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Donald Trump claims to have seen evidence coronavirus started in Chinese laboratory, despite US intelligence agencies concluding the virus is not manmade, and a disturbing study finds BAME people are twice as likely to die from the disease in the UK as white people.
According to the latest figures:
- The number of hospital patients who have died in the UK after being diagnosed with coronavirus had risen to at least 27,138 – 352 in England, 40 in Scotland, 17 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland. Full figures for the UK including deaths outside hospital have yet to be published.
- As of 9am on April 30, there had been 901,905 tests on 687,369 people. Some 171,253 of those have tested positive.
Here’s the latest:
Death rate in deprived areas double that of most affluent
The Covid-19 mortality rate in deprived areas of England and Wales is double that of more affluent places, new data from the Office for National Statistics reveal.
The ONS found that, in the most deprived areas of England, the age-standardised mortality rate of deaths involving Covid-19 was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 25.3 deaths per 100,000 in the least deprived areas.
Wales saw a similar disparity in deaths – a mortality rate of 44.6 deaths per 100,000 in deprived areas, compared to 23.2 in well-off areas.
However, the local authorities with the highest age-standardised mortality rates for Covid-19 deaths were all in London.
In Newham, there were 144.3 deaths per 100,000 of the population – the highest mortality rate in the ONS data for any local authority.
It was followed by Brent, which had a rate of 141.5 deaths per 100,000, and Hackney, with a rate of 127.4 deaths per 100,000.
Ryanair announces up to 3,000 job losses
Up to 3,000 jobs across pilots and cabin crew are to be cut at Ryanair.
The budget airline group announced that a restructuring programme could also involve unpaid leave and pay being slashed by up to 20%, as well as the closure of “a number of aircraft bases across Europe” until demand for air travel recovers.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary, whose pay was cut by 50% for April and May, has agreed to extend the reduction for the remainder of the financial year to March 2021.
Ryanair said its flights will remain grounded until “at least July” and passenger numbers will not return to 2019 levels “until summer 2022 at the earliest”.
Ryanair expects to operate fewer than 1% of its scheduled flights between April and June, and carry no more than half of its original target of 44.6m passengers between July and September.
For the 12 months to the end of March 2021, its forecast is that it will carry fewer than 100m passengers. Its target for the period was 154 million.
Meanwhile, Aer Lingus will negotiate with unions about staff cuts of up to 900 jobs at the airline.
Labour TD Duncan Smith called the news “extremely concerning” and has called on the airline to do everything it can to retain jobs and for urgent government intervention.
He said: “The overall goal here has to be to retain as many jobs in our aviation sector as possible. We are a small open economy, we need a vibrant aviation sector to help encourage trade and tourism.
“My thoughts today are with the workers who face uncertainty. The government need to extend the temporary wage subsidy scheme for industries that are going to be key for getting us back on track such as Aer Lingus.
“It is clear that the government need to take urgent action to address the potential torrent of job losses that could occur at Dublin Airport between Aer Lingus and Ryanair.”
Trump claims to have seen evidence virus started in lab – but offers no details
Donald Trump has claimed to have seen evidence that Covid-19 originated from an infectious disease laboratory in Wuhan – days after his own intelligence agencies said coronavirus was “not man-made or genetically modified”.
The US president speculated that China could have unleashed the virus on the world due to some kind of horrible “mistake” and even put forward the idea the release was intentional, but offered no details or explanation.
Intelligence agencies have said they are still examining a theory suggested by the president and aides that the pandemic may have resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab, but have debunked the conspiracy theory that the virus was created on purpose.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said: “It’s a terrible thing that happened.
“Whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one, or did somebody do something on purpose.”
The Chinese government said that any claims that the coronavirus was released from a laboratory are “unfounded and purely fabricated out of nothing”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “I would like to point out again that the origin of the virus is a complex scientific issue, and it should be studied by scientists and professionals.”
He also criticised those in the US who say China should be held accountable for the global pandemic, saying they should spend their time on “better controlling the epidemic situation at home.”
More than 63,000 people have died of the virus in the US, which according to official records is by far the worst-affected country in the world.
BAME deaths in the UK more than twice the rate of white patients
The coronavirus death rate in English hospitals among British black Africans and British Pakistanis is more than twice that of the white population, according to a new report.
Research carried out by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) also found that deaths of people from a black Caribbean background were 1.7 times higher than for white Britons.
Data published by NHS England last week revealed that that hospital deaths per 100,000 among British people of a black Caribbean background were three times of that among the white British population.
