By Daniel Gaffney
The UK death toll has surpassed Italy’s, meaning that Britain now has the highest number of coronavirus related deaths in Europe.
There have been over 32,000 deaths recorded across the UK – a figure Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said was “a massive tragedy”. The latest total for Italy, previously the highest in Europe, now stands at 29,315.
The government is adamant that there are certain ‘caveats’ drawing comparisons between the UK and Italy, including the British population being around 10% larger than Italy’s.
The debate over how to approach the figures is going to continue for some time as governments try to justify their response, as well as point the finger at China.
But this is not Eurovision. It is pointless trying to rank countries, because we can safely say that the European response as a whole has been lacklustre.
The EU’s ‘every man for himself’ policy has ultimately exacerbated the problem, because nations chose to go their own way, rather than collaborate through international institutions. Former Prime Minister Theresa May has criticised world leaders for failing “to forge a coherent international response” to the coronavirus pandemic. New Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, is expected to raise similar issues at Prime Minister’s Questions later today.
Instead, coronavirus has been treated as a national struggle. With many world leaders using the pandemic as a backdrop to push their own policies at home.
Although No.10 claimed that there has been “extensive collaboration” with other G7 leaders, real questions need to be asked about why Britain’s death toll is even close to Italy’s.