The Government has confirmed a further 621 COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours in figures revealed by Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick. Mr Jenrick also confirmed over 100,000 people had been tested for the virus yesterday.
With the death toll rising, the race is on to find a treatment for COVID-19, and Chelsea and Westminster hospital are hopeful they may have the cure to the virus.
A research paper published today confirmed that if any of the drugs are even slightly effective, it could transform the pandemic.
Dr Michael Pelly, HIV specialist Professor Anton Pozniak and international finance consultant Guy de Selliers, set out a three-phase plan for Britons to return to normality.
This would see the lockdown lifted far quicker than Government advisers envisage.
The authors have suggested that as the hospital admissions are falling, the easing of restrictions could even begin within two weeks.
Drug trials could mean that lockdown restrictions will ease in two weeks
Additional restrictions could be lifted due to the trial results in early June, with a full end to the lockdown by mid-summer.
Dr Pelly said: “HIV completely changed as a disease through the development of treatments, without scientists ever developing a vaccine.
“In the short-term antivirals may give us the option we need.
“We can’t live in lockdown forever. In the long term, we need a vaccine, we need drugs for early disease, we need drugs for late disease, we need the whole gamut.”
Coronavirus map latest
Sunday May 3
12.15am update: Colorado order
Colorado Governor Jarrod Pollis revealed the state did not publicly reveal an order for 100,000 test kits from South Korea.
Mr Pollis told Colorado Public Radio: “We were worried that the federal government or somebody else would take them.
“We kept it under wraps. We simply didn’t know if anybody would swoop in… I mean, we didn’t want another state or the feds or anybody.”
Saturday May 2
11.15pm update: Germany rejects China
Germany’s Foreign Ministry has written a letter to the Bundestag claiming it rejected China’s demands on making pro-Beijing statements regarding the coronavirus.
“The German government is aware of individual contacts made by Chinese diplomats with the aim of effecting positive public statements on the coronavirus management by the People’s Republic of China.
“The federal government has not complied with these requests.”
Gursimran Hans has taken over live reporting from Bill McLoughlin.
9.15pm update: New York “not open for business”
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo has pushed back against what he has called premature demands to reopen the state.
Some states have partially re-opened their economies over the weekend, Mr Cuomo said New York was not ready to follow suit.
He added: “Even when you are in uncharted waters, it doesn’t mean you proceed blindly.
“Use information to determine action – not emotions, not politics, not what people think or feel, but what we know in terms of facts.”
8.19pm update: France reports rise in COVID-19 deaths
France has reported a further 166 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to 24,760.
7.43pm update: Britons given boost over antibody response
Britons were given a boost by experts after deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries revealed new evidence of a strong antibody response from “a large percentage of people”.
She said: “But I think we have also started to see with some very small pieces of evidence to people in this country.
“A very large percentage of these do have a good response.
“How long it is going to last and whether they will just provide a response for one season or two or three years ahead we don’t know, so still lots of uncertainties but a lot of positive hope for a vaccine.”
6.42pm update: 63-year-old nurse dies in Oxford
Philomina Cherian, 63, died on April 30 at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital after contracting COVID-19.
Her husband Joseph Varkey said: “She was a great human being, a caring mother and wife. She was a dedicated nurse. For her, nursing was not just a profession but it was her passion.
“She would have lived for so many years and enjoyed her well-deserved retired life if she was not affected by Covid.”
6.02pm update: Coronavirus restrictions in Singapore to be eased
Singapore will begin to ease coronavirus restrictions over the next few weeks, authorities have confirmed.
Small businesses will be allowed to reopen from May 12.
This comes as officials confirmed 447 new infections, the smallest daily rise in two weeks.
The total now stands at 17,548 while there have been 17 deaths.
5.21pm update: Italy’s death toll rises by 474
The number of deaths from COVID-19 has increased by 474 in the last 24 hours, the largest daily increase since April 21.
The death toll now stands at 28,710 the country’s Civil Protection Agency stated.
Coronavirus live: Robert Jenrick chaired the press briefing
5.15pm update: Briefing ends
5.12pm update: Government aware of the support needed for the aviation industry
Asked about the current state of the aviation industry, Mr Jenrick said the Government was aware of the support the industry needs.
He said: “We are very conscious of the challenges it faces.
“If there is more that we can do to help support them through a very difficult period, we will do so.”
5.03pm update: Now not the time to criticise China
Amid accusations levelled at China’s handling of the virus, Mr Jenrick said it was not the time to analyse the origins of the virus.
