The Department of Health released its daily figures this afternoon, showing the hospital death toll rose to 15,464 from 14,576 as of 4pm (GMT) on April 17. As of 9am on Saturday, it was confirmed 357,023 people have been tested for coronavirus, of which 114,217 tested positive. The numbers of those in the UK who have died from COVID-19 has continued to rise in recent weeks, however, there is hope Britain may soon reach a plateau.
Current figures only record deaths which occur in hospitals, rather than those which happen at home or in care homes.
Overall, 460,437 tests have been done, with 21,389 tests on Friday, excluding data from Northern Ireland.
The news comes as Britain has purchased millions of serological tests to check whether people have been infected, in the hopes many will be immune after contracting the disease.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is no guarantee anyone could be immune after contracting and recovering from the virus.
At least 56 NHS workers have died from coronavirus
Robert Jenrick announced extra funding for local councils
In other coronavirus developments
Coronavirus LIVE cases
Sunday April 19
2.50am update: Amazon battle
Amazon has closed its warehouse in France following a court order.
This has disrupted deliveries to those living under lockdown.
Frederic Duval, Amazon’s chief executive in France, said the decision came as the order was ambiguous over what is ‘essential’ and the company may face a €1 million (£869,000) fine every day they are in breach.
Mr Duval explained: “I don’t know whether a nail-clipper is essential — same thing for a condom.
“The ambiguity forces us not to take any risks.”
2.20am update: Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was asked in an interview with Newsweek about her news conferences getting less coverage than those of New York’s Andrew Cuomo and California’s Gavin Newsom: “Well, the incredible number of patients in New York City has gotten the attention of the world.
“Frankly, it’s got my attention, too.
“What’s happening here in Michigan is an important story and people are paying attention, but we’re nowhere near the numbers that they have in New York City.
“There are a lot of factors going into what we’re seeing and questions that need to be answered about the disparate impact the virus seems to be having based on race.
“That’s something that’s really important and people should be paying attention to those things as well. “
Whistleblowers have said North Korean public lectures have revealed the country has had cases
1.50am update: Antibody test
An anti-body test of 3,300 volunteers at Santa Clara suggests infections could be 85 times higher than originally thought.
Dr Eren Bendavid who led the study explained: “Our findings suggest that there is somewhere between 50- and 80-fold more infections in our county than what’s known by the number of cases than are reported by our department of public health.”
The results suggested the mortality rate upper limit was only 0.2 percent, down from the nationwide tally of 4.1 percent based on official figures.
1.20am update: North Korea
The North Korean Government officially claims to have no cases of coronavirus.
But, sources within the country told Radio Free Asia that public lectures have confirmed cases.
The lecturers said the confirmed cases were in Pyongyang, South Hwanghae province and North Hamgyong province.
12.50am update: Trial in Mumbai
Hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by Donald Trump will be tested in Mumbai neighbourhoods.
Suresh Kakani, the additional commissioner at Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, said: “This is a one-time window available to us and may give answers for the pandemic the world is struggling with.
“We are taking utmost care to understand the side effects before implementing this.”
The USS Theodore Roosevelt in port in Pearl Harbour
12.20am update: Navy to decide captain’s fate
Admiral Mike Gilday, the top admiral of the US Navy, will decide if Captain Brett Cozier stepped out of line when he sent an email pushing for sterner action to safeguard his crew on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
As of Friday, 660 sailors on the ship tested positive, one has died and more than 4,000 members of crew are quarantined on Guam.
Donald Trump has said the captain should not have sent the memo, but also Cozier should not be destroyed for having a “bad day”.
Saturday April 18
11.50pm: China closes 153 social media accounts over nationalist content
China has closed down 153 social media accounts over fake nationalist content.
The accounts claimed neighbouring countries longed to unify with China, with fears the coronavirus outbreak was driving nationalist content.
The counties included Kazakhstan, Vietnam and the Indian state of Manipur.
Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry this week summoned Zhang Xiao, China’s ambassador to the nation, to complain about an article, titled “Why is Kazakhstan eager to return to China?”
11.20pm update: China makes call for European investment
China’s Vice-Premier Liu He has called EU leaders as China looks to step up investment talks with the bloc.
The news comes as nations in Europe have grown suspicious of Beijing’s handling of coronavirus.
Gursimran Hans has taken over live reporting from Emily Ferguson.
