Six Things You Need To Know About Coronavirus Today

The PM has revealed doctors prepared to announce his death during Covid-19 battle, and just a fifth of Britons say they want lockdown to end. Here's the latest.

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Boris Johnson has revealed doctors prepared to announce his death during his battle with coronavirus, and just a fifth of Britons say they want lockdown to end.

According to the latest figures:

  • 28,489 people have now died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, with 358 new deaths announced on Sunday
  • As of Saturday May 3, more than 180,000 people had tested positive for Covid-19
  • Almost 106,000 tests for coronavirus were carried on May 1

Here’s the latest:

Number of daily coronavirus tests falls below government’s 100,000 target

The number of daily coronavirus tests completed in the UK has fallen below April’s target of 100,000, with just 76,49 tests completed on Saturday.

The number is a significant drop from figures reported on Saturday, and more than 40,000 lower than those announced by health secretary Matt Hancock on Friday.

The validity of Friday’s figures was questioned after the HSJ reported that the government had changed how it counted the numbers as it moved to ensure the health secretary’s pledge was kept.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is said to have started including in its figures tests which were delivered to people’s homes but had yet to be returned to laboratories with a sample.

ONS ‘seeing highest number of deaths each week’ since weekly records began

The head of the ONS has said the number of weekly deaths are at their highest level since records began.
The head of the ONS has said the number of weekly deaths are at their highest level since records began.
Justin Setterfield via Getty Images

The head of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has said that the number of weekly deaths is at its highest levels since records of the data began in 1993.

Sir Ian Diamond told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “We are seeing the highest number of deaths each week that we at the ONS have recorded since weekly records started in 1993.

“Each one of these deaths represents a family grief.”

Diamond also said the UK had the “best reporting” on death figures, but warned against making comparisons with other countries as the UK death toll nears Italy, which currently has the highest death toll in Europe.

Asked if the UK was set to overtake Italy’s number of deaths, Diamond said: “I wouldn’t say that at all and I would say that making international comparisons is an unbelievably difficult thing to do.

“In this country we have – in my opinion, and let me be clear I would say this, wouldn’t I – but I think we have the best reporting, the most transparent reporting, and the most timely reporting, because we include death registrations – we’ve been pushing our death registration reporting as fast as we possibly can.

“And then even after you look at the actual deaths, it’s incredibly important to recognise the context – so deaths are going to be more concentrated… in inner cities. If you have a rural country then it’s likely that your death rates will be lower.

“I’m not saying that we are at the bottom of any potential league table – it’s almost impossible to calculate a league table – but I’m not prepared to say that we’re heading for the top.”

PM says doctors prepared to announce his death during coronavirus battle

The PM spent three days in intensive care after being hospitalised with Covid-19.
The PM spent three days in intensive care after being hospitalised with Covid-19.
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has revealed that doctors prepared to announce his death as he battled coronavirus in hospital last month.

The PM spent three nights in intensive care at St Thomas’ in London with the disease, where he said medics gave him “litres and litres of oxygen”.

He described it as a “tough old moment”, telling the Sun On Sunday: “They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario.

“I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place.

“The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong.

“They gave me a face mask so I got litres and litres of oxygen and for a long time I had that and the little nose jobbie.”

Johnson, 55, said it was “hard to believe” his health had deteriorated in just a few days, saying he “couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better”.

He told the paper the “indicators kept going in the wrong direction” and that he kept asking himself: “How am I going to get out of this?”

“The bad moment came when it was 50-50 whether they were going to have to put a tube down my windpipe.

“That was when it got a bit … they were starting to think about how to handle it presentationally.”

He said he was “in denial” initially about how serious his illness was, and that doctors were right to “force” him to go to hospital.

After a fortnight convalescing from the virus, and just two days after he returned to work full-time, his fiancee Carrie Symonds gave birth to their son, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson.

They named him after their grandfathers, and two doctors – Dr Nick Price and Prof Nick Hart – who helped save Johnson’s life.

Just one in five Britons want lockdown to be lifted, new poll reveals

The UK has been in lockdown since March 23.
The UK has been in lockdown since March 23.
Joe Giddens - PA Images via Getty Images

Just a fifth of Britons want lockdown measures to be eased for schools, pubs and restaurant, a new poll has revealed.

Boris Johnson said on Thursday that the country had passed the peak of Covid-19 infections and he would be setting out a “road map” for easing measures in the near future.

But only 17% of those polled thought the time was right to consider re-opening schools, with smaller proportions of people thinking conditions had been met to allow cinemas, sports stadiums and nightclubs to open their doors.

