Sir Keir Starmer: Coronavirus death toll ‘truly dreadful’

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in the UK is “truly dreadful”.

At Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, Sir Keir challenged Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over emerging figures for those who have died outside of hospital.

He quoted a total of 27,241 recorded deaths so far, made up of 21,678 in hospitals, 4,343 in care homes and a further 1,220 reported in the community.

The opposition leader cited chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance’s indication last month that the government hoped to keep the overall number of deaths from coronavirus to below 20,000.

He said Britain was “clearly way above that number” and claimed the country could be on track for one of the worst death rates in Europe.

Mr Starmer continued: “On Monday, the Prime Minister said in his short speech that many were looking at our apparent success in the UK. But does the First Secretary agree with me that far from success these latest figures are truly dreadful?”

Responding, Mr Raab said that he shared the “joint horror” at the number of deaths but added that it was “far too early to make international comparisons”.

“This is an unprecedented pandemic, a global pandemic, and I think in fairness we shouldn’t criticise either the CMO (chief medical officer) or the deputy CMO for trying to give some forecast in response to the questions that many in this chamber and many in the media are calling for.”

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