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Millions of Britons have been warned to stay inside to maintain social distancing as temperatures are set to peak at 26C in some parts of the UK on Saturday.
More than 100,000 people have now died worldwide after contracting coronavirus.
According to official figures published on Saturday afternoon:
- As of 5pm on Friday, 917 people had died across the UK in a single 24-hour period.
- At least 9,828 people have now died in the UK after contracting in the virus since the start of the outbreak.
Here’s the latest:
Priti Patel *almost* apologies for NHS’ lack of coronavirus PPE
Pressed to say sorry for the ongoing issues in hospitals around the country, the home secretary said: “I’m sorry if people feel there have been failings. I will be very, very clear about that.”
Patel added: “But at the same time, we are in an unprecedented global health pandemic right now.
“It is inevitable that the demand and the pressures on PPE and demand for PPE are going to be exponential. They are going to be incredibly high.
“And of course we are trying to address that as a government.”
A growing number of NHS staff are dying of coronavirus and the government has come under severe pressure to ensure they are provided with the equipment they need to safely treat the ever-increasing number of people falling ill.
Labour calls for inquiry into ‘disproportionate’ number of BAME deaths
Labour has called for an inquiry into why a “disproportionate” number of people who have died from coronavirus come from ethnic minority communities.
Shadow equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova said the disproportionate number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors who had died was “deeply disturbing”.
She added: “It reflects the shocking underlying inequalities facing BAME communities as a whole, who are disproportionately represented in the numbers of people getting the virus.
“The government must urgently investigate why BAME communities are more vulnerable to this virus.”
The call comes after the chairman of the British Medical Association said the government must investigate if and why BAME people are more vulnerable to the virus.
Chaand Nagpaul told The Guardian it could not be random that the first 10 doctors named as having died from the virus were all BAME.
Nagpaul said there was no doubt that a “disproportionate” proportion of BAME people were becoming ill.
He added: “At face value, it seems hard to see how this can be random – to have the first 10 doctors all being of BAME background.
“Not only that, we also know that in terms of the BAME population, they make up about a third of those in intensive care. There’s a disproportionate percentage of BAME people getting ill.
“We have heard the virus does not discriminate between individuals but there’s no doubt there appears to be a manifest disproportionate severity of infection in BAME people and doctors.
“This has to be addressed – the Government must act now.”
PM continues to make ‘very good progress’ after release from intensive care, No. 10 says
Boris Johnson has continued to make “very good progress” following his release from intensive care on Thursday, a Downing Street spokesperson has said.
The PM was hospitalised on Sunday evening at St Thomas’ Hospital, and was confirmed to have been transferred to intensive care on Monday evening.
Number 10 has since confirmed he is able to take short walks as he begins his recovery.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab is currently in charge of running the government, with aides reportedly expecting Johnson to be out for as long as a month.
Government faces backlash after calling protective equipment a ‘precious resource’
No protective equipment is more important than the lives of healthcare workers, a nursing union has said, after health minister Matt Hancock said PPE should be treated as a “precious resource”.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) dismissed any suggestions that healthcare staff were “abusing or overusing” PPE.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast RCN general secretary Donna Kinnair said that every day she was hearing from nurses saying they did not have enough protective equipment.
She added: “I take offence actually that we are saying that healthcare workers are abusing or overusing PPE.
“I think what we know is, we don’t have enough supply and not enough regular supply of PPE.
“This is the number one priority nurses are bringing to my attention, that they do not have adequate supply of protective equipment.”
The BMA medical union warned on Friday that PPE supplies in London and Yorkshire are at “dangerously low levels”.
Nineteen NHS workers have died after contracting the virus.
New Labour leader Keir Starmer said on social media that it was “insulting” to imply frontline staff were wasting PPE.
He added: “It is quite frankly insulting to imply frontline staff are wasting PPE. There are horrific stories of NHS staff and care workers not having the equipment they need to keep them safe. The government must act to ensure supplies are delivered.”
Hancock told BBC Breakfast on Saturday it was important that healthcare workers use the “right amount” of protective equipment.
He added: “I am not impugning anyone who works for the NHS and I think they do an amazing job.
“But what I am reiterating, stressing, is the importance to use the right amount of PPE both to have enough and also to use it as the precious resource that it is.”
Nation urged to stay inside as temperature set to hit 26C
Millions of Britons have been urged to stay inside over the Easter weekend in order to protect the NHS amid the coronavirus crisis.
