Published On: Fri, May 8th, 2020

Coronavirus map LIVE: Death toll soars by 626 – Downing Street issues lockdown warning | UK | News

Boris Johnson is expected to keep Britain under lockdown until at least June as he prepares to tell the public only “small and modest” steps can be taken to ease restrictions when he addresses the nation on Sunday. The total number of people to have died with coronavirus in all settings now stands at 31,241 – an increase of 626, according to the latest figures released by Downing Street. In total there are 211,464 people infected with the disease.

The Prime Minister told his Cabinet colleagues he would exercise “maximum caution” when taking crucial decisions on what business can reopen.

A minister last night admitted the strict rules aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus and protecting the NHS could remain in place until next month.

“It is baby steps taken slowly and only when it’s clear they can be taken,” an ally familiar with the plans told the Times.

As Mr Johnson is set to announce a slight rollback of measures this weekend, garden centres and churches could reopen next week.

But places of worship would likely be open for only private prayer as the risk of infection spreading at group ceremonies remains.


Boris Johnson is set to unveil only small steps to ease the lockdown on Sunday (Image: GETTY)

coronavirus UK

UK coronavirus map live (Image: EXPRESS)

The Prime Minister will lay out the Government’s “roadmap” out of the lockdown which he implemented on March 23.

He will say the speed at which the measures can be lifted will depend on how fast the rate of new infections reduces.

At Thursday’s daily press conference reporters were told that the R number – the rate at which COVID-19 is spreading – stands between 0.5 and 0.9 across Britain.

This indicates the virus is under control.

However, there are fears the R number in care homes may be much higher, with each sick person passing the virus on to more than one individual.


boris johnson

The Prime Minister has urged Britons not to be complacent with the lockdown rules (Image: GETTY)

Saturday May 9

4.30am update: Antibodies 

Chinese researchers have identified two antibodies that have the potential to work against different coronavirus strains. 

In the study led by Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention director George Fu Gao, they were found to work together as a team by preventing the virus from latching on to a host cell. 

Mr Gao said they were  “promising candidates for prophylactic and therapeutic treatment against the Covid-19 virus”. 


France’s first coronavirus case may have been November 16 (Image: GETTY)

3.30am update: Virus could be spread through sex

The semen of 16 percent of men hospitalised with coronavirus in a Chinese hospital has tested positive for coronavirus. 

This brings the possibility the virus could spread via sex. 

The research team wrote in JAMA Network Open:  “Further studies are required with respect to the detailed information about virus shedding, survival time and concentration in semen.” 

2.30am update: Saudi Arabia 

The number of infections recorded in Saudi Arabia exceeded 35,000 on Friday. 

Officials recorded 1,700 new cases. 

Riyadh’s first recorded cases came on March 2. 

1.30am update: France first case

France may have had its first coronavirus case on November 16. 

A press release from Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Colmar near the German border revealed:  “The first case was noted in our centre on November 16.

“[There was a] very slow progression of the pathology’s negative impact until the end of February, then a rapid increase in its impact, peaking on March 31.”

This around ten weeks before France first reported cases and the new date is possible thanks to chest scans. 

gavin newsom

Gavin Newsom has made plans for postal ballots in California (Image: GETTY)

12.30am update: Ramirez family 

A ten-person household in the US saw every single member get coronavirus. 

Only the family father and eldest son left the home for shopping wearing masks and gloves according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Three family members were hospitalised and  Guillermo Ramirez, the father, died, aged 47, he had no underlying health conditions. 

His daughter, Alexia, 26, who does not live with the family said:  “It’s traumatizing,  it’s been a week and I still haven’t been able to hug my family.”

Friday May 8

11.30pm update: Qatar flattens curve 

Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health has said in an interview with Al-Jazeera, the country has flattened the curvy. 

Dr Al Kuwari explained:  “We have flattened the curve.

“We are not peaking that aggressively that means we have flattened the curve.

“And the country will soon see the end of the peak. Qatar is implementing the WHO practices to beat the virus spreading.” 

The minister attributed social distancing for the news. 

10.30pm update: US election 

California Governor Gavin Newson has arranged for all 26.6 million voters in the state to be mailed postal ballots for the November presidential election. 

Mr Newson explained:  “There’s a lot of excitement around this November’s election in terms of making sure that you can conduct yourself in a safe way, and make sure your health is protected.”

Provisions for in-person voting will vary from county to county in the state which has 55 electoral votes. 

Gursimran Hans has taken over live reporting from Ciaran McGrath. 

