The British Medical Association (BMA) said the figures were a “terrible indictment” of the Government’s lack of preparation and organisation with regard to handling the virus.
The latest Government data showed 50,365 people had died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, making it the first country in Europe to exceed 50,000 deaths.
Responding to the news, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chairman, said: “This is a point that should never have been reached.
“In March, Professor Steve Powis said that if the public adhered to the nationwide lockdown the total toll could be kept below 20,000.
“Today’s figure is a terrible indictment of poor preparation, poor organisation by the Government, insufficient infection control measures, coupled with late and often confusing messaging for the public.”
He added: “As we look towards the hope of a vaccine, it’s vital that lessons are learned from the last nine months to ensure that nothing on this scale ever happens again.”
Meanwhile scientists remain hopeful about the prospect of a vaccine, with England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam stating the Government was preparing for the most important vaccination programme “in decades”.
Discussions have taken place about the four nations of the UK taking a joint approach to Covid rules over Christmas.
The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish first ministers held a virtual meeting with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and other senior UK officials.
It was the first of what UK ministers hope will be weekly meetings.
UK government sources said topics including international travel, mass testing and the priority list for vaccinations were also discussed.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday imposed a new round of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus as the infection rate climbed and hospitalisations soared in the state that was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak in its early stages.
Cuomo ordered bars, restaurants and gyms in the state to shut down on-premises services at 10 p.m. nightly, and capped the number of people who could attend private parties at 10.
“We’re seeing a national and global COVID surge, and New York is a ship on the COVID tide,” the governor told reporters, adding that contact tracing identified late-night gatherings at bars, restaurants and gyms as key virus spreaders in the state.
The new measures, which take effect on Friday, came a day after California and several states across the Midwest tightened restrictions on residents to try to curb the rapid spread of the virus
“This is our LAST chance to stop a second wave,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday, as he announced the city-wide seven-day average rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive had hit 2.52%.