International

More than 12,500 care home deaths linked to virus in U.K.

NHS workers participating in a national ‘Clap for carers’ in London on Thursday.

NHS workers participating in a national ‘Clap for carers’ in London on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Britain has the second highest death toll after the U.S.

More than 12,500 deaths of care home residents in Britain were linked to the coronavirus (COVID-19), according to figures released on Friday, heaping further pressure on the government over its handling of the pandemic.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 12,526 care home residents in England and Wales had died from the virus in March and April, with nearly three-quarters occurring within homes and the rest in hospitals. However, the ONS suggested the actual death toll of care home residents could be far higher, noting it had recorded 23,136 more fatalities in the first four months of the year than in the same period in 2019.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had said on Thursday that “the vast majority” of care homes had seen no virus cases and that the rate of deaths in them was less than in neighbouring European countries.

The ONS and regional U.K. health bodies reported earlier this week they had registered 36,473 deaths from or mentioning the virus up until May 1 — a tally second only to the U.S. The figures also indicated that Britain’s excess mortality, which experts have said is the truest indicator of the virus’ impact, was close to 50,000.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has been criticised for its response to the outbreak, particularly in relation to care homes, with accusations they have been abandoned during the pandemic.

Opposition parties and whistleblowers in the care sector have said hospitals allowed patients to be discharged from hospital into homes without adequate testing to determine if they had the virus.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 7:48:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/more-than-12500-care-home-deaths-linked-to-virus-in-uk/article31596182.ece

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