The British government on Wednesday slashed the country’s coronavirus toll by over 5,000 after adopting a new method to count the deaths, Reuters reported.
UK will from now only take into account the deaths that have happened within 28 days of patients testing positive for the coronavirus, according to the Department of Health. Since the UK previously had no cut-off time for recording coronavirus deaths, health experts had expressed concern that the count may have also included deaths due to other causes.
With the implementation of the new method, UK’s toll was lowered from 46,706 to 41,329. The new system has been agreed upon by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so that UK’s toll is recorded in a consistent manner from now.
UK has reported more than 3.15 lakh coronavirus cases so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Its toll is the highest among European countries.
“The way we count deaths in people with Covid-19 in England was originally chosen to avoid underestimating deaths caused by the virus in the early stages of the pandemic,” John Newton, director of heath improvement at Public Health England, told the news agency. “Our analysis of the long-term impact of the infection now allows us to move to new methods.”
Public Health England also said that people who die more than 28 days but less than 60 days after testing positive for the coronavirus will be added to the toll only if their death certificate mentions the infection, according to AP.