10.22pm update: Donald Trump announces some states will start to lift restrictions
During this evening’s press conference, US President Donald Trump has announced some states will begin lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
He said that Texas and Vermont will allow certain businesses to reopen on Monday while still observing coronavirus-related precautions and Montana will begin lifting restrictions on Friday.
He said: “We continue to see a number of positive signs that the virus has passed its peak.”
WHO chiefs have warned world leaders that investing heavily in antibody tests may not be the answer, as they say there is no proof those who have been infected cannot be infected again.
But Dr Maria van Kerkhove an infectious disease epidemiologist based at the WHO, said: “There are a lot of countries that are suggesting using rapid diagnostic serological tests to be able to capture what they think will be a measure of immunity.
“Right now, we have no evidence that the use of a serological test can show that an individual has immunity or is protected from reinfection.”
She added: “These antibody tests will be able to measure that level of seroprevalence – that level of antibodies but that does not mean that somebody with antibodies means that they are immune.”
8.33pm update: At least 56 NHS workers die from coronavirus
At least 56 NHS workers have died after testing positive for coroanvirus.
But the official death toll stands at 43, according to the latest figure from the Department of Health.
7.45pm update: Boris Johnson missed five coronavirus cobra meetings
Boris Johnson missed five cobra meeting during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, the Sunday Times reports.
Mr Johnson is understood to have skipped the meetings to prioritise his personal life and spent over two weeks of the half-term break with his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds.
7pm update: France’s official figures have been announced
French health officials say there have been a further 364 coronavirus deaths in hospital and a further 273 eaths in care homes.
6.14pm update: Ireland’s death toll rises
Ireland’s coronavirus death toll rose by 41 on Saturday, bringing the country’s total to 571.
The Department of Health also reported 778 newly-confirmed cases, bringing the total number since the outbreak began to 14,758.
5.34pm update: NHS reveals what Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising will go towards
Captain Tom Moore has raised an incredible £23million for the NHS and the money will help buy food parcels and counselling sessions for frontline workers, as well as electronic tablets to allow patients to talk with their loved ones.
Ian Lush, chairman of NHS Charities Together, said its around 160 members had already received £35,000 each – and the money they get will go towards staff wellbeing and helping patients and their families.
He told the BBC: “For example, we’re paying for extra counselling for staff because they’re going through a really traumatic time, we’re paying for food packages, for wellbeing packs they can pick up after a shift and take home so they don’t have to worry about shopping.
“And for patients things like electronic tablets they can use in the wards, we’re paying for extra WiFi as well, so they can communicate with their loved ones who aren’t able to visit them. And that’s making a real difference too.”
5.03pm update: Boris Johnson is ‘resting and recuperating’
Boris Johnson is “resting and recuperating at Chequers”, Mr Jenrick has said.
He told this afternoon’s press conference: “He has had some contact with ministers, but mostly with his private office here at Downing Street and that’s absolutely right.
“We all wish him well and hope that he takes the time to get better as quickly as he possibly can in the interim.”
PPE equipment is running out in hospitals across the country
4.48pm update: Tonnes of PPE to arrive tomorrow – but there’s a big problem
Robert Jenrick has announced frontline NHS workers will receive a shipment of 84 tonnes of PPE tomorrow, but a journalist points out there’s a big problem with the amount being delivered.
He said: “A very large consignment of PPE is due to arrive in the UK tomorrow from Turkey which amounts to 84 tonnes of PPE and will include for example 400,000 gowns.”
But ITV jouralist Dan Hewitt said the quanitity would run out in just a matter of days.
He said: “On the gowns I think you said 400,000 will be delivered in the next couple of day but that only covers three days worth of supply for the NHS.
“They use about 155,000 a day so that’s a small amount given this is going to go on for several weeks and months.”
4.36pm update: Robert Jenrick says it was wrong for family to be told they couldn’t attend funeral
Mr Jenrick has asked councils to keep cemeteries open to allow families to grieve for their loved ones.
He pointed to the death of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, who died after contracting Covid-19.
He said the tragedy was compounded after the family could not attend his funeral.
“That is not right and it shouldn’t have happened,” he added.
“For clarity, funerals can go ahead with close family present.
“Social distancing measures must be respected, but families must have the opportunity to say a respectful goodbye to those that they love.”