8.25pm update: Johnson speaks to von der Leyen about coronavirus pandemic

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen about the approach to tackling coronavirus.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen today about the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Both leaders welcomed the good co-operation between the UK and the EU on coronavirus, including on the global effort to repatriate citizens.

“The PM also congratulated the European Commission on the 7.4 billion euros raised at Monday’s pledging conference, and President von der Leyen thanked the UK for our £388 million pledge for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.

“The PM gave an update on the UK’s domestic response. They agreed on the need for ongoing co-operation in the fight against coronavirus.”

7.14pm update: France’s death toll rises by 243

The number of people who have died from coronavirus infection in France rose 243 to 26,230 on Friday, a higher daily death toll than the previous day when it stood at 178.

The Health Ministry said in a statement that the number of people in intensive care units – a key measure of a health system’s ability to deal with the epidemic – fell by 93 or three percent to 2,868, well below half the peak of 7,148 seen on April 8.

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus also fell again to 22,724 from 23,208, continuing an uninterrupted three-week fall and down 30% from an April 14 peak of 32,292.

France will start lifting its almost two-months old national lockdown from Monday.

6.15pm update: Cash brands move “a complete breach of faith”

The RMT said the move overrules a planning document sent to the unions on Thursday by the Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum, a rail industry and trade union body established to put in place arrangements to protect passengers and workers.

The document said services would be increased in phases, with a “stepped” increase from May 18, said the RMT.

General secretary Mick Cash said: “We have it on good authority that the rail network has been put on notice to begin a last-minute mobilisation to accommodate an increase in passenger numbers from Monday.

“This is earlier than expected and completely contradicts assurances sent to us only yesterday that the rail industry had only put in place services and arrangements to protect passengers and workers from a ‘not high’ increase in passenger numbers at a later date.

“To overrule the rail industry like this is a complete breach in faith of the trade union and rail industry discussions.”

6.14pm update: Rail services to be ramped up from Monday, claims union

Plans to ramp up rail services have been brought forward by a week and will start from next Monday, a union is claiming.

Services were expected to be increased gradually from May 18 as part of an easing of the economic lockdown.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said it had discovered that the plans had been brought forward to start on Monday May 11.

Officials said the industry had been told to be ready to begin a last-minute mobilisation to accommodate an increase in passenger numbers from Monday in reaction to the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday.

6.10pm update: 

The coronavirus pandemic means the prospect of a UK-EU trade deal by the end of the year is “virtually impossible”, Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney has said, while pleading for Boris Johnson to push the deadline back.

Mr Coveney told an online conference today: “Given the complexity of what we’re trying to deal with here and the added complications, and there are many, as a result COVID-19, it surely makes sense for us to seek a bit more time.

“I think anybody looking at this from the outside could only conclude it makes sense to look for more time but I wouldn’t be raising expectations to the British government agreeing to seek more time.

“COVID-19 has made what is already a very, very difficult timeline to get agreement virtually impossible.”

5.48pm update: EU bids to keep external borders shut until June 15 as it warns of “fragile” situation

The European Commission is pushing member states to keep border restrictions on visitors from outside the bloc in place until June 15 at the least.

The Commission’s official Twitter account posted: “We invite EU countries to extend the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 June.

“The situation worldwide remains very fragile. Prolonging travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the spread of #coronavirus.”

5.42pm update: Eustice downplays regional difference in approach

Mr Eustice insisted there was no need to “get worked up” about other nations in the UK taking different approaches to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

He told the Downing Street press conference: “The devolved administrations do have competence over these issues and some of these measures, and from the beginning some have done slightly different things to England.

“But, generally speaking we’ve taken similar approaches, even though there have been slight differences.

“I don’t think we need to get too worked up about timings of different announcements, Scotland made some comments last week, Wales has today.

“The Prime Minister will be setting out his approach and that road map and how we intend to evolve these restrictions on Sunday.”

European Commission

The European Commission’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

5.38pm update: UK “not out of the woods”, stresses Eustice

Mr Eustice said the UK is “not out of the woods” and that the UK will live with the virus for some time to come after Wales announced some changes to its own lockdown measures.

He said: “We will have to wait for what the Prime Minister has to say on Sunday but I think what I can say is this – he’s going to set out effectively a roadmap of how we can evolve the current restrictions.

“We have this complete lockdown at the moment to something where certain activities may become possible in the short term, in the near term and other things might take much longer.

“We have to be realistic that there isn’t going to be any dramatic overnight change, we will be very very cautious as we loosen the restrictions we have, as the data that we’re outlining on a daily basis shows we are not out of the woods.

