Health department says 100,162 people have died after testing positive, the fifth-highest toll in the world.
The United Kingdom has become the first country in Europe to record more than 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to official figures by the health department.
The UK has the fifth-highest toll globally – after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico – and reported a further 1,631 deaths and 20,089 new cases on Tuesday, with critics accusing the government of an apparent slow initial response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The 100,162 deaths registered are more than the country’s civilian death toll in World War II and twice the number killed in the 1940-1941 Blitz bombing campaign, although the total population was lower then.
“My thoughts are with each and every person who has lost a loved one – behind these heart-breaking figures are friends, families and neighbours,” health minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday.
“I know how hard the last year has been, but I also know how strong the British public’s determination is and how much we have all pulled together to get through this.”
England, by far the most populous of the UK’s four nations, re-entered a national lockdown on January 5, which includes the closure of pubs, restaurants, non-essential shops and schools to most pupils. Further travel restrictions have been introduced as the government battles to speed up vaccination delivery and keep variants of the virus at bay.
In December, the UK became the first country in the world to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and has set itself the task of offering jabs to everyone 70 and older, those who are clinically vulnerable, front-line health and social care workers and older adults in care homes by mid-February.
Much of the blame for the UK’s poor performance in battling the virus has been laid at the door of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who came down with COVID-19 in the last year and ended up in intensive care.
Al Jazeera and News agencies