New data has revealed that the number of coronavirus deaths in UK care homes may be far higher than those recorded so far, it was reported on Sunday.
The National Care Forum (NCF) estimates that more than 4,000 elderly and disabled people have died across all residential and nursing homes, reports the BBC.
Only 217 such care home deaths have been officially recorded in England and Wales up to April 3.
The NCF, which represents not-for-profit care providers, said its findings highlight significant flaws in the official reporting of coronavirus-related death statistics.
Collection of data from Care Homes
It collected data from care homes looking after more than 30,000 people in the UK, representing 7.4 per cent of those people living in one of the country's thousands of care settings.
It said that, across those specific homes, in the week between April 7-13, there had been 299 deaths linked to coronavirus. That was treble the figure for the previous week and double that in the whole of the preceding month.
If that number was reflected across all residential and nursing homes, NCF estimated there have been 4,040 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes which are not yet included in official figures.
The daily number of UK-wide coronavirus deaths, announced each day by the government, only includes people who died with the virus in hospital in the four nations, said the BBC reported.
The development comes as the UK continues to be under a lockdown due to the pandemic.
The number of coronavirus cases as of Sunday increased to 115,314, with 15,498 deaths.