4.15pm update: Families must be given chance to grieve
Mr Jenrick said families must have the opportunity to say a respectful goodbye and said extra guidance will be published on this soon.
He said close family members must be allowed to attend funerals.
He also announced all cemeteries and graveyards will reopen to allow people to seek solace and privately law flowers.
4.13pm update: Parks must remain open
All parks must remain open, Mr Jenrick has said but reminded people not to congregate in groups.
4.11pm update: 90% of homeless in safe accommodation
The communities secretary thanked local councils for ensuring that 90 percent of homeless people have been offered safe accommodation.
4.09pm update: Jenrick praises Captain Tom Moore
Mr Jenrick praised Captain Tom Moore for raising over £22million for the NHS.
He said: “I am sure you will all want to join me in thanking Captain Tom Morre for his truly heroic efforts.”
As way of thanks, he said: “I can’t think of a more worthy person to be the guest of honour to be at the opening of the NHS Harrogate hospital.”
Coronavirus UK: A new coronavirus testing centre in Coventry
4.03pm update: Robert Jenrick leads today’s press briefing
The communities secretary has announced local councils will get an additional £1.6billion of new funding.
He said: “We are backing councils to ensure vital services continue despite the increased pressures.”
He thanked councils for delivering essential supplies and said: “They are ensuring our bins continue to be collected, schools remain open to children of key workers and helping rough sleepers off the streets to protect them from the virus.”
3.51pm update: Ireland announces strategy for lifting restrictions
The chairman of Ireland’s COVID-19 expert advisory group has said lifting restrictions on people’s movements will happen in a “slow and controlled manner”.
Cillian De Gascun said restrictions will be removed gradually, with some businesses being allowed to open at a reduced capacity.
But he warns society will not immediately return to how it was.
3.28pm update: Government defends its UK exit plan
The Government faced criticism from both Tory and opposition MPs for failing to fully outline the UK’s lockdown exit strategy.
But a Government spokesman has insisted there is a clear approach to ending the lockdown, which Dominic Raab has previously outlined.
A spokesman said: “The Government has already set out five clear tests to consider before making any adjustment to its approach.
“At all times we have been consistently guided by scientific advice to protect lives.
“The current advice from Sage is that relaxing any of the measures could risk damage to public health, our economy, and the sacrifices we have all made.
“Only when the evidence suggests that it is safe to do, and the scientific advice provides for it, will we adjust these measures.”
The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon recently hinted she was willing to break ranks with the rest of the UK to publish a lockdown exit strategy which specifically concerned Scotland.
She said: “If the evidence and the science tell us that because we are all at different stages of the infection curve we might need to do things slightly differently, it would be astounding for any first minister to say that they would simply ignore that.”
Do you agree with Ms Sturgeon’s opinion? Vote in Express.co.uk’s poll.
Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising has surpassed £23million today
2.50pm update: Captain Tom Moore tops the iTunes chart with charity single
Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old veteran who has raised millions for the NHS by walking around his garden, has topped the iTunes chart alongside Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care choir with their charity single You’ll Never Walk Alone – hours after the track was released.
Captain Tom tweeted his excitement: “Number 1 on the iTunes chart with @mrmichaelball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir, and 20 MILLION POUNDS for the @NHSCharities!”
Express.co.uk has recently started a petition to get Captain Tom a knighthood. More information can be found here.
2.40pm update: Ex-WHO official comments on coronavirus figures
Professor Karol Sikora, former director of the WHO Cancer Programme has tweeted concerning today’s coronavirus case rate and death toll numbers.
He said: “Numbers steady today. These fatality figures are just awful. Due to the nature of the virus we will stay on the plateau for some time, but I’m relieved the numbers have stabilised.
“Don’t lose hope – the number of new infections should reduce next week.”
2.35pm update: More than £1 million raised in campaign to thank NHS staff
More than £1 million has been raised by a campaign to thank NHS staff for their work during the coronavirus crisis.
OneMillionClaps has been supported by more than 200,000 people in a week, who donated £5 to send a personal message of thanks and support to healthcare workers.
ITV, the official broadcast partner for the campaign, dedicated a day of broadcasting messages to frontline NHS staff.
Donations will go towards providing supplies for NHS staff, patients and volunteers, including food, travel, mental health support and accomodation.
