LONDON—The United Kingdom’s suspected COVID-19 death toll has hit 55,398, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources that underline the country’s status as one of the worst hit in the world.
The Reuters tally comprises fatalities where COVID-19 was mentioned on death certificates in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland up to June 26, and up to June 28 in Scotland. It also includes more recent hospital deaths.
The Office for National Statistics said total deaths in England and Wales in the week to June 26 had now fallen below the five-year average for the second week running.
Britain is slowly returning to normality from the coronavirus lockdown. Pubs, restaurants and bars in England reopened on July 4 for the first time since March.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to “enjoy summer safely” as he bids to tread a narrow path of restoring consumer spending to help battered businesses recover, while avoiding a second wave of infections.
The rule changes applied only to England as the devolved nations in the United Kingdom have been setting their own timetables for easing restrictions, with Wales and Scotland easing restrictions more slowly.
In Scotland, outdoor hospitality areas, including beer gardens, reopened on July 6. Pubs and restaurants should be able to provide indoor service from July 15, according to the Scottish government’s route map out of lockdown.
The Welsh government said some hospitality establishments in Wales will be able to reopen outdoor service from July 13.
By Andy Bruce
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.