London, 30 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) – England, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, suffered the longest period and highest level of excess mortality in Europe across the first half of 2020, according to data published on Thursday.
The British Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the analysis based on a comparison of provisional data from over 20 European countries between January 3 and June 12.
Of those, England had the highest excess mortality, at 7.55 per cent higher than the average mortality rate between 2015 and 2019.
Spain came in second with a rate 6.65 per cent higher than the five-year average. In Scotland, which ranked third, the rate was more than 5 per cent higher.
“While none of the four UK nations [England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland] had a peak mortality level as high as Spain or the worst-hit local areas of Spain and Italy, excess mortality was geographically widespread throughout the UK during the pandemic,” said Edward Morgan, statistician with the agency.
He noted that excess mortality rates were “more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe.”
According to the statistics agency, all-cause mortality is a good measure of comparison to gauge the impact of the coronavirus, as countries record Covid-19 deaths differently.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock separately announced that people with coronavirus symptoms in England would have to self-isolate for 10 days, up from seven days.
Hancock cautioned of a “second wave starting to roll across Europe,” adding “we’ve got to do everything” to prevent it hitting Britain, he told Sky News.