English health officials are carrying out an urgent review of coronavirus statistics after it was revealed they may have included those who tested positive long before their death.
The UK government's daily coronavirus death toll update was “paused” by the Department of Health, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for an “urgent review” into how Covid-19 deaths in England are counted.
“Currently the daily deaths measure counts all people who have tested positive for coronavirus and since died, with no cut-off between time of testing and date of death,” an update on the Department’s website said on Friday.
“There have been claims that the lack of cut-off may distort the current daily deaths number,” the update also said.
The UK's Mail on Sunday has reported that the way fatalities are recorded may have exaggerated England's death toll by more than 4,000.
Ian Diamond, the UK's National Statistician at the Office for National Statistics told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "It's really, really important to recognize that different statistics are used for different things."
Diamond said that while daily death data could be used to spot trends over the course of a few days, ONS data should be used for "accurate" data.
Speaking on the the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the BBC's Health Editor Hugh Pym said it had emerged that "Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have been recording deaths in one way -- everybody who tested positive and died within 28 days of the test was said to be part of the daily reported deaths figures from Covid. But England through Public Health England was saying anyone who tested positive, maybe going back a couple of months, and subsequently died -- even if it was from another cause -- was included in these daily reported figures."
UK's infection rate "basically flat": The UK is "basically flat" when it comes to the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus, Diamond said Sunday.
When asked by Sky News' Sophy Ridge whether the government's gradual easing of lockdown restrictions had led to an uptick of people testing positive, Diamond said: "No we haven't -- we're basically flat over the last few weeks."