UK tube metro covid mask
Passengers, wearing masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, travel via a London Underground tube train during the morning rush hour in London. Image Credit: AFP

London: The United Kingdom became the first country in Western Europe to register over 3 million COVID-19 cases, according to new government data.

The UK recorded 59,937 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 3,017,409, reported CNN.

The country also crossed 80,000 coronavirus-related deaths, with 1,035 new deaths added to the total in the past 24 hours. The total number of deaths stands at 80,868.

Deaths are up 51.3 per cent from the week before, the seven-day average published on Saturday shows, while the number of people testing positive is up 22.1 per cent, reported CNN.

On Friday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a ‘major incident’ here due to an ‘out of control’ surge of COVID-19 cases in hospitals in wake of the rapid spread of the virus, and said that it has left the National Health Service (NHS) on the verge of being overwhelmed.

Virus threat

“We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die. Londoners continue to make huge sacrifices and I am today imploring them to please stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave. Stay at home to protect yourself, your family, friends and other Londoners and to protect our NHS,” he said.

Meanwhile, Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils informed that 1 in 30 Londoners was infected with the virus.

“Cases are rising at a dangerous rate in London, putting extreme pressure on the NHS. One in 30 Londoners now has Covid. This is why public services across London are urging all Londoners to please stay at home except for absolutely essential shopping and exercise,” she said.

The UK is currently under nationwide lockdown, which came into force on January 6 as a more transmissible variant of COVID-19 fuelled a surge in infections and hospitalisations in the country.