There were 29,648 deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales up to April 24, ONS data shows.
That is still higher than Italy, which on Tuesday said it has recorded 29,316 virus fatalities to date, but far short of the USA where almost 69,000 have died in the pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last Thursday that the country was "past the peak" of the COVID-19 outbreak and a "comprehensive" plan will be published later this week on "how we can continue to suppress disease" while restarting the economy.
The figure far exceeds the death toll of 29,029 in Italy - which was long considered the epicenter of the outbreak in the European continent.
Officials now face questions over why they did not boost testing capacity earlier in the year before COVID-19 started to spread freely in the United Kingdom, given that the virus was clearly a threat.
"I believe the only sensible comparison is by looking at excess all-cause mortality, adjusted for the age distribution of the country".
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Coronavirus deaths in the USA passed 67,000 on Sunday night, more deaths than the Vietnam War, and more than Trump predicted. The president, though, said that it was necessarily to reopen the country, as the cratering economy has led to mass layoffs.
Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said: "It is important to remember that cross-country comparisons are hard".
"The UK records direct and indirect causes of death plus also other contributing factors".
While different ways of counting make comparisons with other countries hard, the figure confirmed Britain was among those hit worst by a pandemic that has killed more than 250,000 worldwide.
For the first time last week, the government began including data on deaths outside hospitals in cases where people had tested positive for coronavirus, in the daily death toll figures for the virus.
He also cited the advice of England's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty: "Different countries are recording different things in relation to deaths". "I don't think we'll get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over and particularly until we've got comprehensive worldwide data on all cause of mortality".
Sir Ian also said indirect deaths that come on top of Covid-19 deaths are "not insignificant", and warned that a "lengthy and deep recession" could lead to increased deaths.