Lowest proportion of weekly coronavirus-related fatalities since lockdown as death toll passes 45,000

Rows of graves are prepared in Sixmile Cemetery in County Antrim Credit: PA

Less than a fifth of deaths registered in the week ending May 29 in England and Wales involved coronavirus – the lowest proportion since the week lockdown was imposed, figures show.

There were 9,824 deaths registered in the week ending May 29 – a fall from the previous week but still 1,653 deaths higher than what would usually be expected, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Of these, 1,822 involved Covid-19 – 18.5% of the total that week and the lowest number of weekly coronavirus deaths for eight weeks.

Despite deaths continuing to fall, there are still around 20% more weekly deaths than the average for normal times, and the death toll for the UK is now at least 45,000.

The total for England and Wales is 45,748, before adding on deaths in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The total number of excess deaths has passed 63,500, with Tuesday’s figures showing 57,961 excess deaths in England and Wales between March 21 and May 29 2020.

Added together with the numbers of excess deaths for Scotland and Northern Ireland published last week, the total number of excess deaths in the UK across this period now stands at 63,596.

All figures are based on death registrations.

In the week ending May 29, there were 819 more deaths in care homes compared with the five-year average, and 30 fewer deaths in hospitals.

It is also the first time the proportion of weekly coronavirus deaths has fallen to under a fifth since the week lockdown was imposed, the week ending March 27, when the virus accounted for 5% of the deaths.

While numbers are falling, there have been tens of thousands of “excess” deaths compared to the average number of deaths over five years for the same period.