announced on January 7 that it would send troops to assist hospital staff. A scientist advising the government said the number of deaths was an "absolute tragedy" and that "many of them were avoidable if we had acted earlier in the first and second wave."
sdi/nm (AFP, dpa)