Boris Johnson claims ‘massive success’ in reducing coronavirus deaths despite highest excess mortality in Europe
Boris Johnson was speaking during a visit to North Yorkshire (Sky News)
Boris Johnson has claimed the nation "has had a massive success" in reducing coronavirus deaths, on the day it was revealed England has recorded the highest excess mortality in Europe.
The Prime Minister told people "we're not out of the woods" as he warned of a resurgence in Covid-19 across the globe.
He spoke during a visit to North Yorkshire after figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed Spain suffered the highest peak of additional mortality between February and mid-June across the continent.
But while England was in second place, it “did have the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared”, meaning it fared worse than any other country between February and mid-June, the stats body said.
Asked if he was ashamed over the comparison, the PM said: "We mourn every loss of life that we've had throughout the coronavirus epidemic.
"What I would say to them [the families] is that we really owe it to them to continue our work in driving the virus down.
"Clearly this country has had a massive success now in reducing the numbers of those tragic deaths.”
Mr Johnson added: "We've got it at the moment under some measure of control. The numbers of deaths are well, well down.
"But I have to tell you that we're looking at a resurgence of the virus in some other European countries.
"You can see what's been happening in the United States.”
He also said: "It's absolutely vital as a country that we continue to keep our focus and our discipline and that we don't delude ourselves that somehow we're out of the woods or that this is all over, because it isn't all over."
And the PM urged people to continue observing the coronavirus guidelines, saying that despite progress with drugs and a vaccine, they are the best way to keep the virus at bay.
"But broadly speaking, the only way to control coronavirus is if everybody collectively obeys the social distancing rules and works together to drive the virus down," he added.
"So that's why I make this point that I do - we've done a huge amount. Together we've really reduced the incidence of the virus and we've got the number of deaths down.
"But it can come up again, and we've seen what is happening in other European countries, so what I'm saying to people is don't lose focus, don't lose discipline, continue to observe those guidelines and if you have symptoms, get a test."