Coronavirus: UK becomes first European country to pass 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

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More than 50,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the U.K., making it the first country in Europe to cross the grim milestone.

Much of the U.K. is still struggling to slow the spread of the disease and the number of deaths has been increasing steadily.

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The U.K. reported 595 people have died from the disease on Wednesday within 28 days of a positive test, higher than the seven day rolling average of 360, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to keep following restrictions to stop the spread of the virus after the country went into a second lockdown earlier this month to avoid hospital services being overwhelmed.

Government scientific advisers estimated as many as 1,000 people a day could die from the disease over the winter, though it’s hoped a vaccine breakthrough and the new national measures will avoid that scenario.

The true death toll could be even higher. Mortalities this year are running at 55,000 more than the five-year average in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics. Only the U.S., Brazil, India, and Mexico have reported more deaths than the U.K., whose population is significantly smaller than each of those countries.

The government has closed pubs and restaurants, urged people to work from home and limited the number of weddings to try to lower the rate of infection. It plans to award contracts worth more than 40 billion pounds ($53 billion) to companies that can help in its drive to ramp up mass testing for the disease.

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