The Opinium poll for the Observer questioned 2,000 adults between Wednesday and Friday and showed 79% of people were continuing to follow lockdown restrictions into their sixth week.

It also showed that 14% of people are “starting to be more relaxed” about bending lockdown rules, with 3% saying they never followed them strictly.

Other findings suggest a quarter of people have left their home for exercise for more than an hour, 15% used the premise of shopping for essentials as a reason for being outside and 13% met up with friends and family for a walk.

One in 12 people (8%) said they had sat at a beer garden despite pubs being closed, and 9% said they had used the so-called NHS Shopping Hour despite not working in the health service.

Almost half of doctors have had to buy their own PPE or rely on donations

NHS staff have repeatedly issued warnings about critically low levels of PPE.
NHS staff have repeatedly issued warnings about critically low levels of PPE.
Matthew Horwood via Getty Images

Almost half of doctors have sourced their own personal protective equipment or relied on a donation when none was available through normal NHS channels, according to a survey.

The British Medical Association said, while PPE supplies have improved, their data from more than 16,000 doctors shows there is room for improvement in protecting healthcare workers on the frontline.

The organisation said its latest survey is the biggest one of frontline NHS staff during the coronavirus crisis, involving more than 16,000 doctors.

It said almost a third (30%) of doctors in England who were questioned said they had not reported or spoken out about issues relating to PPE, staff shortages, testing or drug shortages because they did not think anything would be done about it if they did.

Asked how safely protected from coronavirus they felt at work, just under two thirds (65%) said they felt only partly or not at all protected.

Overall, 48% of doctors reported having bought PPE directly for themselves or their department, or had a donation from a charity or local firm.

The problem appeared to be higher among GPs, with 55% of them saying they had to do so, compared to 38% of hospital doctors.

More than a quarter (28%) of doctors said they were suffering depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, emotional distress or other mental health conditions related to or made worse by work during this time.

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the survey response on PPE is “a damning indictment of the government’s abject failure to make sure healthcare workers across the country are being supplied with the life-saving kit they should be”.

He said: “The survey shows that overall, there has been an improvement in the provision of PPE, but if almost half of all doctors report that they had to resort to purchasing PPE themselves or rely on donations, then there is still a lot for the government to do to protect its frontline.”

Lockdown fines for those ignoring rules could reportedly double

A police officer with a megaphone instructs people to keep moving in Greenwich Park, London.
A police officer with a megaphone instructs people to keep moving in Greenwich Park, London.
Yui Mok - PA Images via Getty Images

Fines for those breaching lockdown rules could reportedly be increased to £100 for a first offence, doubling with every new offence.

The Telegraph reported on Sunday that ministers are considering tougher sanctions on those who break the rules, with fines soaring to £3,200 for serial offenders.

The paper said 400 fixed penalty notices had been handed to repeat offenders between the start of lockdown and April 27, with one person fined six times.

More than 9,000 fines – currently starting at £60 and doubling with additional breaches – were issued throughout England and Wales over the same four weeks, equivalent to one fine issued every five minutes.

The tougher fined would mean a second offence would result in a £200 fine, a third £400, and so on.

A senior government source told The Telegraph: “Thanks to the enormous sacrifices of the British people we have succeeded in protecting the NHS from being overwhelmed.

“The vast majority of people have followed the rules, but in the next phase of our fight it will be even more critical that a small minority of rule-breakers do not put the rest of us at risk.

“That is why we will give the police tougher powers to stamp down hard on rule-breakers.”

Russia and Afghanistan report biggest jump in cases, as global confirmed cases near 3.5m

A man riding a bicycle along the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge.
A man riding a bicycle along the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge.
Mikhail Metzel via Getty Images

Russia and Afghanistan have both reported their largest ever daily increase in the number of new coronavirus cases, as the global total approaches 3.5m cases.

Health officials in Moscow reported on Sunday that the nation had recorded its highest daily rise in confirmed coronavirus cases with 10,633 new cases, bringing the overall number of cases to 134,686, according to the authorities’ official website.

The mortality rate has slowed in recent days however, and remains much lower, in relative terms, than many other countries.

The nationwide death toll rose to 1,280 after 58 people died in the last 24 hours, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, there were 235 new coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours, marking its biggest one-day rise of new infections.

With the death of 12 patients overnight, the nation’s death toll now stands at 85, with the total number of infections surpassing 2,700.

Worldwide, according to data from John Hopkins University, there have been 3,429,795 confirmed cases of the virus, with the global death toll nearing 250,000.


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