“There are still major challenges, we will be living with this virus for some time to come and it’s therefore important to avoid that second peak that could overwhelm our NHS.”

5.33pm update: Eustice defends contact tracing app plan

Asked how the contact tracing app being trialled on the Isle of Wight will work when a lot of the elderly do not have smartphones, Mr Eustice said: “The work that we’ve done suggests that if we got around 60 percent of the population on this app it would become highly effective.”

He went on: “But even at lower rates than that it would be effective.

“We do recognise that some elderly people may not have a mobile phone but many will have family who will be able to support them to get such an app.”

Prof Powis added: “I know from my experience in healthcare not to underestimate the benefits that technology such as smartphones can bring to the older generation and many do indeed use this technology.

“It’s absolutely correct that the app will not be the only way in which we will be able to monitor and track down contacts of people who have coronavirus going forward.

“It will be an important part but not the only part.”

5.24pm update: Lockdown rules still apply, says Eustice

Mr Eustice also addressed speculation about the future of the lockdown.

He said: “I’m conscious that there is a great deal of speculation about what the Prime Minister might say on Sunday when he outlines a roadmap for the future and how we will evolve the current restrictions.

“The Prime Minister will outline any changes to the guidance on Sunday.

“But in the meantime, in spite of the sunny bank holiday, it is vitally important that we continue to abide by the current restrictions.

“Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.”

George Eustice

Environment Secretary George Eustice (Image: BBC)

5.20pm update: Government misses testing target for sixth day running

The number of daily coronavirus tests rose by more than 10,000 on Thursday but still fell below Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s 100,000 target for a sixth day in a row.

Environment Secretary George Eustice, speaking during today’s coronavirus briefing, said 97,029 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 9am on Friday, up from 86,583 the day before.

5.07pm update: Death toll passes 31,000

The total number of people to have died with coronavirus in all settings now stands at 31,241 – an increase of 626, according to the latest figures released by Downing Street.

In total there are 211,464 people infected with the disease.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show that a total of 31,241 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday, up by 626 from 30,615 the day before.

However, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 that have been registered across the UK now stands at 33,021.

This includes 29,710 deaths that occurred in England and Wales up to April 24 (and which had been registered up to May 2), according to the Office for National Statistics.

Today’s figures from NHS England show that a further 3,417 hospital patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 died between April 25 and May 7 – which, together with the total figure of 33,021 registered deaths, suggests the overall death toll for the UK has now passed 36,000.

4.50pm update: Italy’s death toll tops 30,000

Italy’s overall coronavirus death toll has topped 30,000, the second country in Europea after the UK to reach the grim milestone.

The figure today rose by 243 to 30,201.

The total number of confirmed case rose by 1,327 to 217,185.

4.40pm update: Pence staffer tests positive for COVID-19

A mamber of staff working for US Vice President Mike Pence has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a reporter for the NBC network.

The news caused Mr Pence’s Friday flight to Iowa to be delayed and some fellow passengers on Air Force Two to disembark, according to a White House official.

Mr Pence’s flight was delayed more than an hour on Friday morning and according to press pool reports passengers who were Pence staff members appeared to disembark prior to departure.

The news follows confirmation that US President Donald Trump’s personal valet had also been confirmed as suffering from the illness.

Mr Trump has said he will now be tested daily to see if he has contracted the illness.

4.35pm update: 

The coronavirus lockdown is now causing serious damage to the UK’s economy, Tory MP Steve Baker has warned – stressing he was now “gravely concerned” at the situation

Mr Baker, MP for Wycombe, has been a consistent critic of the draconian measures imposed on March 23 in a bid to slow down the spread of the illness.

He raised the matter in the House of Commons on Monday, and was cited in a press release issued by the lawyers of millionaire businessman Simon Dolan, who is seeking to challenge the lockdown through the courts.

4.24pm update: 

A six-month-old baby is among the latest to die of coronavirus, according to the latest statistics, offering a shocking reminder of disease’s potential to impact all age groups, with a total of 12 people under the age of 19 losing their lives.

The child was among the 332 new deaths announced by NHS England.

A statement said: “Patients were aged between six weeks and 103 years old.

“Twenty-two of the 332 patients (aged between 40 and 96 years old) had no known underlying health condition.”

3.25pm update: Up to 190,000 people in Africa could die of COVID-19, study suggests

Between 83,000 and 190,000 in Africa could die of COVID-19, and 29 million to 44 million could get infected in the first year of the pandemic if containment measures fail, a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa research, based on prediction modelling, looks at 47 countries with a total population of one billion.

