In England, 33 more people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, with NHS England saying the latest fatalities were reported in people aged between 50-99. 177 people have been killed across the UK nationwide, according to figures released by the the Department of Health and Social Care on Friday evening. They said 3,983 people had tested positive for the virus in the UK.
Wales reported its third coronavirus related death today, a 71-year-old with underlying health conditions.
It comes as a report revealed coronavirus restrictions could see social distancing in place for an entire year.
On Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister in a press briefing at Downing Street said: “First, we must stop the disease spreading to a point where it overwhelms our NHS.
“Every country in the world has the same problem.
“This is a disease that is so dangerous and so infectious that without drastic measures to check its progress it would overwhelm any health system in the world.
“That is why we announced the steps yesterday that we did – advising against all unnecessary contact – steps that are unprecedented since World War II.
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Coronavirus: Social distancing could be enforced for a year
California is on lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus
Saturday March 21
12.30am update: China and Pompeo clash
In a Fox News interview, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared: “The Chinese Communist Party didn’t get it right and put countless lives at risk as a result of that.”
Mr Pompeo is the US equivalent of Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary.
Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman has responded on Twitter.
Ms Hua wrote: “Stop lying through your teeth!”
“As WHO experts said, China’s efforts averted hundreds of thousands of infection cases.
“And now blame China for delay? Seriously?”
Mike Pompeo was accused of lying by Beijing
Friday March 20
11.20pm update: Government was warned against school closures
According to political blog, Guido Fawkes, the Government’s Scientific Advice Group for Emergencies (SAGE) sub-group on Scientific Pandemic Influenza group on Behaviour (SPI-B) said three weeks ago: “SPI-B have a consensus view that school closures will be highly disruptive and likely to present an unequal burden to different sections of society. Our understanding of reports from Japan is that there is growing discontent around the policy. Isolation of entire households also poses a substantial, and unequal, burden on those affected.”
10.00pm update: David Frost on lockdown
David Frost, the Government’s chief Brexit negotiator is going into isolation after showing coronavirus symptoms.
His EU counterpart Michel Barnier is also self-isolating, though the two men are believed to have not met in the last fortnight.
Gursimran Hans has taken over live reporting from Emily Ferguson.
9.10pm update: Children tol to ride bikes 2metres apart
Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer, has said children should avoid team sports and ride their bikes two metres apart to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said the Government was not banning going outside, but to do so in a way that reduced social contact.
Dr Harries said team games were not encouraged, as she warned against the “social element” of group activities.
8.36pm update: VE celebrations scaled back
National commemoration events to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe will be scaled back in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has announced.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that in line with advice from Public Health England, plans to mark VE Day 75 on May 8 will be changed.
A veterans’ procession down the Mall in London and events in St James’s Park will no longer go ahead, to protect the health and wellbeing of the second world war generation and the public.
7.48pm update: Zimbabwe confirms its first case of coronavirus
Zimbabwe has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a 38-year old man who returned from the United Kingdom on March 15.
7pm update: Government support for workers has been hailed a ‘landmark package’
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General has praised the Government’s response to the pandemic.
She said: “This is a landmark package of measures for business, people and jobs.
“The Chancellor’s offer of substantial payroll support, fast access to cash and tax deferral will support the livelihoods of millions. Firms and employees will respond with relief and determination.
“It marks the start of the UK’s economic fightback – an unparalleled joint effort by enterprise and government to help our country emerge from this crisis with the minimum possible damage. An important day for our country.”
6.10pm update: Kate and William visit NHS staff
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William have visited NHS staff to thank them for the vital work they have been doing throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
They spoke to staff members of the Centre, as well as Garrett Emmerson, the Chief Executive, about how they are dealing with the increase in demand on the NHS 11 service.
They heard the staff say members of the public can help allievate pressure on the service by using advice available online at nhs.uk/coronavirus before contacting 111.
5.30pm update: Boris pleads with Brits planning on going out tonight
Boris Johnson has warned certain members of the public they are not “invincible”.
His reference comes as the coronavirus has been reported to have a greater impact on the elderly rather than younger people.