He said: “There will come a time when we want to analyse the origins of the virus and the response of other countries. But now is not the time.”
4.49pm update: NHS recruiting track and trace workforce
Ms Harries has said NHS England and Public Health England are recruiting 15,000 clinical and 3,000 tracing staff to set up the system.
The idea of contact tracing has been seen as one of the key measures to end the lockdown.
She said: “Clearly to get this up and running at scale and effectively is a significant task. But lots of preparation is underway.”
4.45pm update: Schools to re-opened in a phased manner
Mr Jenrick once again confirmed the re-opening of schools would be done over a phased time period.
Although he acknowledged the difficulties of homeschooling at this current time, he said the re-opening of schools would only happen once there is sufficient scientific supporting the move.
4.33pm update: UK warned of second peak
During the press briefing, England’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries has said lockdown measures will only be relaxed once the Government’s five tests have been achieved.
Chiefly, the fifth test – stopping the NHS from being overwhelmed by a second peak – was the most crucial.
She said: “We have to be confident that any of the adjustments to the current measures which have worked so well.
“We need to be very carefully adjusted in order that we do not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelmed the NHS.”
4.22pm update: Scotland reports 44 more deaths
Scotland has reported 44 further fatalities from COVID-19 according to the Government.
The overall figure now stands at 1,559, with the total number of infections standing at 11,927 out of 58,833 people who have been tested.
Chelsea and Westminster hospital announce a 450-person coronavirus study which could end lockdown
4.16pm update: Rough sleepers given support
Mr Jenrick said the Government has put 5,400 rough sleepers into accommodation since last month.
4.12pm update: £76million package created to support victims of domestic and sexual abuse
Speaking today, Mr Jenrick also revealed a package of over £76million to support those most vulnerable.
He said: “For victims of domestic abuse, it means being trapped in a nightmare. The true evil of domestic abuse is that it leaves people, including children, living in fear in the very place they should feel most secure – inside their own home.
“We must be alive to the reality of what is happening in all too many homes across the country. I want us to defend the rights of those women and children, and that is what we are going to do.”
4.04pm update: UK deaths rise
Mr Jenrick confirmed a rise of 621 deaths from coronavirus over the last 24 hours.
The overall number now stands at 28,131.
Overall, 1,129,907 tests gave been carried out, including 105,937 yesterday.
A further 14,695 people are currently in hospital with the virus.
Lastly, 182,260 people have tested positive, an increase of 4,806 since yesterday.
4.02pm update: No 10 press briefing begins
Secretary of state for Communities, Robert Jenrick begins the No 10 press briefing.
3.53pm update: Riots erupt in Berlin amid COVID-19 outbreak
Germany faced chaos as hundreds of protestors defied a ban on public gatherings on Friday.
Protestors broke the measures to celebrate a national holiday despite the COVID-19 outbreak.
3.31pm update: Wales death toll rises
A further 44 people have died after contracting coronavirus according to the latest figures.
According to Public Health Wales, the total number of deaths now stands at 969.
A total of 183 people have tested positive for COVID-19, bring the overall number to 10,155.
Additional reporting by Rebecca Nicholson.
2.30pm update – More than half of deaths aged 80+
Of the 20,853 confirmed reported deaths so far in hospitals in England of people who tested positive for Covid-19, 10,901 (52%) have been people aged 80 and over while 8,119 (39%) were 60-79.A further 1,672 (8%) were aged 40-59, with 150 (1%) aged 20-39 and 11 (0.05%) aged 0-19, according to NHS England.
13.54pm update – Over 70 percent of Covid-19 patients admitted to critical care are men
The figures come from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) and were based on a sample of 7,542 critically-ill patients confirmed as having Covid-19.
Researchers found that 5,389 of the patients were men compared to 2,149 women.
The report, published on Friday, also found that men were more likely to die in critical care, with 51 per cent dying in care compared to around 43 per cent of women.
Masks have been tested to see how effective they are
1.05pm update – Iran reports lowest virus infections
Iran said Saturday there was a “clear drop” in the number of new coronavirus infections as it reported 802 fresh cases, the lowest daily count since March 10.
The new cases brought to 96,448 the number recorded in Iran since it announced its first cases in mid-February.
12.47pm update – Anti lockdown protesters outside New Scotland Yard police headquarters.
A small group of anti-lockdown protesters gather outside New Scotland Yard on Saturday, breaching the nationwide lockdown to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
12.10pm update – Potential treatment using plasma to be trialled
A potential treatment for Covid-19 using plasma from recovered patients is to be trialled by doctors at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital.