But while previous analysis has failed to account of the potential impact of underlying factors such as age, gender and geography, the IFS report makes it clear that these do not explain the disparity.
Ross Warwick, a research economist at IFS, said: “Hospital deaths show clear disparities between ethnic groups in their mortality from Covid-19.
“For example, per capita Black Caribbean fatalities are nearly three times that of Black African and Pakistani groups, which are close to the population average.
“However, when you account for the fact that most minority groups are relatively young overall, the number of deaths looks disproportionate in most ethnic minority groups.”
The study also found BAME communities were more likely to bear the brunt of the economic impact of lockdown, with BAME men are more likely to be in jobs affected by the shutdown of large parts of the economy.
The type of jobs where BAME workers are disproportionately represented also had an impact on their exposure to the virus or its economic consequences.
While in the population as a whole women are more likely to work in shutdown sectors, this is only the case for the white ethnic groups.
Bangladeshi men are four times as likely as white British men to have jobs in shuttered industries, while Black African and Black Caribbean men are both 50% more likely to be in shutdown sectors.
But those who continue to work are often in key frontline roles, at higher risk of exposure to the virus itself because of the jobs they perform.
More than 20% of Black African women of working age are employed in health and social care roles.
Pakistani men are 90% more likely to work in healthcare roles than their White British counterparts and while the Indian ethnic group makes up just 3% of the working age population of England and Wales, they account for 14% of doctors.
Record demand on foodbanks amid lockdown
The coronavirus crisis has sparked a huge increase in people using food banks for essential supplies, charities have said.
The Trussell Trust said its network had seen its busiest-ever period, with 81% more emergency food parcels being given out in the last two weeks of March.
People struggling with the amount of income from working or benefits was the main reason for the increase, the trust said.
The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) also reported a record level of need, with an average 59% increase from February to March – 17 times higher than this time last year.
A coalition of charities – including the Trussell Trust, IFAN, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Children’s Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, StepChange and Turn2us – is urging the government to do more to help protect people from being “swept into destitution” amid a huge rise in applications for Universal Credit in recent weeks.
Demand for emergency food parcels had been soaring over the past five years, with research showing that households referred to food banks are, on average, left with just £50 per week after housing costs, said the charities.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Like a tidal wave gathering pace, an economic crisis is sweeping towards us, but we don’t all have lifeboats.
“It’s not right that this has meant some of us don’t have enough money for essentials and are being pushed to food banks.”
A government spokesperson said leaders were “committed” to supporting everyone impacted by the virus, and pointed to protection schemes and mortgage holidays as evidence.
They added: “For those in most need, we’ve injected more than £6.5 billion into the welfare system, including an increase to Universal Credit of up to £1,040 a year. No-one has to wait five weeks for money as urgent payments are available.”
More than one million people worldwide have recovered from virus
More than one million people with confirmed cases of coronavirus have now recovered, data shows.
According to a count maintained by John Hopkins University, at the time of writing 1,014,931 had recovered.
That number compares to more than 233,000 confirmed deaths worldwide, and more than 3.25m cases.
The US has recorded the highest number of recoveries – 153,000 – but has also confirmed more than a million cases and upwards of 63,000 deaths.
The latest figure from the UK states that just 859 people have recovered from the virus.
Postboxes painted blue to thank NHS
Specially decorated postboxes have been created by the Royal Mail as a way of thanking NHS workers for their efforts during the current crisis.
The five postboxes are painted blue and bear the message: Thank You NHS.
They are located close to St Thomas’ Hospital in London – where the PM was treated for coronavirus – Trafford General Hospital in Manchester, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Royal Mail said the postbox locations were chosen to ensure the representation of all four nations of the UK, and to commemorate the Trafford General Hospital, the birthplace of the NHS, founded by Aneurin “Nye” Bevan in Manchester in July 1948.
Shane O’Riordain, from Royal Mail, said: “We are showing our support and thanks to the many NHS workers across the UK who are working tirelessly to help those affected by the coronavirus crisis.
“The special blue postboxes are a small token of our thanks for the exceptional service NHS workers are providing across all four UK nations.
“At Royal Mail, we are working hard to deliver the most comprehensive service we can to all our customers in challenging circumstances.
“We understand that the universal postal service provides a lifeline to businesses and communities everywhere during the coronavirus crisis.
“We are working closely with pharmacy companies and NHS trusts across the UK, and we are delivering many prescriptions and hospital appointments.”