LONDON: Britain’s COVID-19 death toll passed 20,000 on Saturday (Apr 25) in what the interior minister called “a tragic and terrible milestone” as she urged people to stay at home.

The government is facing growing criticism over its response to the new coronavirus pandemic as the death toll rises. Britain was slower to impose a lockdown than European peers and is struggling to raise its testing capacity.

The country now has the fifth-highest official coronavirus death toll in the world, after the United States, Italy, Spain and France, and scientists have said that the death rate will only start to decline quickly in another couple of weeks.

In mid-March, the government’s chief scientific adviser said keeping the death toll below 20,000 would be a “good outcome”.

The latest daily death toll of 813 hospital deaths brought the number of people who have tested positive for the illness and died in hospital to 20,319.

Interior minister Priti Patel said the country was not out of the woods yet, and pleaded with Britons to stay at home as more people start ignoring lockdown advice. Data showed car usage had started to rise this week.

Source: CNA

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