NHS Providers, which represents hospitals and NHS trusts in England, said the English health and care system “started from a poor position” as coronavirus tightened its grip on Europe. The report said the NHS consistently “struggled” to demonstrate a “clear, effective and well communicated strategy”, with a lack of clarity on who would be tested, when, how, and with what frequency. NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said that as many as 120,000 tests would be needed daily for NHS workers once the UK comes out of lockdown, to stave off a second wave of the virus
With just over 52,000 tests carried out on Tuesday, the Government must make up a huge gap to achieve the goal before Friday.
He said: “Testing is one area where, despite all the work delivered by trusts and the NHS, the health and care system as a whole has struggled to develop an effective, co-ordinated approach.”
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose fiancee Carrie Symonds gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday, is set to address the nation at a daily Downing Street press conference for the first time this month where he will set out his latest ideas for social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Mr Johnson will be xpected to tell the UK it will be too early to ease restrictions due to the risk of an “exponential rise in infections”.
A Number 10 source told The Daily Telegraph: “It will very much be in the area of how we satisfy our five tests for coming out of lockdown, chief among which is making sure we don’t risk another exponential rise in infections.
“It’s still too early to be setting out any details of what any easing of the lockdown might look like.”
Coronavirus latest: Boris Johnson will dash hopes a UK lockdown will be lifted
Coronavirus latest: UK citizens are being asked to observe social distancing
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is also gathering on Thursday before Mr Johnson fronts the daily Downing Street press conference once again.
SAGE is looking at a selection of options for easing restrictions while still keeping the reproduction rate of the coronavirus – the number of new cases linked to a single individual – below one in order to stop it spreading exponentially.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma was reported to be set to put forward plans for an eventual “work place by work place” easing of lockdown in the coming days.
A Business Department spokesman said: “The Government has already set out five clear tests to consider before making any adjustment to its approach. It is only right the we work together with industry and unions to ensure workplaces are safe for both those in work now and for those going back to work as government measures develop.”
The comments came after Public Health England (PHE) announced the umber of coronavirus deaths in UK hospital has dropped for the second day in a row as 473 new fatalities were reported.
England had 391 new deaths, Scotland reported 60 and Wales had 22, taking the hospital death toll to 22,85.
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Coronavirus latest: The UK’s death toll included care homes and the wider community
5.18pm update: Concerns for ‘breathless’ Prime Minister
Boris Johnson is leading the daily coronavirus press conference for the first time since returning to No10 on Monday following his recovery from coronavirus.
However, his appearance has raised concern from some viewers, who fear the Prime Minister sounded breathless – a symptom of COVID-19 – in his opening remarks.
Writing on Twitter, one person said: “Boris Johnson doesn’t look good, hope he’s not rushing his return.”
Another user wrote: “He’s either nervous or he’s still breathless – breathing a lot!”
5.10pm update: Plan on steps forward to be revealed next week
The Prime Minister has promised to outline the next steps forward for the UK next week.
Pressure has been growing on the Government to explain what will happen when the country moves out of the current lockdown phase.
Mr Johnson said in the daily coronavirus press conference: “We will outline a comprehensive plan next week on how we can get our economy moving, children back to school or child care, how we can travel to work and how we can make life in the workplace safer and how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time restart the economy.”
Referring to conditions needed for easing lockdown restrictions, Mr Johnson added: “We must be sure that we can continue to protect the NHS and its ability to cope.
“We must see a sustained fall in deaths.
“We must all make sure that the measures we take do not risk a second spike that would overwhelm the NHS.”
5.05pm update: ‘Peak has been reached’
Mr Johnson said the UK has reached the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “We are passed the peak of this disease.. and on the downwards slope.”
5.02pm update: Boris Johnson leads today’s coronavirus press conference
The Prime Minister announces that the UK’s coronavirus death toll in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and in the community, has risen by 674.
He praised the public for their efforts in staying home and said because of this the NHS has been able to cope with the number of cases.
