THE Winchester district has registered more coronavirus-related deaths then the whole of Australia.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 103 people have died in the city council district as of May 29.

That compares to 102 in Australia – a country of some 25 million people. Winchester district, by comparison, is home to around 124,000 people.

It means almost the same number of deaths have been registered despite the district’s population being less than one per cent that of Australia.

The district has also registered more deaths than a host of European nations with populations that run into the millions, including Estonia, Lithuania, Albania, Slovakia and Azerbaijan.

Although, the number of weekly deaths recorded has dropped in recent weeks, with just two registered for the seven days between May 22 and May 29.

Australia’s low death toll has been attributed to a number of factors.

In April, the Daily Mail reported that Australia ‘lead the world in testing for coronavirus’ with the highest rate of testing per capita, equating to more than one per cent of the population being tested.

Limits on social gatherings were imposed early on, initially forbidding meetings of more than 500 people, then 10 and eventually just two, while borders were closed to non-nationals as early as March, with only a handful of exceptions to the rule.

Anyone, including nationals, arriving in the country from overseas was also required to self-isolate for two weeks. The UK is requiring all arrivals to do the same as of Monday (June 8).

Other factors such as population density would likely have had an on the spread of the virus, with Australia’s population spread over a far larger area than in the UK.

Speaking to the Independent in April, Australian epidemiologist Professor John Mathews said: “People tend to live in larger houses, spaced further apart than the stacked apartments you commonly find in Europe.”

Meanwhile, the Winchester City Council district has slipped down the table of places affected by the virus. Early last month the district was 69th out of more than 200 local authorities, with an infection rate of 265 per 100,000 people.

This week Winchester had slipped to 88th with a rate of 296 per 100,000. It is the still the third worst-affected place in Hampshire after Basingstoke and Rushmoor, and with a higher infection rate than many parts of London and Birmingham, Leicester and Leeds.

Speaking regarding the figures previously a spokesperson for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “It would be difficult to say for certain, but it is worth bearing in mind that we (Hampshire Hospitals) got our in-house testing for Covid-19 up and running much faster than most, which has meant we have had the ability to test more widely, and for longer.”

So far 592 people have died, after testing positive, in the hospitals covered by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which includes the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS), Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Hampshire Hospitals figures is 156, the figure since Monday June 1.

The Chronicle contacted Cllr Lucille Thompson, leader of Winchester City Council, to gather her view on the number of deaths as the most senior councillor in Winchester but she declined to comment.