The estimates are based on modifying the risk of transmission and disease severity by variables specific to each country in order to adjust for the unique nature of the region.

The model predicts the observed slower rate of transmission, lower age of people with severe disease and lower mortality rates compared to what is seen in the most affected countries in the rest of the world.

However, the slower rate of transmission suggests a more prolonged outbreak over a few years, according to the study which also revealed that smaller African countries alongside Algeria, South Africa and Cameroon were at a high risk if containment measures are not prioritised.

3.15pm update: Freemasons donate thousands of computer tablets to hospitals

Thousands of tablet computers are being donated by Freemasons across England and Wales to help families stay in touch with their loved ones during the coronavirus crisis.

Freemasons have provided the tablets to more than 50 hospitals, care homes and hospices across their regions at the start of a new nation-wide initiative.

Dr David Staples, CEO of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: “At this time of national crisis we will work together – within our local communities – to provide charity and support to those in need, as we have done for the last 300 years.

“To ensure what we do is both effective and targeted, we have – for the first time in our history – coordinated our activity on a national level though the newly formed Covid-19 Response Group.

“Our 200,000 members have united to make a significant difference to the lives of people in these very stressful circumstances.”

In London, hospitals including The Royal London, Queen Mary’s and St Thomas’ will receive approximately 115 tablets. In Kent, Surrey and Sussex, some 200 tablets will be donated, to help patients stay in contact with their families.

In addition, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Birmingham, Royal Gwent Hospital and additional NHS hospitals in Worcestershire will receive 180 tablets, between them, from the Freemasons.

3pm update: South Africa frees almost 20,000 prisoners

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday thousands of low-risk prisoners would be granted parole to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in correctional facilities.

Around 19,000 people would be freed in response to a UN call on all countries to reduce their prison populations so that social distancing and self-isolation conditions can be observed, Mr Ramaphosa said.

South Africa, beset by high crime rates and violence against women and children, has 155,000 prisoners.

The country of 58 million had recorded 8,232 cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday and 161 deaths.

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s President, wearing a face mask (Image: PA)

2.24pm update: Newborn among the latest COVID-19 death toll

A six-week-old baby has become one of the latest victims of coronavirus in the UK, Sky News reports.

2.19pm update: Some White House personnel to wear masks after staffer tests positive, says Trump

US President Donald Trump on Friday said certain White House staff members have started wearing masks, one day after the White House said his personal valet had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Mr Trump, asked if those who serve him food would now cover their faces, told Fox News in an interview that such White House staff had already started wearing face masks.

2.15pm update: UK’s death toll jumps by 414

England reported 332 new deaths, Scotland had 49, Wales recorded 28 and Northern Ireland had five.

The UK’s coronavirus hospital death toll now stands at 26,092.

2.11pm update: Government to keep wage support scheme in place beyond June

The Government’s wage support scheme is expected to remain in place after June. 

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the current end dat at the end of June would be pushed back if workers needed more protection. 


President Trump speaks at the White House National Day of Prayer before a staffer tested positive (Image: GETTY)


Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announces lockdown changes (Image: GETTY)

2.08pm update: Wales death toll rises by 28

Public Health Wales said a total of 1,090 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, an increase of 28 on Thursday’s figures.

A further 152 people tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 11,003.

Dr Robin Howe, of Public Health Wales, said it welcomed the announcement that lockdown measures would continue for the next three weeks.

“We seem to have passed the peak and flattened the curve of new cases of novel coronavirus in Wales, which appears to be an indication of the effectiveness of lockdown measures,” Dr Howe said.

“We are currently working with Welsh Government to determine the best approach for when the lockdown is eventually eased.”

1.10pm update: Wales to stay in lockdown for three more weeks

Garden centres in Wales can open from next week and there will also be a relaxing of exercise rules. 

First Minister Mark Drakeford said councils can make plans to reopen libraries and recycling centres.

He said that “these very small and modest adjustments are things we know that we can do safely without having an impact” on the reinfection rate.

Mr Drakeford said: “These very cautious changes will apply to everyone other than the 120,000 people in the shielding group.

“We continue to urge people who are over 70, or who have an underlying health condition, or who are pregnant, to continue to take extra care.”

12.13pm update: Wales to announce reviewed lockdown plans today

The Welsh Government will lay out its lockdown plans later today. 

First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to take a cautious approach on how to take things forward. 

