The UK had the sixth toughest coronavirus lockdown in the world – but still one of worst death tolls, according to new data.
Researchers at Oxford University looked at 180 countries and what curbs were placed on citizens’ daily life – including school and office closures, bans on social gatherings, international travel restrictions and orders not to leave the home.
The Republic of Ireland was found to be the only country to impose tougher restrictions than the UK in Europe.
Compared to EU countries including Germany, France, Belgium, Slovenia ad the Czech Republic, the UK imposed the harshest restrictions – yet suffered the fourth highest death toll.
The UK also suffered the highest fatality rate from the virus out of the 10 countries with the harshest restrictions globally – possibly due to the lockdown measures being introduced after surges in deaths.
Cuba was ranked as toughest in the Oxford study, the death rate was 2.4 per 100,000 people, compared to 178 per 100,000 in the UK.
It comes after the number of lives lost to Covid-19 rose by 548 yesterday, while a further 8,489 people have tested positive.
It brings the total number of people to die within 28 days of a positive test to 121,305.
But the tragic daily figure represents a dramatic fall since last month’s peak, with the number of fatalities starting to drop sharply as the vaccine rollout gathers pace.
Last Tuesday there were 799 confirmed deaths, while a fortnight ago the figure was 1,052.
And a month ago, on January 23, the Department of Health confirmed 1,348 coronavirus deaths.
Latest figures show there were 16,797 Covid patients in UK hospital.
It came 24 hours after the Prime Minister announced his ‘roadmap’ to bring England out of lockdown, but warned that easing would cause the number of cases to rise.
Boris Johnson said easing will begin on March 8, and continue in phases until late June, when he hopes large gatherings will again be allowed.
But he said the government will be “driven by data, not dates”, and stressed the timetable was only provisional.
The government’s chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance told a media briefing the UK could see a big “resurgence” in cases as he praised moves to allow several weeks between each lockdown stage to assess the impact.
“The sooner you open up everything, the higher the risk of a bigger resurgence,” he said. “The slower you do it, the better.
The latest figures come as Downing Street insisted it remained confident in vaccine supplies despite falling numbers of doses being administered in recent days.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We continue to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people each day receive the vaccines.
“As we said from the start, there will be daily fluctuations in the number of people who receive it day-on-day but you are aware of our target to vaccinate all those within the first phase by mid-April and we are confident in our supply to be able to do that.”
That means offering a first dose to 32 million people across the UK by April 15.
The spokesman added that the Moderna vaccine will be available in the UK “in spring”, alongside the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs, to ensure that all adults can be offered a dose by the end of July.
Most severe lockdowns by country and deaths per 100,000 (figures from last week)
Cuba – 277 (2.4)
Eritrea – 7 (0.2)
Ireland – 4,036 (82.3)
Honduras – 3,933 (41)
Lebanon – 4,152 (60.6)
UK – 118,933 (178.4)
Peru – 44,056 (137.7)
Lesotho – 279 (13.2)
Venezuela – 1,297 (4.5)
Zimbabwe – 1,418 (9.8)
Germany – 66,732 (80.4)
US – 500,000 (152.3)
France – 82,705 (123.5)
-- to www.mirror.co.uk