/Coronavirus morning headlines as true UK death toll is set to be revealed

Coronavirus morning headlines as true UK death toll is set to be revealed

Here is a round-up of the latest news in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, April 29.

Follow updates on the world coronavirus pandemic on our live blog.

Confirmed worldwide cases:  3,138,895

Confirmed deaths:  218,010

Confirmed recoveries / discharges: 956,070.

More than 800 people have now died after contracting coronavirus in Wales, it has been revealed.

Public Health Wales confirmed 17 more fatalities on Tuesday to bring the overall total since the outbreak began to 813.

The NHS trust added that 9,512 people have now tested positive for Covid-19, a rise of 232 from Monday’s figure – although true numbers are expected to be much higher.

True UK coronavirus death toll set to be revealed

The full impact of Covid-19 on the UK is set to be revealed as the Government prepares to unveil the combined number of daily UK deaths in hospitals, care homes and the community linked to the killer virus.

There is currently an 11-day time lag for the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) data on the number of people who have died in care homes and their own homes after contracting coronavirus.

The true number of deaths of people in Wales is two thirds higher than is being reported daily by Public Health Wales, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the public would receive up-to-date figures to go alongside the number of hospital deaths as of Wednesday, while the Department of Health and Social Care said figures dating back from early March up to April 28 would also be declared.

A medical worker takes a sample from a person at a drive-in Covid-19 testing centre
(Image: Getty Images)

A Government graph comparing the nation’s death rate to countries across the world indicated that, once community and care home deaths were factored in, the UK could end up with the highest casualty rate in Europe.

Speaking at the Number 10 press briefing on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said that in an effort to “bring as much transparency as possible” to the death figures, “from tomorrow we will be publishing not just the number of deaths in hospital each day, but the number of deaths in care homes and the community too”.

It comes as 21,678 patients have now died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Monday, up 586 on the day before.

Analysis by the PA news agency showed some 24,243 deaths involving coronavirus have been formally registered across the UK, though the true toll is thought to be far higher.

ONS figures released on Tuesday showed around three in 10 of all Covid-19 deaths are now occurring in care homes.

In the most recent figures which only cover the year up to April 25, the figures from the ONS show that there had been 1,016 deaths in Wales where Covid-19 was recorded on the death certificate.

Testing policy ‘under review’ in Wales

The UK Government confirmed a major expansion of its coronavirus testing policy.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced this evening that testing for Covid-19 would be expanded to all care home residents and staff regardless of whether they had coronavirus symptoms, and all those aged 65 and over with symptoms and their households.

The expansion also includes anyone who would have to leave home to go to work and who is from a household where people have symptoms. These people would be eligible for testing from Wednesday, Minister Hancock said.

When asked on Tuesday evening if it would also ramp up its level of testing for coronavirus, the Welsh Government said only that it would keep its testing policy ‘under review’.

In Wales, only care home staff and residents who have symptoms are currently being tested, as well as residents who return from hospital.

Plane carrying vital PPE lands in Cardiff

A flight carrying a month’s supply of fluid resistant gowns for Wales has landed at Cardiff Airport.

The 200,000 gowns sourced by the authorities in Wales have been flown over from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Vital PPE being offloaded from a plane at Cardiff Airport
Vital PPE being offloaded from a plane at Cardiff Airport
(Image: PA)

According to health minister Vaughan Gething the gowns are “a real shortage area” for PPE and this delivery could keep hospital and care home workers equipped for a month.

The gowns will now be taken by the military to health and care settings throughout Wales.

A second flight delivering PPE from Hangzhou, China, with 460,000 gowns arranged by Wales is expected to arrive in Cardiff later this week.

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Former PM to aid Wales’ recovery from Covid-19

Gordon Brown will help guide Wales’ recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as part of a new advisory group.

The former Labour prime minister is one of three external advisers expected to lend their expertise to help areas such as the economy and public services recover from the effects of Covid-19.

