Britain’s coronavirus death toll has passed the 100,000 mark almost one year after the country, now in its third lockdown, reported its first infection.
“It’s hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic,” Prime Minister Johnson said in a televised address on Tuesday night. “You’d exhaust the thesaurus of misery … I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost.”
The devastating milestone – the fifth deadliest after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico – comes despite the UK’s steadfast vaccination campaign, the third biggest in the world.
The emergence of a new, more transmissible variant of the Covid-19 virus – now responsible for the majority of new infections – has propelled British deaths.
The country is weighing tighter travel restrictions in an effort to keep out other variants from Brazil and South Africa.
Critics say poor government decisions have contributed to the UK’s spiralling death toll, which is also blamed on high levels of obesity and heart disease – as well as London’s position as a travel hub.
Johnson has said he accepts full responsibility for the actions of his government.