More than 5,300 deaths have been removed from the official coronavirus death toll after a government review of the way the figures are recorded.
In a major change in daily death reports, the UK will only count people who died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.
The decision to impose a new cap brings England in line with Scotland and Wales, and comes after experts’ concern that the death toll was being exaggerated.
With the new method, the death toll in the UK fell from 46,706 to 41,239 on Wednesday, a reduction of 12%.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock halted daily death reports in July and ordered an urgent review of the figures amid fears that the death toll in England was too high.
Previously, the official daily figures counted all the people who died after being diagnosed with Covid-19, even if the death occurred long afterward.
Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, said: “The way we count deaths of people with COVID-19 in England was originally chosen to avoid underestimating deaths caused by the virus in the early stages. of the pandemic.
“Our analysis of the long-term impact of the infection now allows us to move to new methods, which will give us crucial information on recent trends and the overall mortality burden due to COVID-19.”
Analysis of the data in England found that 96% of deaths occurred within 60 days or had COVID-19 on the death certificate.
About 88% of the deaths occurred within 28 days.
The measure was approved by all four UK medical directors, but some experts want the limit lowered to 21 days for a more accurate picture.
A new set of figures showing the number of deaths that occur within 60 days of a positive test will also be released weekly in England, the Department of Health and Welfare said.
Deaths that occur after 60 days will also be added to this figure if Covid-19 appears on the death certificate, he added.