Mr Johnson said: “At no stage has our NHS been overwhelmed, and no patient has gone without life-saving equipment.”
4.48pm update: Dubai donates 60 tonnes of PPE to the NHS
The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has purchased 60 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) to donate to the NHS.
The first plane load arrived at Heathrow this afternoon.
A spokesman for the leader said the donation of PPE was because of his “deep and longstanding connections with the UK…he is determined to do his bit to keep Britain’s health workers safe”.
4.16pm update: Government hits out at Wetherspoons reopening plans
The Government has criticised Wetherspoons plans to reopen their pubs in June.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the move would confuse the public.
He said: “I can understand the frustration of proprietors and owners of retail and pub outlets, wanting to get back into business.
“I think it would be a mistake for different businesses or individuals to just go off on a tangent and do their own thing, that just creates confusion for the public.”
4.05pm update: Coronavirus POLL: Should Boris Johnson seek money from China for deadly outbreak?
Coronavirus continues to kill thousands of people around the world, with China accused of covering up the true extent of the initial outbreak, so should Boris Johnson seek money from Beijing for the deadly outbreak? VOTE IN OUR POLL – CLICK HERE.
A coronavirus test site in Darlington’s Mowden Park Arena
3.51pm update: House prices expect to fall
House prices are expected to fall by five percent this year due to the coronavirus crisis, Lloyds Banking Group has said.
The Group, which includes Bank of Scotland, Halifax, and Lloyds Bank, has said it’s working on the assumption house prices will fall this year before picking up by 2 percent next year, and by 2.5 percent in 2021.
They expect prices to fall by 0.7 percent over the next three years.
3.29pm update: ‘No easy way out’ of coronavirus lockdown
Wales’ chief scientific adviser for health has warned there is “no easy way out” our of the coronavirus crisis.
Dr Rob Orford said the government did not have “a lot of headroom” because infection levels would increase if lockdown restrictions were significantly lifted.
He said: “There is no easy way out, there is no easy answer.
“This is going to be a hard-fought battle and we will need to feel our way forwards working with colleagues at a UK level and internationally to find the best ways… There is no silver bullet to this problem.”
2.55pm update: Northern Ireland death toll
Mr Swann announced nine further deaths in Northern Ireland of patients who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in the region recorded so far by his department to 347.
2.30pm update: Northern Ireland on ‘knife edge’
Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann said the spread of Covid-19 so far across the community “has not been as serious as we first feared”.
Giving a statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on the COVID-19 Response, Mr Swann warned against complacency.
He said: “That does not mean the warnings were misplaced, it means the warnings were taken seriously and people stayed at home.
“Northern Ireland remains on a knife edge.”
Coronavirus latest: Boris Johnson held his first cabinet meeting today
2.05pm update: UK coronavirus death toll
The daily number of coronavirus deaths in UK hospital has dropped for the second day in a row as 473 new fatalities were reported.
England had 391 new deaths, Scotland reported 60 and Wales had 22, taking the hospital death toll to 22,85.
2.04pm update: Boris focussed on May 7 for review
Boris Johnson’s government is focused on May 7 when a review of social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak is due.
Mr Johnson, who chaired his first meeting of his top ministers on Thursday after falling ill with COVID-19, received an update on the crisis from his chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer, but work is ongoing on the lockdown measures.
His spokesman said: “We don’t want to relax the social distancing measures or do anything that could lead to the virus, which the British public has done so much to suppress, being spread in an exponential way again and that will guide our approach on the way forward.
“The date we are working towards is May 7. That is the date for the next review of the social distancing measures … that is where minds are focused.
“Track and trace is something we would look to be considering in the next stage in the fight against this pandemic which we are going to be dealing with for a significant amount of time to come.”
2.01pm update: More than 8k fines issued over coronavirus breaches
A total of 8,877 fines for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown laws were issued by police forces in England between March 27 and April 27, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said.