During the press conference, Mr Johnson said: “We need to keep people apart. I want to stress that we will review the situation each month to see if we can relax these measures.
“Some people may be tempted to go out tonight, you may think you are invincible but there is no guarantee that you will get mild symptoms.
“You can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it onto others.”
Coronavirus could affect half of the people living in California
5.10pm update: Boris announces closure of restaurants, bars and gyms
Boris Johnson has announced the closure of all cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants from tonight.
This advice also applies to nightclubs, theatres, cinema, gyms and leisure centres.
5.07pm update: Boris urges people to adhere to Government advice
During his daily press conference, the Prime Minister has said the UK will defeat this disease by coming together, with a “huge national effort”.
He thanked the public for making sacrifices and adhering to the restrictions imposed at the beginning of the week.
4.25pm update: Merseyside Chief Constable tests positive for COVID-19
Chief Constable of Merseyside police Andy Cooke has tested positive for coronavirus.
He began self-isolating after displaying symptoms associated with the illness last week.
Mr Cooke said: “It was reported last week that I had self-isolated from work after developing coronavirus symptoms, I can confirm that yesterday I found I had tested positive for the virus.
“Despite having had the virus I have been able to continue to represent the force from home and have been working at both a regional and national level with chief officers, Government officials and representatives from other partnership organisations.
“My officers and staff are working hard to reassure and protect our communities and I believe it is incumbent on me in these unprecedented times of uncertainty to continue to support my officers and staff and ensure that the force is in a position to cope with the challenges ahead and keep the people of Merseyside safe.”
Northwick Park Hospital in northwest London has declared a “critical incident” as the number of patients with coronavirus continues to surge.
The hospital has confirmed is has reached “critical care capacity” and is working with a number of trusts in the capital to transfer those who require medical assistance at this time of national crisis.
Coronavirus stockpiling has depleted shops across the world
3.50pm update: Social distancing will reduce virus peak by 50-60%
A recent report by SAGE has revealed social distancing is expected to reduce the peak of the virus by between 50-60 percent.
The measure is the most effective way of stopping the spread of COVID-19 by far and is predicted to reduce the total number of deaths by up to 25 percent.
2.43pm update: Scientists have said that there would be a two to three week delay between social distancing and seeing an impact in hospitals
The SPI-M-O report has revealed that there would be a 2-3 week delay between measures being put into place and their impact in the critical units of hospitals.
The report has said: “It was agreed that the addition of both general social distancing and school closures to case isolation, household isolation and social distancing of vulnerable groups would be likely to control the epidemic when kept in place for a long period.
“The triggers for measures to be enacted and lifted could be set at a level of UK nationsand regions.
“The duration of control periods would be less important than the extent to which contacts are reduced. There would be a 2-3 week delay between measures being put into place and their impact being felt in ICU.”
2.27pm update: Charities desperately trying to co-ordinate the vulnerable with organisations who can help
People of the Streets, a social enterprise tackling homelessness, are urging those people in need to fill out a form and tell them what they need during this pandemic time.
The organisation wants to support the most vulnerable people in society by connecting both orgnisations in need of essential resources and organisations with resources to share.
Using data analysts, they aim to crowdsource the needs of organisations so they can be paired up efficiently.
See more at www.peopleofthestreets.org.
1.55pm update: Reduced service on trains across the country
Train operators have said they will reduce services from Monday because of the falling demand due to the pandemic.
This comes after the Government told the public to travel only if they have to.
Steve White, Chief Operating Officer, GTR, said: “This is an unprecedented situation for everyone and we – together with the rest of the rail industry – are doing our utmost to keep an essential service running for key workers who are doing such vital jobs.
“The message from the Government is clear – travel only if you have to. The changes we are making should allow us to sustain a timetable for those who absolutely have to travel such as doctors, nurses and the emergency services. We want to thank them and our own staff, who are working so hard to keep trains running.”
Charities are trying to tackle isolation during the pandemic
1.25pm update: Lidl has announced it will create 2,500 jobs to deal with the pandemic
The supermarket chain has said: “The new roles will provide temporary employment for those currently seeking work, with new recruits able to start immediately and pay matching those recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.
