England and Wales Virus Death Toll Begins to Slow on Lockdown

Deaths linked to Covid-19 in England and Wales fell in the first week of February, signaling the nation’s third lockdown is slowly bringing the virus under control even though fatalities remained close to the pandemic’s peak.

The number of deaths mentioning the disease fell 13% to 7,320 in the week through Feb. 5, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. The figure compares with a record 8,758 weekly fatalities registered during a first wave in April.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants the current lockdown to be the last as he draws up plans to gradually lift restrictions on socializing, shopping and transit. The successful rollout of the country’s vaccine program means he’s under pressure from his own party to lift curbs as early as April to help revive an economy that has suffered its worst recession in more than 300 years.

Deaths are a lagging indicator and may reflect a dramatic spike in infections around the turn of the year as the U.K. variant rapidly through the country, with the toll particularly high in London and the south east of England. More than 117,000 deaths in the U.K. have been linked to the virus.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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