- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Britain could be more than 40% higher than the government’s count, according to new data from the country’s Office for National Statistics.

Britain has one of the highest infection and death rates from the coronavirus, behind the U.S. and several other European nations. But the new ONS data indicates a much wider spread of the highly contagious virus than initially reported.

As of Tuesday, the U.K. has reported 125,856 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, 16,550 deaths and 446 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Britain has a population of 66 million.

The ONS recorded 13,121 coronavirus deaths by April 10 across Britain and Wales. According to Reuters’ count, the government had reported 9,288 people who died in a hospital by that day.

The nearly 4,000-person difference lies in data the ONS received of coronavirus-linked deaths in elderly care homes and hospice facilities, in addition to those who have died in a hospital.

The British government said Monday it will launch a review into its handling of the coronavirus crisis once it has passed, after criticism that the government could have responded more quickly to the outbreak and implemented measures to slow the spread of the virus earlier.

Officials have said they are not looking to ease restrictions soon and have extended its coronavirus-related restrictions for an additional three weeks in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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