“The 2,500 roles will be created nationwide across Lidl’s 800 stores.”
1.07pm update: The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SPI-M-O) has told the Government social distancing restrictions could be in place for a year
The top scientists said: “It was agreed that a policy of alternating between periods of more and less strict social distancing measures could plausibly be effective at keeping the number of critical care cases within capacity.
“These would need to be in place for at least most of a year.”
12.30pm update: Martin Lewis has given advice to people who have had to postpone their wedding due to the virus
The financial journalist said: “I wish I had an easy answer. If you have wedding insurance speak to them.”
“If not can you do social distancing at the wedding (check with a doctor)?
“Yet don’t put your health at risk a long term happy healthy marriage is more important than a wedding day.”
12.06pm update: Coronavirus has killed four member of a family in New Jersey, US
The other 20 relatives of the family are quarantined in their homes, unable to mourn the loss
The New York Times has reported that the virus has killed four members of the family and affected another seven.
A man, 26, was arrested for not self isolating after he arrived on the island.
The island has implemented new rules, which means people should quarantine after they arrive for two weeks.
The man could face a £10,000 fine or even jail.
10.41am update: Lidl announced they will donate £10,000 to help vulnerable groups
The supermarket company has said that they hope the cash can be used for the elderly and families who need help during school closures.
Lidl said: “The announcement will see the supermarket donate £100,000 to its partnership with Neighbourly as part of the Covid-19 Emergency Community Fund.
“This follows the government’s announcement that schools will close from Friday 20th March 2020, affecting millions of families across the country.
“According to government statistics 3 million children are at risk of going hungry while they are out of school; 1 million children who receive free school meals during term time, and another 2 million children who are ineligible for free school meals but are growing up in households in in-work poverty.”
There is speculation that there could still be a lockdown in London
10.17am update: Coronavirus reaches Africa sparking alarm
Ghana’s Information Minister has said that the country is likley to record more cases of Coronavirus in the coming weeks.
This comes as the World Health Organisation has ordered Africa to wake up to the virus threats.
There are concerns that Africa’s health system would struggle to cope with the virus.
9.57am update: MoneySavingExpert (MSE) makes £1m pledge to help charities
Chairman of MSE Martin Lewis said he would release the cash to provide grants to charities across the UK.
The grants will be used to help with UK coronavirus-related poverty relief projects.
He said: “My hope is to get the money distributed within the next couple of weeks, and I’m looking for projects that are up and running, or in the process of being set up – as we want to deliver help at speed.”
9.43am update: The number of people who have died from Coronavirus has passed 10,000
The number of Coronavirus cases is more than 246,000 across the world.
The escalating death rate has caused authorities across the world to install lockdowns and other rules to stop the spread.
9.36am update: MP announces she will return to the frontline of NHS to tackle virus
Maria Caulfield MP has tweeted: “I will be returning to the front line in the NHS to support the fight against Coronavirus, important we all help where we can.”
Her announcement came after Matt Hancock asked all doctors and nurses who have recently left the NHS to return.
He said: “We need you now as part of the national effort to fight coronavirus.”
Boris Johnson could announce a lockdown in the UK, like other countries have
9.28am update: Engineers across the country step up to build ventilators
This has come after a call for “national effort for ventilator production” from the Government.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We made this call last weekend for manufacturers to come forward and make them because it became clear that even if we bought all the ones available we would still need more.”
8.58am update: Piers Morgan questions why Britain remains open when California is on lockdown
The GMB presenter has urged people to take the pandemic seriously and only leave the house when it is essential.
He tweeted this morning: “No responsible gym owner would remain open now.
“But they should be helped financially by the Government.”
Coronavirus: The PM has said there will be enough food for everyone
8.49am update: Coronavirus vaccine trials to begin next month
Scientists will conduct animal tests next week and trials will begin next month.
Prof Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, said: “We are conscious that a vaccine is needed as soon as possible and certainly by June–July, when we expect a big peak in mortality.”
8.32am update: Cases of Coronavirus in California doubling every four hours in some areas
The authorities believe that 20,000 more hospital beds could be required to deal with the outbreak.
Congress has been asked for financial support to support the crisis in California.