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Covid-19 deaths fall as bank holiday affects registrations

A person leaves a message on the Covid memorial wall in central London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
A person leaves a message on the Covid memorial wall in central London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The number of deaths involving coronavirus registered in England and Wales has fallen for the first time in nine weeks – though the figure is likely to been affected by the May bank holiday.

A total of 735 deaths registered in the seven days to May 6 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is down 35% week-on-week and is the lowest number since mid-March.

It is also the first percentage drop since the beginning of March.

(PA Graphics)

The latest total covers a period that includes the bank holiday on Monday May 2, when most register offices were closed.

This means fewer deaths were registered than would normally be the case.

The disruption to registrations caused by the bank holiday means the overall trend in the number of deaths is unclear.

But with Covid-19 infections now falling sharply in England and Wales following the peak of the Omicron BA.2 wave, past evidence suggests the death figures should soon show a small but steady decline.

The 735 deaths registered in the seven days to May 6 is well below the 1,484 weekly deaths registered at the peak of the initial Omicron wave in January this year.

It is also some way below the 8,433 deaths registered at the peak of the second wave of the virus, in the week to January 29 2021.

Overall, 196,795 deaths have now occurred in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said.

The highest number on a single day was 1,487, on January 19 2021.

During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1,461 on April 8 2020.