The first donations of the plasma have been collected and transfusions will begin in “the coming weeks”, the hospital’s Biomedical Research Centre said in a statement.
The Government insist the 100,000 testing numbers were met
11.30am update – China reports one new infection
China, where the pandemic began in December, has reported one new infection and no deaths in the 24 hours until midnight on Friday.
The country has reported a total of 82,875 confirmed cases and 4,633 deaths.
The National Health Commission reported 43 people were released from hospitals on Friday after being declared recovered, raising the total to 77,685.
There were a total 557 people still in hospital on the mainland.
11am update – Home testing kits just as good as drive-in centres
Home testing kits for coronavirus are as accurate as swabs taken in drive-in centres, the government’s testing tsar has said, as he defended the way tests are counted.
Professor John Newton said the Government’s trials of home tests were “very satisfactory” amid concern that results from the self-swab kits may not be as accurate.
10.30am update — Spain’s death toll rises
Spain’s health ministry says the number of COVID-19 deaths in the country has risen by 276 to 25,100 and the number of confirmed cases has risen by 1,366 to 216,582.
10.15am update — Two-metre rule could be reviewed, raising hope of relaxed restrictions
The two-metre social distancing rule is being reviewed by the Government in the hope that relaxing the restriction could allow more businesses and schools to reopen.
Ministers have asked the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) to look again at whether people need to stay so far apart, amid growing evidence that coronavirus does not transmit well in the air.
The review is seen as increasingly important in government as the Cabinet prepares to agree the exit strategy from lockdown.
Those commuting to work when lockdown restrictions are eased may be asked to take own temperatre
9.30am update — 100,000 daily testing target was met, testing co-ordinator insists
Professor John Newton, the Government’s national testing co-ordinator, has insisted the 100,000 daily testing target was met despite home test kits being counted as they are dispatched rather than when they are returned.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “All the tests are only counted once, and you can count tests when they go out or when they come back in, and whichever way you do it we still meet the target.
“In the drive-in centres, we’ve tested whether people could test themselves in their cars or whether they were tested by somebody trained and we found the results were exactly the same, so that gave us confidence that the home testing was a good approach.”
He also said the home testing kits are as accurate as those carried out at drive-in centres.
The two-metre social distancing rule is being reviewed by the Government
9.03am update — Researchers test the effectiveness of different face masks
The University of Edinburgh is carrying out experiments to see if face masks are effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19.
Researchers tested seven different types of masks including ones supplied to the NHS and homemade cloth masks.
Using a medical mannequin and computer-generated imagery, they can see how far droplets travel when a person breathes, coughs or sneezes.
The team of scientists and engineers found that all masks made a difference in reducing the distance travelled by a deep breath out by at least 90%.
The study is not sanctioned by SAGE but the research could be used by the government to consider any changes to current advice.
Home testing kits are just as effective as drive thru centres
8.30am update — Commuters ‘to take own temperature’ before taking bus or train
Those commuting to work when lockdown restrictions are eased may be asked to take their own temperature before setting off.
This is one measure being considered as part of a strategy to make public transport as safe as possible when the country returns to work.
The Times reports that this could form part of plans announced next week by Boris Johnson to outline how the country will come out of lockdown.
Ministers are hoping to avoid crowded stations and trains, the paper reports, and commuters taking their own temperatures is one approach that has been adopted in other countries.
8am update — UK seeks access to EU health cooperation
The British government is seeking access to the European Union’s pandemic warning system, despite early reluctance to cooperate on health after Brexit.
The UK is seeking “something akin to membership” of the EU’s early warning and response system (EWRS).
The system has played a critical role in coordinating Europe’s response to the coronavirus, as well as to earlier pandemics such as bird flu.
Referring to cooperation on health, an EU source told The Guardian: “There was not much appetite from the UK at the beginning.
“That’s been corrected. They are keen and they are keen to be seen to be keen. Both sides want close cooperation.”
However, the EU is not prepared to offer the UK full membership of the EWRS, an online platform set up in 1998 where public authorities share information about health emergencies.
7.20am update – Lockdown could end by mid-summer
The Government are funding the world’s biggest trial.
The 7,000-person study is being led by Oxford University, where coronavirus patients are randomly given one of five drugs.
It is also paying for three other UK-wide studies.
More than half of the drugs being trialled around the world are already licensed and in mass production for other treatments so could be rapidly rolled out.
This is a live story with more updates to follow…