Coronavirus latest: Boris Johnson welcomed a baby boy on Wednesday
1.54pm update: Government ‘working hard’ to reach coronavirus goal
Downing Street has insisted the Government is “working hard” to hit its target of testing 100,000 for coronavirus by the end of the day.
The PM’s spokesman said that as of April 28, testing capacity had been increased to 77,365 and told a Westminster briefing: “The target is for 100,000 tests today and the Health Secretary and all of his team are working hard to hit it.”
He added: “You can chart the progress that we’ve made towards hitting that target and that we are working hard today to ensure that people who need tests get them.”
Earlier on Thursday, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland acknowledged the 100,000 target may not be met.
The PM’s spokesman said 42 drive-through test sites are now open and 17 mobile sites are operational.
1.45pm update: Boris chairs first cabinet meeting
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has chaired his first Cabinet meeting since he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus.
He chaired the daily coronavirus morning meeting, followed by meetings of his political Cabinet and full Cabinet, the PM’s official spokesman said.
Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance updated Cabinet on the response to coronavirus so far and the progress made in slowing the spread of the disease.
Secretaries of State then updated colleagues on the work their departments are doing.
The eurozone is edging closer to a disastrous recession after the economy plummeted by 3.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020, dealing another devastating blow to the European Union as the bloc struggles to contain the financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a preliminary estimate from the EU’s statistics office Eurostat, gross domestic product (GDP) in the 19 countries sharing the euro shrunk by 3.8 percent compared to the previous three month period – the sharpest quarterly decline since the time series started in 1995.
Reuters had polled several economists who had forecast a 3.5 percent contraction in the eurozone economy.
This follows marginal growth of 0.1 percent in the final three months of 2019.
This latest slump for economic output in the 19 countries sharing the euro will set alarm bells ringing in Brussels, as it is worse than during the financial crisis of 2008-09.
12.36am update: Scotland’s death toll revealed
The First Minister revealed a total of 1,475 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by 60 from 1,415 on Wednesday.
She said 11,353 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 319 from 11,034 the day before.
There are 1,748 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 up 21 from 1,727 the previous day.
Of these patients 109 are in intensive care, a drop of five.
Coronavirus latest:: The UK is on lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus
11.50am update: Germany extend social distancing
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said social distancing measures in Germany will be extended until May 10, ahead of a government meeting on Thursday to review coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
11.17am update: Japan prepares to extend state of emergency
Japan is preparing to extend its state of emergency over the coronavirus, originally set to end on May 6, for about a month.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament that he would consult infectious disease experts on whether to extend the emergency, which he declared on April 7 for seven prefectures including Tokyo.
10.31am update: Irish banks extend coronavirus loans
Ireland’s five retail banks, specialist and non-bank lenders agreed on Thursday to extend loan repayment breaks for customers hit by the coronavirus crisis to six months from three months, their representative body said.
Over 65,000 mortgage breaks and over 22,000 business breaks have been granted to date, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said in a statement. Allied Irish Banks Chief Executive told Reuters on Wednesday that its applications for mortgage assistance had stabilised.
The BPFI said in a statement: “BPFI members strongly appreciate the severity of the impact on families, individuals and businesses and it is for this reason, that we believe an extension of the existing payment break beyond three months may be required by many customers.”
10.15am update: German unemployment soars in April
Germany is braced for its deepest recession since World War Two, as the shutdown has shuttered many shops, businesses and factories, although a gradual easing of restrictions has started.
Monthly retail sales declined last month at their fastest rate in 13 years, as the coronavirus lockdown hit Europe’s biggest economy hard.
10am update: Spread of coronavirus contained in Czech Republic
Health Minister Adam Vojtech said the spread of the novel coronavirus has been contained in the Czech Republic and the government will continue to cautiously open up the economy.
The country has seen the number of new cases drop below 100 for the past eight consecutive days, and the number of active cases has also been on the decline.
The ministry said the reproduction rate of the virus has dropped to 0.7, which means every newly infected person passes the infection to less than one other person.
It predicted 7,900-9,700 total infections at the end of May, from 7,581 reported as of Thursday morning.