The mercury is expected to reach 26C in some parts of the country on Saturday, fuelling fears that crowds could gather in parks and on beaches in spite of social distancing warnings.
England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May said on Friday that he best way to thank NHS workers would be to remain at home, admitting it had been “personally frustrating to see people clearly not social distancing.”
She added: “The single greatest thing you can do to say thank you to our NHS and social care staff is for people to follow the advice.
“This is a long weekend. We need you to stay at home, and stay safe.”
Government ministers have also pleaded with the public to stay at home, after the UK announced its highest daily death toll (980) on Friday.
Matt Hancock said Easter would be a “test of the nation’s resolve” but added that the clear message from NHS staff battling to save desperately sick patients was “they need you to stay at home”.
Coronavirus vaccine could be ready by September, Oxford professor claims
A coronavirus vaccine could be available for the general public by autumn, an Oxford professor has claimed.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, is leading a team of researchers in the development of a vaccine that would protect the world against coronavirus.
In an interview with The Times, the professor said her team have already created a potential vaccine that is due to begin human trials within two weeks.
She told the paper she is “80%” confident of its success, “based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine”.
Most industry experts say that a vaccine could take as long as 18 months to be developed and distributed globally, but Gilbert said that letting volunteers from places that have not imposed lockdown measures become infected naturally as soon as possible will accelerate the clinical trial process.
“If one of those (places) turns out to have a high rate of virus transmission then we will get our efficacy results very quickly, so that is one strategy for reducing the time,” she said.
“Total lockdowns do make it harder. But we don’t want the herd immunity either. We want them to be susceptible and exposed for the trials purely to test the efficacy.”
In order for the vaccine to be distributed in the autumn, Gilbert says the government will need to start production before it is proven to work.
She told the paper: “We don’t want to get to later this year and discover we have a highly effective vaccine and we haven’t got any vaccine to use.”
US death toll passes 2,000 in a single day
The US has become the first country in the world to record more than 2,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day.
Data published by the John Hopkins University also reveals that there are now more than half a million cases confirmed across the nation.
The total US death toll has now surpassed 18,600, and looks set to soon become the country with the highest death toll worldwide.
Despite the staggering figures some health officials including Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, pointed to declining rates of coronavirus hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units - particularly in hard-hit New York state - as signs that social distancing measures are paying off.
“Now is no time to back off,” Fauci told CNN on Friday. “The virus will decide” when the country can begin to reopen from state-at-home orders imposed in recent weeks across 42 states, he added.
Those measures have taken a significant toll on the US economy, with some economists forecasting job losses of up to 20m by the end of the month.
Figures released on Saturday show that 6.6m Americans lost their job in the past week, with more than 16m jobs in total gone in the past three weeks.
Death rate for intensive care Covid-19 patients rises to more than 51%
More than 51% of patients admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 die, a new study of critical care outcomes has revealed.
The figure comes from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) and is based on a sample of 3,883 coronavirus patients.
Previous figures from April 3, recorded the death rate as being at 50.1%.
The study shows that out of 1,689 patients in the sample whose care outcome was known, 871 died (51.6%), while 818 were discharged.
In comparison, 22% of the 5,367 patients taken into critical care with non-Covid-19 viral pneumonia died between 2017 and 2019.
The coronavirus figures come from 284 NHS critical care units in England, Wales and Northern Ireland taking part in an ICNARC programme as of 4pm on April 9.
The mortality rate is currently higher for men and increases with age, the data shows. Of the 871 people who died, 53.6% were male, while 46.3% were women.
Meanwhile, the largest number of deaths were among those aged between 70-79 at 298, followed by the 60-69 age group, with 273 reported.
The average (mean) age of those admitted to intensive care with coronavirus was 59.8 years, with 72.5% of patients recorded as male.
Holby City ventilators arrive at NHS Nightingale
Fully operational ventilators from the set of BBC medical drama Holby City have been donated to London’s new Nightingale field hospital.
It’s not yet clear how many ventilators were delivered to the new facility, based in the ExCel Centre, on Thursday, but the medical equipment has been in high demand to treat those suffering with the most acute cases of coronavirus.
Simon Harper, executive producer of both Casualty and Holby City, said “We are only too happy to help out and do what we can for the courageous and selfless real life medics.”
Six other Nightingale hospitals have now been announced across the UK to combat the crises, with facilities under construction in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Harrogate, Exeter, and Wearside.