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The US president has declared he will sign an executive order to suspend immigration amid the coronavirus pandemic, as oil prices dipped below zero for the first time.
Meanwhile in the UK:
- The official UK coronavirus death toll reached 17,337, with another 823 Covid-19 deaths recorded in hospitals.
- The number of people who have tested positive in the UK reached more than 129,000.
- 18,206 tests were carried out on Monday, with just 10 days left for the government to reach its target of 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April.
Here are the latest developments on Covid-19:
Coronavirus vaccine to begin trials on Thursday
The health secretary says government-funded research at the University of Oxford had been accelerated due to the global pandemic.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on Tuesday, he said: “I can announce that the vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday.
“In normal times, reaching this stage would take years and I’m very proud of the work taken so far.
“At the same time, we will invest in manufacturing capability so that, if either of these vaccines safely work[s], we can make it available for the British people as soon as humanely possible.”
While the trials may start this week, it has previously been reported a vaccine will not be available before September.
Oxford University will be granted £20m to fund its clinical trials, while a project at Imperial College London will get £22.5m to support its phase two clinical trials.
Boris Johnson and Donald Trump discuss coronavirus pandemic
Boris Johnson has told Donald Trump he is “feeling better” as he recovers from coronavirus.
In a sign the PM was making a gradual return to work, Downing Street said two leaders had discussed the need for an international response to the pandemic and a post-Brexit trade deal.
A spokesperson for Downing Street said: “The prime minister spoke to President Trump this afternoon, and thanked him for his good wishes while he was unwell.
“The leaders agreed on the importance of a coordinated international response to coronavirus, including through the G7 – which the US currently chairs.
“They also discussed continued UK-US cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.”
The leaders are committed to continue working together, “including by signing a free trade agreement as soon as possible”.
Meanwhile, the White House said the pair had also discussed the need for co-operation to “reopen global economies”.
A White House spokesperson added: “President Trump and prime minister Johnson reaffirmed their close cooperation through the G7 and G20 to reopen global economies and ensure medical care and supplies reach all those in need.
“President Trump and prime minister Johnson also discussed bilateral and global issues, including our shared commitment to reaching a United States-United Kingdom free trade agreement.”
Johnson is expected to have a telephone audience with the Queen later this week for the first time in three weeks, during which he spent time in intensive care with Covid-19.
Deaths linked to coronavirus in England and Wales 41% higher than previously thought
The number of deaths linked to coronavirus in England and Wales up to April 10 was 41% higher than previously thought, new figures reveal.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the total number of deaths up to April 10 stood at 13,121.
This is 3,833 more than those reported daily by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The ONS statistics include people dying outside hospitals whose death certificates mentioned Covid-19, and people in hospital where Covid-19 is a suspected factor but a patient has not been tested.
National figures released by the DHSC, on the other hand, only include patients who have died in hospital after testing positive for the condition.
Cath Kidston permanently shuts all 60 stores, axing more than 900 jobs
The fashion retailer confirmed its stores will not reopen once the coronavirus lockdown is over after the company’s owners secured a deal to buy back its brand and online operations following its fall into administration.
Only 32 of its 940 staff will see their jobs secured as part of a deal which will see the business exist solely online.
Melinda Paraie, chief executive officer of Cath Kidston, said: “While we are pleased that the future of Cath Kidston has been secured, this is obviously an extremely difficult day as we say goodbye to many colleagues.
“Despite our very best efforts, against the backdrop of Covid-19, we were unable to secure a solvent sale of the business which would have allowed us to avoid administration and carry on trading in our current form.”
RAF to bring PPE equipment from Turkey ‘in the next few days’
A consignment of personal protective equipment being collected by the RAF from Turkey will be in the UK “in the next few days”, Local Government Minister Simon Clarke has said.
Asked whether it had left Turkey yet, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I can’t speak to that, I’m afraid. All I know is it set off last night.
“It will be with us obviously in the UK in the next few days, which is the core priority.”
Trump says he will suspend immigration
In a message posted on Twitter, president Donald Trump said he would suspend all immigration into the United States for an undisclosed amount of time as the nation reels from the ongoing spread of Covid-19.
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
It’s unclear how wide-ranging the suspension would be, and the White House and Department of Homeland Security did not immediately reply to HuffPost’s requests for clarification.
However the US president has been forced to rein in his sweeping proclamations related to the outbreak several times before.
He previously touted what he called a total “ban” on travel from China as cases of the coronavirus began to soar in the United States, but the mandate had notable exceptions for residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and for US citizens and permanent residents. Many flights continued to operate for weeks, ferrying nearly 40,000 people to America from China.
Making masks compulsory could put NHS at risk, warn hospital bosses
The NHS’s supply of face masks could be jeopardised if the government begins advising the public to wear them, hospital bosses have warned.
Scientific advisers for the government are carrying out a review of the use of face masks, despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying there is no evidence to support their use by the general population.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals and NHS trusts in England, has urged the government to “fully assess” the impact any new advice could have on health service supplies.
In a statement on Monday, he said: “Fluid repellent masks for health and care staff are key to safety and to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
“Securing the supply of masks, when there is huge global demand, is crucial. This must be a key consideration for government.
“There needs to be clear evidence that wearing masks, along with other measures, will deliver significant enough benefits to take us out of lockdown to potentially jeopardise NHS mask supply.”
Price of US oil falls below $0 for first time in history
The price of US oil fell to less than $0 per barrel for the first time in history as the knock-on effects of the coronavirus outbreak shook the world economy.
The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for May delivery ended on minus - yes, minus - $37.63. On Friday, the same product was valued at $18.27.
It led to the bizarre situation of oil producers paying buyers to take the commodity off their hands as they feared they had nowhere to put it.
Why has this happened now? The coronavirus pandemic has meant the demand for oil has collapsed. This is the result of the virus’s spread to all corners of the world, lockdowns and other knock-on effects.
Put simply, factories closing and people scaling back on using their car has meant demand for the fossil fuel that literally fuels economic activity has diminished. And there were updates on Monday underlining how the virus is knocking confidence.