England and Wales had nearly 3,000 Covid deaths week before Christmas, ONS figures show

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Almost 3,000 people died from coronavirus in England and Wales in the week up to Christmas Day, new figures show.

Coronavirus was mentioned on one in four death certificates that week (25.3% of all fatalities), said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A total of 2,912 Covid-19 deaths were registered in the seven days to December 25, a slight decrease of 2.5% from the previous week, when there were 2,986 fatalities.

However, the ONS said the actual total is higher because the Christmas Day bank holiday resulted in fewer deaths being registered.

England's total was 2,631 deaths involving coronavirus, accounting for 24.6% of all fatalities, while Wales' 278 Covid-19 deaths accounted for 33.7% of all fatalities.

The Government's official death toll is 76,305 as of Tuesday.

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Medics transport a patient from an ambulance to the Royal London Hospital
(Image: REUTERS)

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However, the true toll is more than 92,000 when fatalities where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate are included.

On Tuesday, the UK set a record for daily confirmed cases as 60,916 people tested positive in the previous 24 hours.

It is the first time the daily number has passed 60,000.

It brought the total number of cases in the UK to 2,774,479.

England entered its third national lockdown on Tuesday and Wales has been in alert level 4 since December 20.

In its weekly update, the ONS said the number of deaths involving Covid-19 decreased in five of the nine English regions compared with the previous week, but it again said the bank holiday would have affected registrations.

Fatalities continued to increase in the North East, East and London, where a mutant strain of the virus has been raging out of control for weeks.

In Wales, there was a week-on-week increase involving coronavirus fatalities (from 256 to 278).

The ONS said 11,520 deaths from all causes were registered in England and Wales in the week ending December 25.

This is 44.8% above the five-year average (3,566 deaths higher).

Statistical modelling suggests the number of deaths that actually occurred was between 12,683 and 16,574.

The ONS said "A decrease between Weeks 51 and 52 is usually observed because of the impact of the Christmas bank holidays."

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