Britain’s death toll in the coronavirus outbreak rose to 28,446 on Sunday, after the government reported 315 more fatalities in hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
The figure is just below Europe’s worst-hit country, Italy. A total of 186,599 people have tested positive, up 4,339 on Saturday’s figures. But ministers say the country is past the peak.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to reveal how the country will leave the lockdown that began March 23. The restrictions are due to last through Thursday, but with hundreds of deaths still being reported daily — twice as many recently as Italy or Spain — it’s unclear how the country can safely loosen the restrictions.
While Johnson says Britain is past the peak of its coronavirus outbreak, his Conservative government is facing sharp criticism as it becomes clear that Britain will have one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the world. British medical workers have also complained about a shortage of protective equipment.
The 55-year-old Johnson, who spent three nights in intensive care while being treated for COVID-19, told The Sun newspaper that he knew his doctors were preparing for the worst.
“It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it,’’ he said. “They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario’’ if he succumbed to the virus.