Coronavirus Updates: UK reports 621 new COVID-19 deaths

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Coronavirus Updates: Death toll rises by 532 in UK as 20,412 new cases reported
Coronavirus Updates: Death toll rises by 532 in UK as 20,412 new cases reported

The UK’s COVID-19 death toll has risen by 621 to 28,131 as of May 1, just short of Italy.

As Britain shadows Italy for the grim status of being the worst-hit country in Europe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing criticism from opposition parties who say his government stumbled in the early stages of the outbreak.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick gave the latest UK figures at a Downing Street briefing on Saturday.

The US has had 64,740 deaths, followed by Italy with 28,710 and the UK on 28,131 and then Spain on 25,100, according to a Reuters tally.

Italy, which has a population of 60 million, said its death toll rose 474 as of Saturday. The UK has a population of about 67 million.

– Older people ‘would rebel’ against targeted lockdown

Many older people would rebel and risk going to prison if they were forced to remain locked down for a considerable period of time as younger people were treated differently, according to Baroness Ros Altmann.

The pensions expert and political campaigner on age-related issues, told Sky News: “If they are fit and healthy and need to get out for their own physical health then the idea that the government will tell them you are under house arrest while everybody else is out, and force them into solitary confinement… then I think they wouldn’t accept it.”

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the broadcaster Michael Palin also said it would be “very unfair” to treat large numbers of older people differently from others and policy makers had to be “very careful.”

For more on fears among older people about an extended lockdown, here is a recent Guardian piece by my colleague Mattha Busby.

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