EU countries are keeping a close watch on the UK’s coronavirus death rate as the figures continue to diverge between Britain and the rest of Europe.

While France, Italy and Spain are recording a daily death toll in or nudging single figures, the UK is reporting daily deaths of more than 100 on most days. On Friday, July 17, the UK recorded 114 coronavirus deaths.

On the same day the UK government asked Public Health England to investigate the way the numbers are calculated, in effect causing a news blackout on the latest daily figures while PHE conducts an investigation of its methodology.

France reported 14 deaths on Friday, and Spain 4. On Saturday, July 18, Italy reported 14 new deaths.

If the UK does not start to close the gap in mortality rates, individual countries, including France, may decide to bar British travellers or impose quarantine restrictions. The Republic of Ireland has already taken that decision.

Ireland is expected to be the first EU country to remove UK travellers from its so-called green list, a decision due to be announced on Monday, July 20.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Friday that “it’s very unlikely our closest neighbour will be under that threshold that we set.

“That’s really unfortunate because the two countries we would like to be opening up to in terms of international travel are the UK and US, given the integration between our economy and those two countries.

“It’s on the basis of epidemiological data and numbers, so we can compare Ireland to other countries,” he said.

At present, UK travellers are able to visit most European countries without restrictions.

PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is unhappy about coronavirus reporting