12.11pm update: Not enough time to look at Westminster post-lockdown strategy, warns Hyslop

The Scottish Government has not had enough time to scrutinise Westminster proposals on workplace safety after the coronavirus lockdown, the Economy Secretary has said.

In a letter to the Business Secretary Alok Sharma, Fiona Hyslop said the Scottish Government had not had a chance to discuss the Safer Workplace Guidance with partners, and pushed for a “four-nations” approach to the advice.

The guidance, which is currently at the draft stage, will help businesses ensure the safety or staff and the general public when lockdown measures are eased.

Ms Hyslop outlined seven different areas of concern in her letter, based on “limited discussions” with Scottish Government partners, whom she does not name, and testing of the guidance against the Scottish administration’s strategy for easing lockdown.

Ms Hyslop said: “I would reiterate my view that there has been insufficient time for the Scottish Government to discuss these papers with our partners in Scotland in a meaningful way.”

12.03pm update: Sixteen Indian workers laid-off in coronavirus lockdown die in train accident

An Indian train killed 16 migrant workers who had fallen asleep on the track on Friday while they were heading back to their home village after losing their jobs in a coronavirus lockdown, police said.

Tens of thousands of people have been walking home from India’s big cities after being laid off because of the lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus since late March.

The driver tried to stop the freight train when he saw the workers on the tracks near Aurangabad town in the western state of Maharashtra, the railway ministry said, adding it had ordered an inquiry.


Servicemen of Russia’s Federal National Guard Service wear masks as cases rise by more than 10,000 daily (Image: GETTY)

11.12am update: Gurkhas rescue British tourists stranded in Nepal 

More than 100 British travellers stranded in isolated parts of Nepal when the coronavirus outbreak struck have been rescued by the Gurkhas.

Soldiers, UK embassy staff and drivers travelled more than 4,000 miles through the Himalayas to reach tourists stuck in mountainous towns, villages and national parks, the Foreign Office (FCO) said.

The three-week rescue mission was launched to help some 109 British people, along with 28 foreign nationals, to reach charter flights sent to repatriate Britons to the UK last month amid strict lockdown measures.

Soldiers from the British Gurkhas Nepal network, based in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Dharan, negotiated river crossings and landslides to reach them, the FCO said.

11.07am update: Stanley Johnson recalls Boris being ‘at death’s door’ with coronavirus 

Stanley Johnson has told of his worry during the week Boris Johnson was in hospital suffering from COVID-19.

The Prime Minister’s father said he prayed for son to make a recovery as he lay in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

“I think I was as worried as any father would be if their child is at death’s door,” he said.

“I was certainly worried, I’ve got to tell you, I make no bones about it, I said a prayer or two.”

10.21am update: ‘We can’t get complacent,’ warns Johnson

Boris Johnson has taken to Twitter to warn Britons not to become complacent in the fight against coronavirus. 

He wrote: “We are past the peak of this disease. But we can’t get complacent.

“Please continue to follow the rules on social distancing and stay at home to save lives.”

boris johnson

Boris Johnson poses outside No10 on Friday (Image: GETTY)

boris johnson

Boris Johnson walks to Downing Street ahead of the ‘Clap for Carers’ on Thursday night (Image: GETTY)

9.48am update: Malaysia reports 68 new COVID-19 cases

The Asian nation now has a total of 6,535 cases. No new deaths were reported. 

8.52am update: Russia’s coronavirus cases rise by more than 10,000 for sixth straight day

The number of new coronavirus cases in Russia rose by 10,699 over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 187,859, the coronavirus crisis response centre said on Friday.

It was the sixth consecutive day that cases had risen by more than 10,000, but down on Thursday’s record daily rise of 11,231.

It also reported 98 new fatalities from COVID-19, bringing the total death toll in Russia to 1,723.

7.57am update: ‘We will have to look at future in tentative and cautious way’ – Dowden

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the Prime Minister would on Sunday set out a “road map” for how England would begin to lift the lockdown restrictions.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “On Sunday, what the Prime Minister will do is set out the road map ahead.

“We can start to look to the future but we’ll have to do so in a very tentative and cautious way, so people should not expect big changes from the Prime Minister on Sunday.

“But what they should expect… he’ll set out the road map but he’ll say that at each stage we’ll have to assess: can we take those measures?

“Because all the time we want to ensure that we keep the reinfection rate under control.”

He added: “If there is any indication that things are starting to get out of control, we won’t hesitate to step back.

“But people should be able to look forward to the weeks and months ahead to know where we are going and the order in which we are doing it.”

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