The Government’s plan to fight back against coronavirus
2.25pm update: WHO offers stark warning to COVID-19 survivors
A stark warning has been issued by the World Health Organisation on coronavirus, which states there is no evidence of immunity after contracting the deadly disease.
The health organisation, which is spearheading the response to COVID-19, have warned that despite the scramble across the globe for antibody tests, there is no proof those who have been infected cannot contract the disease again.
Dr Maria van Kerkhove told a press conference in Geneva: “There are a lot of countries that are suggesting using rapid diagnostic serological tests to be able to capture what they think will be a measure of immunity. Right now, we have no evidence that the use of a serological test can show that an individual has immunity or is protected from reinfection.
“These antibody tests will be able to measure that level of seroprevalence – that level of antibodies but that does not mean that somebody with antibodies means that they are immune.”
A Number 10 source has said Dominic Cummings, the PM’s top adviser, is responsible for the Government’s refusal to extend the Brexit Transition Period despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Cummings, who has been self-isolating recently, returned to Downing Street this week to offer advice to the Government, with a Number 10 source saying Mr Cummings played a key role in the decision to stick to the December 31 deadline.
The source told The Times: “Dominic’s back, and he’s making himself felt. Back to his forceful best, I’d say.”
NHS staff may be forced to walk out of their roles fighting coronavirus if they do not have enough protective equipment, a union has warned.
Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been on the frontline tackling the spread of COVID-19 for the past few weeks.
However, many have lamented a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) which could prove lifesaving.
Now, a union has said medical staff could be forced to walk out from their jobs as a result of extreme shortages.
NHS staff are dealing with a rapid increase in cases
1.40pm update: Portugal considers compulsory face mask usage
Portugal may make the usage of face masks on public transport compulsory in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The country may also consider the closure and restriction of beaches during the summer months when the lockdown in the country is lifted.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa told the country’s Expresso newspaper he planned to relax restrictions in various parts of life from May onwards.
He said: “This virus doesn’t hibernate in the summer. Mass gatherings cannot happen. Municipalities will have to take necessary measures so that we can go to the beach without overcrowding.”
1.25pm update: British Transport Police officer dies from coronavirus
A detective constable with the British Transport Police has died from coronavirus, the force has confirmed.
Det Con John Coker, 53, was admitted to hospital with the virus after falling ill on March 22, however he sadly died on Friday – he leaves behind a wife and three children.
British Transport Police chief constable, Paul Crowther, paid tribute to Detective Coker saying: “My thoughts are with John’s family, for whom the last three weeks have been incredibly difficult and who will be struggling to deal with this most distressing outcome.
“Local colleagues have been in constant contact with John’s wife and will pass on the heartfelt condolences of us all. BTP will continue that support over the coming days, weeks and months. Understandably this is a very difficult time for John’s wife and family and they have asked for privacy. My thoughts are also with the many officers and staff who worked alongside John, as we each come to terms with this truly awful news.”
1.05pm update: Netherlands – update
Cases in the Netherlands have risen in the last 24 hours, according to Dutch health ministers.
The case numbers have risen by 1,140 to 31,589 in the European country.
There are also 142 new deaths which have been reported.
12.35pm update: North Korea cases
Lecturers in North Korea have told citizens there are in fact cases within the country, with the earliest potentially reported at the end of March, Radio Free Asia has reported.
Pyongyang has claimed there are no cases in the country, however the lecturers, who were speaking to local organisations and neighbourhood watch groups, said there were cases in the country.
Numbers were not provided, however Radio Free Asia cited the reports of cases from two sources in Pyongyang and Ryanggang.
12.05pm update: Spain – update
Spain has seen a drastic increase in coronavirus cases within the last 24 hours, the country’s health ministry has confirmed
Cases have risen by over 3,000, from 188,068 on Friday to 191,726.
The country has also seen an increase in the death toll rising from 19,478, to a total of 20,043.
11.55am update: Britons to be repatriated due to coronavirus
Britons stranded in Bangladesh are to be repatriated within the coming days after the Government charted four flights to rescue them.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed the flights, stating those deemed most at risk such as the seriously ill and the elderly will be given priority.
It is expected 850 Britons will board the flights which will depart from Dhaka on April 21, 23, 25 and 26.
Tickets will cost £600 per person.
NHS Nightingale Hospitals have been built across the country to combat the virus
11.25am update: Queen cancels birthday gun salute
The Queen has asked that there be no gun salute to mark her birthday on Tuesday, it has been reported.
