UK becomes first country in Europe to register more than 50,000 Covid deaths

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The UK has become the first country in Europe to register more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths.

New government data shows the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test has risen to more than 50,365, up by 595 fatalities in the past 24 hours.

A total of 61,648 people have now died since the start of the pandemic whose death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes, with 1,597 in the past week, the figures show.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the figures showed, despite hopes for a vaccine, "we are not out of the woods".

He said: "Every death is a tragedy," but added: "I do think we have got now to a different phase in the way that we treat it."

Speaking during a visit to a Tesco distribution centre in Erith, south-east London, he added: "After the tough autumn measures which I hope people will stick really, really rigidly as far as they can, we are very much hoping things will start to come to our aid.

"Number one is mass testing – the rapid turnaround testing – and the other is the realistic prospect of a vaccine.

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"We have two boxing gloves to pummel the disease in the weeks and month that follow but I have got to stress that we are not out of the woods yet. It does require everybody to follow the guidance."

On Tuesday coronavirus deaths in the UK increased by 532, the highest increase in six months.

Health authorities said 372 deaths occurred in UK hospitals, including 300 in England, 39 in Scotland, 22 in Wales, and 11 in Northern Ireland.

There were 13,617 coronavirus patients in hospital in England on Sunday, November 8, up from 11,557 a week ago.

It was the highest rise in fatalities since May 12, when 614 new deaths were recorded in the UK.

By contrast, the latest figures show Italy has had more than 42,000 coronavirus deaths, France has had more than 40,000 and Spain has had more than 39,000.

Only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico have recorded more coronavirus deaths than the UK.

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