Western Morning News
Boris says sorry as deaths in pandemic pass 100,000
BORIS JOHNSON has offered his “deepest condolences” to those who have lost relatives to coronavirus and pledged to ensure their loved ones are remembered, as the Government’s figure for Covid-19 deaths passed 100,000.
The Prime Minister said last night that, when the country comes through the crisis, “we will come together as a nation to remember everyone we lost and to honour the selfless heroism of all those on the front line who gave their lives to save others”.
Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: “I’m sorry to have to tell you that today the number of deaths recorded from Covid in the UK has surpassed 100,000... I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one – fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and the many grandparents who have been taken.”
Separate figures published by statistics agencies – together with additional data on deaths in recent days – show that there have been more than 115,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK where the virus has been mentioned on the death certificate.
Mr Johnson told the briefing it was “hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic – the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended and for so many relatives the missed chance to even say goodbye.
“I think, on this day, I should just really repeat that I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost and, of course, as I was Prime Minister, I take full responsibility for everything that the Government has done.”
He added: “What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering in what has been a very, very difficult stage, and a very, very difficult crisis for our country, and we will continue to do that, just as every government that is affected by this crisis around the world is continuing to do the same.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was a “national tragedy”, adding: “We must never become numb to these numbers or treat them as just statistics. Every death is a loved one, a friend, a neighbour, a partner or a colleague. It is an empty chair at the dinner table.”
Following the Prime Minister’s comments, England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said it was a “very sad day”.
Presenting slides of coronavirus data to the Downing Street press conference, he said the number of people testing positive for coronavirus was “still at a very high number, but it has been coming down”.
He cautioned that Office for National Statistics data demonstrates a slower decrease, adding: “I think we need to be careful we do not relax too early”.
He said the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK was still an “incredibly high number”.