LONDON: Britain has overtaken Italy as the worst-hit country in Europe by the novel coronavirus, according to the latest official figures released Tuesday.
Chairing Tuesday's Downing Street press briefing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said another 693 COVID-19 patients have died, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in Britain to 29,427.
The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
Earlier in the day, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its latest coronavirus-registered death figures, showing the total death toll has passed 32,000, making Britain the worst-hit country in Europe followed by Italy.
The ONS uses an alternative measure as its figures are based on all mentions of COVID-19 on a death certificate, including suspected COVID-19.
The coronavirus-related death toll in Italy currently stands at 29,315.
Responding to a question by the BBC about his reaction on Britain's death toll, Raab called it a "massive tragedy" but said it is difficult to compare among different countries before the pandemic is over.
"It is important but I don't think you can make the international comparisons you are making at this stage," he said.
"I don't think we'll get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over and particularly until we've got comprehensive international data on all cause of mortality," he said.
Meanwhile, Raab said Britain is continuing to see evidence of the flattening of the peak of the virus.
The next stage "won't be easy" as Britons go on to the next phase of adjusting to a "new normal", he said.
A coronavirus-tracing app has started to be trialled from Tuesday in the Isle of Wight. The government hopes to roll out the app across the country in the "middle of this month", according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last Thursday that the country was "past the peak" of the COVID-19 outbreak and a "comprehensive" plan will be published later this week on "how we can continue to suppress disease" while restarting the economy.