Coronavirus latest: The UK is in its sixth week of lockdown
9.38am update: Londoners told to ‘return home’ – Met warning
Londoners gathering at landmarks for the country’s weekly “clap for carers” event will be told to return home, the Metropolitan Police have said.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said Met officers and staff will continue to join the tribute at 8pm on Thursdays.
But he warned that people who are out without a reasonable excuse outlined in the Government’s lockdown rules will be asked to return home.
He said: “We have repeatedly reminded colleagues that they must maintain an appropriate social distance at all times where operationally possible. But to do this they also need the support and assistance of the public.
“As this event has gained prominence it is understandable that major landmarks, including Westminster Bridge in central London, have become focal points for those who wish to applaud.
“However, it is not acceptable for people to disregard the safety of themselves and others. Officers will be present tonight to engage, explain and encourage them to observe social distancing rules.
“Members of the public who are not away from their homes for one of the reasons outlined in the Government’s emergency legislation should expect to be asked to return home.
“In keeping with our approach to these rules throughout the lockdown, officers will only enforce this legislation as a last resort.”
8.42am update: No ‘sudden move’ into next phase of lockdown
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said there would not be a “sudden” move into the next phase of the lockdown.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think, within Government, there is already a lot of work going on as to what the future is going to look like – I think it would be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t do that.
“Certainly in my department, I’m looking ahead now to the medium term as to what the summer and autumn are going to look like in the prison and court system. We’ve got to start that work, in fact the work is already under way.
“That’s, of course, not saying that we’re suddenly going to move into a new phase – we need to be absolutely sure that the five tests that were set out some weeks ago are going to be met, and in particular the need to avoid that second or even third spike in the disease is clear to me both in terms of health and the well-being of the economy as well.”
8.38am update: Russia coronavirus cases surpass 100k
Russia on Thursday reported 7,099 new cases of the novel coronavirus, a record daily rise, bringing its nationwide tally to 106,498.
The official nationwide death toll rose to 1,073 after 101 people with the virus died in the last 24 hours, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.
8.13 am update: Sainsbury’s reports £500m coroanvirus hit
Sainsbury’s warned of a coronavirus hit of more than £500 million to the current year’s profits.
It said social distancing measures together with falls in clothing and fuel sales would offset surging grocery trade.
The retail giant said the impact of Covid-19 is expected to leave underlying pre-tax profits broadly flat for the year to March 2021, despite £450 million in business rates relief.
It has scrapped its final shareholder dividend and said decisions on further payouts would be deferred until later in the financial year – a decision which comes after rival Tesco faced criticism for paying out £635 million.
7.47am update: Captain Tom Moore celebrates his 100th birthday
Captain Tom Moore is celebrating his 100th birthday at home with his family after a whirlwind few weeks in which he has been elevated to national hero status and raised almost £30 million for the NHS.
The Second World War veteran set out to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday on Thursday and has far exceeded his initial fundraising target of £1,000.
To celebrate his landmark, Moore has been appointed the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College, based near the town where he grew up, a position that came with the approval of Queen Elizabeth, the defence ministry said.
There will also be two flypasts by Royal Air Force planes above “Colonel” Moore’s home in Bedfordshire, central England – one featuring historic World War Two aircraft and a second by modern helicopters.
7.32am update: Professor issues bleak warning over deaths
Professor Spiegelhalter said yesterday’s death toll, which included deaths in care homes and the wider community, was not high enough.
He predicted the total would be a lot higher at 30,000
An additional 3,811 deaths were recorded since the start of the outbreak after the UK changed its measurement methods.
The total reached by the new method of reporting is around 17 percent higher than previous data showed.
Of these, around 70 percent were outside hospital settings and around 30 percent were in hospital.
Professor Spiegelhalter, a statistics expert, told MailOnline: “It’s actually a lot more than that 3,811.
“The true number is probably at least as much again as they added in today, which would take it well above 30,000. They’re doing their best and it is a lot better than what we’ve been getting but it is still not the full picture.”