(Australian Associated Press)
The number of deaths involving coronavirus registered each week in England and Wales has climbed to its highest level for five months.
A total of 668 deaths registered in the week ending August 27 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is up 17 per cent on the previous week, and is the highest number since 719 deaths were registered in the week to March 26.
Deaths had dipped as low as 84 in the week to June 11.
The latest figures show the impact of the third wave of Covid-19, which began in the UK in May and has led to an increase in the number of new cases of coronavirus as well as a smaller but steady rise in hospital patients.
The number of deaths is still well below the level seen at the peak of the second wave, however.
Some 8433 deaths involving Covid-19 were registered in England and Wales in the week to January 29.
The relatively low number of deaths in the third wave so far, when compared with the second wave of the virus, reflects the success of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the country.
Vaccinations in England are estimated to have directly averted 105,900 deaths, according to latest research by Cambridge University and Public Health England.
There are still more people dying than normal for this time of the year, however.
The total number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to August 27 was 12.1 per cent above the pre-pandemic five-year average, the ONS said, the equivalent of 1111 more deaths.
It is the eighth week in a row where the ONS has reported extra deaths, or “excess deaths”.
The number of excess deaths in private homes in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic now stands at 68,411, according to analysis by the PA news agency.
Of this number, just 8249, or 12 per cent, were deaths that involved Covid-19.
Overall, 158,418 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 1484 on January 19.
During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1461 on April 8 2020.