Her Majesty is due to celebrate her 94th birthday on April 21, and this is usually marked by blank rounds being fired from across London.
However, royal reporter Chris Ship said the monarch didn’t believe it to be appropriate due to the coronavirus crisis.
Citing a Buckingham Palace source, he said: “Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances.”
10.35am update: Iran – update
The total number of cases of COVID-19 in Iran has now reached 80,868 according to the country’s health officials.
Also reported was an increase in the country’s death toll which now stands at 5,031.
Iran is one of the most infected countries from coronavirus in the world.
10.20am update: Man jailed for coughing during pandemic
A man has been jailed for six months for coughing in the face of a police officer while claiming he had coronavirus.
48-year-old Jonathan Yeo appeared before Exeter magistrates court and admitted assaulting the constable on April 10th.
Mr Yeo was ordered to pay £100 in compensation to the officer.
Symptoms of coronavirus
10.10am update: Indonesia – update
Indonesia, which has the most number of COVID-19 deaths in Asia outside of China, has reported in increase in case numbers and the country’s death toll.
Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto reported 325 new cases of the disease, bringing the total number of infections in Indonesia to 6,248.
There were also 15 new deaths reported, bringing the total to 535.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and surpassed the Philippines this week as the country with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
9.40am update: Russia – update
Russia has reported an increase in its death toll from COVID-19 – an increase of 40 to 313.
Russian authorities also reported 4,785 new infections in the last 24 hours in a record jump for cases in the country.
The total number of cases in Russia now stands at 36,793.
9.25am update: Phillipines – update
The Phillipines’ health ministry has confirmed 10 new fatalities as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The country has also reported 209 new infections from the COVID-19 disease, bringing the total to 6,087, with deaths reaching 397.
29 more patients have recovered from the illness – this total stands at 516.
8.45am update: Councils could resort to ‘extreme cost-cutting’ amid coronavirus pandemic
Local councils have expressed concern over funding to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, with a local government boss predicting “extreme cost-cutting”.
Richard Watts, from the Local Government Association, has written to Housing and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick to provide insight into the mounting difficulty for local councils in tackling the crisis.
Mr Watts has appealed to the government, asking for them to “do whatever it takes” to assist local councils.
A spokesman from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government said the government would support councils to provide services during the pandemic.
8.30am update: Japan cases hit 10,000
The number of confirmed cases in Japan has hit 10,000, the public broadcaster for the country said.
The news comes days after a state of emergency was declared in the nation in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asking citizens to stay indoors.
The country has so far suffered just over 200 deaths from COVID-19.
8.25am update: Ministers criticised over coronavirus exit strategy
Sir Iain Duncan Smith has criticised ministers for refusing to discuss an exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown in the UK.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “The Government is going to have to accept and admit we are coming out of lockdown.
“We need to trust the British people and not treat them like children. We must respect their common sense. They need to know that the sun is rising at some point in an economic sense.”
Several senior Tory ministers have been pressed to lay out an exit strategy, but the government has said it is too early to share these plans.
The government has issued a campaign to encourage people to protect themselves against COVID-19
8.10am update: Trump defends tweets over US lockdown
President Donald Trump has been forced to defend tweets in which he appeared to support protests and uprisings against strict lockdown measures in several US states – in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
A string of tweets by Mr Trump read: “LIBERATE MINNESOTA”, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN”, and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA”.
Mr Trump stood by his remarks, telling a press briefing he believed measures implemented by the states were “too tough”.
The death toll in the US has climbed to over 37,000, and the country is one of the most infected and affected in the world.
7.55am update: Concern over Personal Protective Equipment
A British Medical Association (BMA) survey of more than 6,000 doctors across the country has revealed concern about inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to guard against COVID-19.
The survey showed a significant amount of respondents remain without necessary protection whilst fighting the virus.
There are fears some hospitals could totally run out of PPE by this weekend.
7.40am update: China orders Wuhan testing
China has ordered anyone working in a service-related profession in Wuhan to be tested for coronavirus if they wish to leave the city.
Wuhan, where COVID-19 is first thought to have originated, recently lifted a 70-day lockdwon which all but wiped out traces of the pandemic there.
A nucleic acid test must be taken before leaving the city, the National Health Commission announced in an order.
The government of Hubei will pay for the tests.