Britain’s coronavirus death toll is so high because the country receives so many international travellers, a government minister said today.
A total of 41,128 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for the deadly virus.
Shockingly, the UK is the second country in the world to reach such high figures – after the US with 115,000 deaths so far.
In an interview with Sky News this morning, housing minister Simon Clarke was questioned on whether UK scientists had got it wrong.
He was asked: “You say you’re listening to the scientists, did they then get it wrong?
“Look at New Zealand for example, they locked down much sooner.
“There are other countries that went into lockdown earlier and are coming out of this. They have had fewer lives lost and they are starting to rebuild their economy.
“Did our scientists get it wrong?”
In response, Mr Clarke said: “No, I don’t think they did.
“The truth is that Britain was always going to be hugely exposed to this virus because of some of the features of our society,” the local government minister said.
“We are a global travel hub – we were always going to face big challenges.”
A new report released yesterday found coronavirus spread across the world due to air travel.
A study by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said travellers flying domestically and internationally was “a major contributor to the spread of the virus.”
And it named the UK as an example of where a large number of flights “facilitated contagion of Covid-19.”
In previous months, the Government refused to restrict flights from countries with a high rate of the virus.
Just one day after the first death in the UK from coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government wouldn’t restrict flights.
On BBC Question Time, he said: “If this virus becomes established around the world, there is no way in stopping it from getting to Britain eventually.
“Do you try to shut ourselves off as a nation and delay it, and if it does go pandemic in the rest of the world it is inevitable that it would come here?
“Or do you try to keep as much normal life as possible and tackle it by finding those who do come in to the country?”