NEWPORT and Monmouthshire experienced one of the biggest surges in excess deaths in Wales during the worst point of the coronavirus pandemic, new analysis shows.

The number of excess deaths in Newport and Monmouthshire hit a peak in the week ending April 10, with 86 per cent more deaths than the average for the previous five years.

That was one of the highest peaks seen at any point in the pandemic in Wales.

Overall, the area had more deaths than usual in nine of the 15 weeks between March 6 and June 12.

The King's Fund think tank said the coronavirus has exposed the "widening health divide" in the UK, after Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed every part of the country had seen an increase in deaths.

The ONS compared the all-cause mortality of 23 European countries, taking account of age differences in the population.

It found by the end of May, Wales had the fifth highest levels of excess mortality in Europe, at three per cent above normal – but behind England (eight per cent) and Scotland (five per cent).

Excess death figures are seen as the most accurate way of measuring the effect of the crisis as they are not affected by the different ways countries record Covid-19 deaths.

Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan was the worst affected area in Wales – 141 per cent in the week ending April 17 – but well below Brent, in London, which was the highest in the UK, at 358 per cent.

Dr Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at The King’s Fund, said the pandemic has exposed “the wide and widening health divide” in the UK population.

“Over the past decade, life expectancy improvements in the UK have lagged behind our European peers," she said. “The priority for the UK is to control the pandemic and learn lessons ahead of a potential second wave, but it is also essential to tackle the underlying reasons for stalling life expectancy in recent years – many of which contribute to poor Covid-19 outcomes.”

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Areas with high population densities tend to experience significantly higher age-standardised mortality rates than other categories of population density. Cardiff is Wales’ largest city and the age-standardised mortality rates reflect this.

“Research into trends of infection, disease and mortality related to Covid-19 is underway and we are continuing to learn from the emerging evidence about how to respond to this novel virus.”

To see the statistics in full, visit