NEWS
14/04/2020 08:22 BST | Updated 14/04/2020 14:57 BST

Nine Things You Need To Know About Coronavirus Today

A further 778 people in the UK have died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19. Here's the latest.

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Unemployment could increase by two million and UK GDP fall by 35% as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of global cases nears two million.

So far in the UK:

  • The UK coronavirus death toll in hospitals has reached 12,107, with 778 more deaths across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland announced on Tuesday.

  • The Department of Health said as of 9am on Tuesday, 382,650 tests had been carried out, with 14,982 of those done on Monday. Of the total tested, 93,873 were positive.

Here’s the latest on Covid-19: 

GDP could fall by 35%

Unemployment could increase by 2m and UK GDP could fall by 35% in the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said.

In its analysis published on Tuesday, the OBR said the lockdown imposed by Boris Johnson would likely “deliver large but hopefully temporary shock to the economy and public finances”.

Experts at the independent body that advises the government said the figures were based on an assumption there would be a three-month lockdown followed by another three-month period when restitutions were partially lifted.

Sinn Fein president tests positive

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has said she has received a positive diagnosis for Covid-19, after being tested on March 28.

She said she experienced weeks of being “very unwell”, adding she had a setback to her recovery at the weekend when she developed pleurisy.

McDonald said she plans to be back at work next Monday.

“My thoughts and solidarity are with everyone who is sick at this time, and my gratitude is with our doctors, nurses, carers and everyone who looks after us,” she said.

“Thanks to everyone who has asked after me and sent good wishes. Your kindness is much appreciated and I’ll be back next week.”

South Korea re-infection fears

It is hoped that people who survive infection with Covid-19 become immune and may even be able to return to normal life sooner – which is why health secretary Matt Hancock proposed the creation of “immunity passports” earlier this month.

But experts in South Korea fear it may not be so straightforward, after it was reported more than 100 apparently recovered patients had tested positive once again.

There may not be cause for alarm yet: Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the virus could have “reactivated” rather than the patients becoming re-infected with it, while poor quality tests have also been suggested as a possible cause.

In line with World Health Organisation guidelines, people are considered to have recovered when they return two negative tests for the virus, 24 hours apart. 

Experts in South Korea, which ran an intensive national testing programme as part of its drive to get the virus under control earlier this year, are investigating the cause of the apparent re-infection. 

Some believe it is down to the sensitivity of tests, which could fail to show a person is still infected with small amounts of the virus, producing a false negative result.

The country was one of a handful to successfully flatten the “curve” of the disease’s spread relatively rapidly, with 10,500 confirmed cases and 222 confirmed deaths, and continues to restrict social gatherings.

Care homes could account for half of Covid-19 deaths

Around half of coronavirus-related deaths are happening in care homes, according to figures from five European countries collated in a new study.

Data collected from official sources by a London School of Economics-based team found 42 to 57% of all deaths linked to the virus were among care home residents.

The countries studied by the International Long Term Care Policy Network (LTCPN) included Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and France.

It comes after industry bosses in the UK said daily death tolls are “airbrushing out” hundreds of older people who have died in the care system.

Care England has estimated there have been nearly 1,000 deaths from coronavirus in care homes, and, separately Baroness Altmann wrote in the Daily Mail that aged care residents who are refused hospital treatment are “being abandoned like lambs to the slaughter”.

On Monday, chief medical officer Chris Whitty revealed 92 new care homes had been hit by the virus in the previous 24 hours alone.

Scientific advisers due to revise impact of lockdown

The impact of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown measures will be reviewed later today by scientific advisers for the government. 

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) will look at a range of issues, including hospital admissions, testing, data on intensive care capacity and death and the effectiveness of face masks, the BBC reports.

Its evaluation will be passed to the government, but ministers have already said it is unlikely restrictions will change.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Tuesday morning: “This is going to take months to really win the war on coronavirus.”

War hero raises £1m for NHS

A 99-year-old war veteran has smashed his fundraising target for the NHS.

Captain Tom Moore wanted to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing 100 laps of his 25m Bedfordshire garden, walking with the aid of a frame.

By Monday he had totted up £500,000 and on Tuesday morning he tweeted that he had reached £1m, with the figure continuing to climb.

Born in West Yorkshire, Captain Moore trained as a civil engineer before joining the forces for the Second World War.  He later rose to the rank of captain, serving in India and Burma.

Trump turns briefing into a full propaganda campaign

ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Donald Trump arrives to speak about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House.

The president turned his daily White House coronavirus briefing on Monday into a full-fledged propaganda campaign, attempting to rewrite history on his pandemic response with a low-quality video painting him in a positive light.

The president had what many called a “meltdown” in the first half of the briefing, criticising the news media, and specifically The New York Times, for accurately reporting that he was slow to effectively respond to the growing pandemic despite being warned early on by several aides and health experts about the need for aggressive action.

CNN’s Jim Acosta described the briefing as “the biggest meltdown I have ever seen”.

Broadcaster CBS’s White House correspondent Paula Reid won praise for challenging Trump on his claims, despite him calling her “a fake”.

UK ‘missed three chances to join EU scheme to bulk buy PPE’

The UK missed three chances to be part of an EU scheme to bulk-buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, which would have allowed them access to masks, gowns and gloves, the Guardian reports.

The availability of PPE has been a major issue in the coronavirus outbreak.

European medical staff are reported to receive the first of £1.3bn-worth of PPE within days or a maximum of two weeks under the EU scheme involving 25 countries.

But cabinet minister Therese Coffey said the government was confident joining the initiative “wouldn’t have made any difference to the supply of PPE”.

She told LBC the UK “is in a better place now than necessarily we would have been under the EU scheme”.

Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images
Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey

She added: “The important point is that we have over 700m pieces of PPE that are being delivered.”

On ventilators, Coffey added: “I think it is fair to say ventilators are being designed at a rapid speed by industry.

“We also have the situation where they have to be tested. The last thing your listeners would want is ventilators that do not work in our wards.”

She said: “We are working at pace and the same is true with testing – we are increasing the capacity, we are increasing it daily, but I appreciate we still need to reach that target of 100,000 set by the government by the end of this month and that’s why many laboratories are being opened up so we can reach that target.”

Dozens of beachgoers fined over Easter weekend

Dozens of beachgoers who travelled to the coast over the Easter weekend to soak up the sunshine were fined.

Police issued more than 50 fixed penalty notices to day-trippers in Brighton, East Sussex, who live outside of the county.

Officers clamped down on tourists defying government coronavirus advice to stay at home between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, with more than 100 fines in total handed out across the county.

All of the penalties in Brighton on Easter Sunday were given to people visiting from other cities – while the vast majority of residents complied with government advice and stayed at home.

Police forces also handed out tickets in Camber on the east Sussex coastline, in Devon and Cornwall and Pembrokeshire, on the south Wales coast.

Police said the “vast majority” of people adhered to lockdown rules and stayed at home.

Meanwhile, mental health experts have warned against judging the actions of others while the UK is in the midst of stringent measure, claiming it can “do more harm than good”.