U.K. Has More Coronavirus Deaths in One Day Than All EU Countries Combined

The United Kingdom on Wednesday reported that 359 additional people have died after contracting COVID-19. The daily number is higher than the combined total of COVID-19 deaths that the 27 countries in the European Union reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) for its June 3 situation report on the pandemic.

Announcing the U.K.'s latest numbers during a news conference Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country was taking steps to keep transmission rates on the decline in the hope of preventing a second wave.

"We need to take steps to manage the flare-ups and stop the virus from re-emerging," Johnson said.

Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to head to Parliament on June 3. The U.K. reported an additional 359 COVID-19 deaths that day. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty

Of the more than 382,000 people who have died of COVID-19 around the world, 39,728 have been U.K. residents, the Department of Health and Social Care reported Wednesday. The U.K. is second behind the U.S. on the list of countries that have reported the greatest number of COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.

In the EU, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium and Germany also rank among the top 10 countries in terms of COVID-19 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. Of the EU countries that sent updated case numbers to the WHO for its June 3 report, France had the highest number of new deaths, with 107 reported by Wednesday morning.

Though the data in the WHO's report appears to show a stark difference between the number of new deaths U.K. health officials reported Wednesday and the 332 COVID-19 deaths reported by the EU's 27 countries, the organization warned in the report that the data was not complete and that all countries were operating on different virus-reporting timelines. For the U.K., the number of deaths included in the WHO's report were from Tuesday, when health officials reported 324 new deaths.

"Differences are to be expected between information products published by WHO, national public health authorities, and other sources using different inclusion criteria and different data cut-off times," the WHO's report said. "While steps are taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, all data are subject to continuous verification and change."

The WHO did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment before publication.

While the threat from the virus remains high in the U.K., the country has in recent weeks taken steps to lift restrictions imposed during the spring. In mid-May, Johnson outlined his plan to restart the country's economy, with schools, shops and nurseries first on the reopening docket. Despite the moves to reopen, Johnson and other politicians voiced concern Wednesday over the virus's likelihood of returning, as other nations similarly began taking steps to reopen.

During an address to the House of Commons Wednesday, U.K. Secretary of State for the Home Department Priti Patel said the country would require individuals traveling into the country to self-isolate for two weeks before engaging with residents.

"We are past the peak, but we are now more vulnerable to infections being brought in from abroad," Patel said.

Most European countries still have tight restrictions in place to prevent travelers from bringing the virus into their communities, but Italy on Wednesday took a step none of the others have by becoming the first to reopen its borders to international travel.