BRUSSELS, Jan 20 — Around 297,500 more people died in the European Union between March and October last year compared with the same period in 2016 to 2019, according to EU data published today.

March 2020 was when the coronavirus pandemic began spreading across most of Europe and October is the last month for which data for all 27 EU member states are available.

Statistics from Eurostat showed that across the bloc, excess mortality - the increase in total number of deaths, from any cause, compared to that of previous years - peaked during the early rise of Covid-19 in April 2020 at 24.9 per cent.

Summer lulls began at different times across the region, before numbers rose again in autumn, and still further in November in all member states with available data.

Poland led the excess mortality at 97.2 per cent in November, followed by Bulgaria and Slovenia with 94.5 per cent and 91.4 per cent respectively.

Denmark, Finland and Estonia saw the smallest number of excess deaths in November, with 5.5 per cent, 5.6 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.

With 0.7 per cent less excess deaths, Norway - not an EU member state - was the only country Eurostat covered which did not see the number rise in November.

While substantial jumps in excess mortality largely coincide with Covid-19 outbreaks, Eurostat’s indicator does not break down the numbers according to the cause of death, sex or age groups. — Reuters