UK coronavirus death toll exceeds 38,000
Newly published statistics reveal that the United Kingdom has surpassed 38,000 in fatalities from covid-19 making its death toll by far the worst in Europe.
The Office of National Statistics has revealed that 34,978 people died from the virus in England and Wales by the 1st May. Combined with information made public in Scotland and Northern Ireland, this places the death toll at 38,289. 627 people are believed to have died over the past 24 hours.
The news comes as the UK has partially eased the lockdown while prolonging the majority of restrictions for another three weeks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticised by opposition parties for an allegedly contradictory and confusing message. Not all of the changes have been applied evenly throughout the country, with devolved authorities maintaining more restrictions than England.
The job retention scheme, used to prevent permanent mass lay offs, has been extended until October, although employers have been asked to contribute to the costs from August. According to Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, the scheme currently supports 7.5 million workers. They would be paid 80 percent of their wages, up to £2,500 a month, until the end of October as necessary. Yet the huge cost of the scheme means it cannot continue indefinitely. Currently costing £10 billion, it is in the same ballpark as the country’s spending on healthcare.
The UK is accumulating vast amounts of government debt, with the figure between May and July exceeding that which was initially planned for the entire financial year.
The net public sector debt could reach 14 percent of GDP, resulting in the biggest deficit since the Second World War.