More than 1,000 people have died from coronavirus in North Lanarkshire, new figures show, as the total death toll for the UK passes 200,000.
Although the number of deaths remains well below previous waves, infections and hospital admissions are rising across the country, driven by the variant Omicron BA.2.
The UK surpassed 200,000 deaths on June 25 – although this has only just been confirmed due to the time it takes for deaths to be registered.
This includes 1,193 in North Lanarkshire by July 3, according to the latest data on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.
This means 349.7 people have died per 100,000 people – higher than the 279.7 average for Scotland as a whole as of July 1.
While infections have risen recently – with an estimated 3.5 million across the UK in the week ending July 7 – the number of deaths has slowed significantly compared to previous peaks, with vaccines weakening the link between infection and serious illness.
However, some have warned against complacency in the fight against Covid.
Jo Goodman, co-founder of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign, called the 200,000 deaths “a tragedy” and “yet another damning milestone of the Government’s handling of the pandemic”.
She added: “454 people died within 28 days of a positive test from Covid just last week and yet the Government refuses to take even basic steps to protect people from the virus.
“By, for instance, making people pay for tests, not enforcing adequate sick pay or taking measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals, the Government is effectively throwing the most vulnerable in our society to the wolves.”
Figures for the whole of Scotland show there have been 14,949 deaths over the course of the pandemic.
Ruth Driscoll of the Marie Curie end-of-life charity said: “The scale of loss people have faced over the last two years has made it more important than ever that those who have been bereaved can receive support from services if they need to – the Government must provide targeted funding in the areas with the longest waiting times.”
The same figures show there have been 146,087 new cases in name in the last week – but many cases are likely going unreported as people with Covid-19 symptoms are no longer advised to test themselves regularly.
Access to free tests is also now limited to only a small part of the population.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Every death during this pandemic is a tragedy and our thoughts and condolences are with all those who have lost a loved one.
“COVID has not gone away which is why we continue to ask people and businesses to take sensible precautions to protect themselves and others.
"This includes the continued wearing of face coverings where and when appropriate alongside following the latest advice on hygiene and ventilation.
“A range of surveillance programmes are currently in place, including through use of testing, and we are working with Public Health Scotland to develop an ongoing programme of activity to identify new threats as early as possible to help us implement appropriate and robust actions."