May 5, 2020 / 4:55 PM / a month ago

Too soon for reliable international comparisons on COVID-19 deaths: UK minister

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks during a daily news conference on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain May 5, 2020. Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - It is too soon to make reliable international comparisons on death tolls from the new coronavirus, British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Tuesday.

Figures released earlier on Tuesday showed the United Kingdom has overtaken Italy to report the highest official death toll from the new coronavirus in Europe.

Asked about the prospect of Britain being the hardest hit country in Europe, Raab told a news conference: “I don’t think we will get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over.”

“I don’t think you can make the international comparisons ... at this stage, at least I don’t think you can make them reliably,” he added, citing the fact different countries have different ways of counting deaths.

Reporting by William James and Andy Bruce, writing by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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