The Welsh Government’s counsel general and Brexit minister Jeremy Miles will lead the work on Wales’s recovery, with the full membership of his external advisory group still to be finalised.

Gordon Brown
(Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

But on Wednesday, the Welsh Government announced Mr Brown would be joined by Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and Dr Rebecca Heaton, member of the UK Committee on Climate Change, as the first three names who have agreed to take part.

On Tuesday, Mr Brown, who was Prime  Minister between 2007 and 2010, called on US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to “step up to the plate” and pledge to join a multibillion-pound drive to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

He insisted there was a “deadly urgency” about nations working together now to stop a second wave of the disease impacting on the world’s poorest countries, and then returning to the rest of the globe.

Welsh doctors believe nicotine patches could help

Leading Welsh doctors claim nicotine patches could offer hope of a possible treatment for coronavirus.

Jonathan Davies, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, said the “powerful” drug has the potential to block the virus from entering cells.

The research, which was created with two of his colleagues, was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and has received recognition from leading physicians in Wales.

Welsh doctors claim Nicotine could help treat coronavirus
(Image: Getty)

The treatment option is now being looked at by scientists in France who carried out a study involving nearly 500 hospital patients in Paris.

They concluded that those who already smoked were becoming less infected with Covid-19 than other people.

The team are now planning trials to establish whether the use of nicotine patches could protect individuals from the infection.

First patient at Welsh field hospital

The first patient has been admitted to Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, the Dragon’s Heart Hospital inside Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

It is the largest temporary hospital in Wales and the second largest in the UK and will provide up to 2,000 additional beds for Covid-19 patients.

The first patient arrives at Wales’ largest temporary field hospital at the Principality Stadium
(Image: Cardiff and Vale Health Board)

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board confirmed the hospital had received its first patient, who had been transferred there by St John Ambulance.

Report warns of ‘huge delays’ for court cases

The coronavirus outbreak could lead to “huge delays” in court cases and record prisoner numbers, a think-tank has warned.

Pressure piled on the criminal justice system by the pandemic combined with an anticipated rise in suspects facing charges as a result of the Government’s 20,000 police officer recruitment drive could cause an “unprecedented” backlog of court proceedings, according to the Institute for Government (IfG) and the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa).

Research suggests that waiting times to hear cases could increase by more than 70% in the event of a six-month lockdown, with many defendants and victims forced to wait more than half a year for trials in the crown courts.

This could result in the highest average waiting time ever recorded, the IfG said.

To resolve the backlog, the think-tank calculates the Government would need to spend an extra £55 million to £110 million a year for two years so the necessary extra trials could take place.

Online supermarket sales expected to jump by a third

Online grocery sales are expected to grow by around a third during 2020, due to the “seismic impact” that Covid-19 is having on people’s shopping habits.

The online grocery market is forecast to grow by 33% in 2020 to reach an estimated value of £16.8 billion, up from £12.7 billion in 2019, market research agency Mintel said.

(Image: PA)

The big jump follows four years in a row of slowing growth. In 2019 growth fell to a historic low of just 2.9%.

Mintel estimates the market will be worth £17.9 billion by 2024, growing by 41% over the five-year period.

It said recent changes in people’s shopping habits may be longlasting, with 36% of people having increased the amount of online shopping they do generally, 50% trying to limit the time they spend in-store and a further 9% using “click-and-collect” services more.

Death toll passes one million in America

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has passed a million, accounting for nearly a third of the total cases worldwide.

The figures, from tracking at Johns Hopkins University, show a worldwide death toll of more than 210,000, though the real numbers are likely to be higher owing to limited testing and differences in counting deaths.

States are beginning to lift their restrictions as the death toll from Covid-19 in the US surpasses the 58,220 service personnel killed in Vietnam.

Similarly, countries in Europe are beginning to loosen their lockdown restrictions, and France, Spain and Greece are among the latest to put forward roadmaps for restarting their economies.

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