The death toll in Britain from the coronavirus pandemic passed 100,000 people on Tuesday as the government battled to speed up vaccination delivery and keep variants of the virus at bay.
Many more deaths would follow before a vaccination programme began to take effect, England’s chief medical officer said.
Britain has the world’s fifth highest toll from COVID-19 and reported a further 1,631 deaths and 20,089 cases on Tuesday.
The 100,162 deaths are more than Britain’s civilian toll in World War Two and twice the number killed in the 1940-41 Blitz bombing campaign.
“It’s hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic, the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended, and for so many relatives the missed chance, even to say goodbye,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“We will make sure we learn the lessons and reflect and prepare,” said Johnson, whose government has faced heavy criticism for its handling of the crisis.
England, by far the most populous of the United Kingdom’s four nations, re-entered a national lockdown on Jan. 5, which includes the closure of pubs, restaurants, non-essential shops and schools to most pupils. Further travel restrictions have been introduced.
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