The death toll from COVID-19 in the UK has exceeded 150,000 following the rise of Omicron Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Healthcare Worker Closes Ambulance Door In Front Of Royal London Hospital, Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) In London, UK, January 7, 2022. REUTERS / Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – The official death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom rose above 150,000 on Saturday, government figures show, following a record wave of cases caused by the Omicron variant.

About 313 deaths were reported on Saturday within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, bringing the total number of deaths to 150,057 by this measure.

The broader but less timely mortality rate from COVID-19 in the morgue – which includes deaths in the early stages of a pandemic when testing was limited – was 173,248 as of December 24th.

In Britain, there has been an increase in cases associated with the Omicron coronavirus variant in recent weeks, although mortality rates have been lower than during previous waves of infection.

The British government has focused on introducing additional vaccinations – which have reached more than 60 per cent of the population – instead of demanding a return to the isolation measures we saw earlier during the pandemic.

About 1.227 million people have been positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days, 11% more than the week before, while the weekly death toll rose 38% from the week before to 1271.

There are indicative signs that the number of new cases may have peaked, with 146,390 new cases reported on Saturday, down from a record 218,724 on January 4th.

Britain’s cumulative death toll is second in absolute terms in Europe, behind Russia alone.

But per capita, the United States, Italy, Belgium and several Eastern European countries have higher cumulative mortality rates. The mortality rate in Britain is 7% higher than the European Union average, according to data collected by Our World in Data.

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