Coronavirus live blog: latest from Prime Minister’s daily press briefing

coronavirus-live-blog:-latest-from-prime-minister’s-daily-press-briefing

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 5: 07 pm

Scroll down and read our coronavirus live blog as it happens.

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A motorway sign on the M8 advising on essential travel only (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) Copyright: Getty Images

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We will be providing live updates until 7pm this evening.

Last updated: Wednesday, 25 March, 2020, 17: 17

  • Global cases exceed 400,000 as deaths approach 20,000
  • WHO warns that the pandemic is “accelerating”, and the US could become the next hotspot
  • Parliament expected to adjourn early for Easter once emergency coronavirus legislation has been approved

Italy death toll has slight fall in cases

Italy has recorded another 683 deaths in the past 24 hours, plus an increase of 5,210 cases. 

The country’s death toll now stands at 7,503

Chief Medical Officer: ‘Worse thing than no test is a bad test’

Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance are now discussing testing. 

Chris Whitty says that the country have a good supply of antigen testing used on people being treated in hospital are in good supply. 

He says next we want to test NHS professionals and those self-isolating saying that everbody wants this but there is a global shortage. 

Sir Patrick Vallance underlines “Testing is crucial.” and says the antibody test will allow us to know who has had the disease asymptomaticaly. 

Chris Whitty says delays in testing are partly because the only “worse thing than no test is a bad test”. 

He says: “The delay is worth it” as telling someone they don’t have it when they do have it is problematic.

405,000 volunteers for the NHS

The PM begins by saying: “Our NHS has only limited number of doctors nurses and specialist equipment.  

“It’s vital to delay the spread of the virus.” he says, before underlining “People must stay at home.”

“With your help we will slow the spread of the disease. “

He finishes by offering a thank you to everyone following the rules, the NHS and other public services. 

He also states that 405,000 volunteers have come forward offering help to the NHS a day after Matt Hancock announced a volunteer scheme.

The Prime Minister is speaking to the public now. He is joined by Professo Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.

Snowdonia to close access to mountains

Snowdonia National Park will close the area’s busiest mountains following unprecedented visitor numbers last weekend.

The Snowdonia National Park Authority said it was working with Gwynedd Council, with the help of emergency Welsh Government legislation, to bring in the measures, which will mean no parking or access to popular sites including Snowdon, Ogwen and Cadair Idris.

Emyr Williams, chief executive of Snowdonia National Park said: “We encourage local people who live within and close to the boundaries of the national park to continue to exercise from their doorstep.

“We ask those people to visit our website or email for more information.

“For those who do not live within walking distance our message is clear – do not visit the national park until the Government’s guidelines to avoid unnecessary travel has been lifted.

“There will be no parking and the mountains will be closed – respect the Government guidance – stay at home to stay safe.”

Radio 1 to cut number of presenters

BBC Radio One will make daytime shows longer to ensure fewer presenters are required in the studio throughout the course of the day during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new schedule will come into effect from March 30 and will remain under review for the foreseeable future, the BBC said.

Aled Haydn Jones, head of programmes at Radio One, said: “In these testing times I’ve made the decision to simplify our schedule to ensure the health of our teams, presenters and the network itself.

“I’m very proud of how the Radio One teams have been able to continue to entertain and inform our audience under such difficult conditions, and we’ll be doing our best to carry on throughout the challenging weeks ahead.”

Manchester and Liverpool homeless to be housed in hotels

Rough sleepers in Manchester and Liverpool are set to be provided with accommodation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Leaders in both cities announced plans on Wednesday to provide rooms for homeless people.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “A package has been released today of £5 million that will pay for 1,000 rooms across Greater Manchester accommodating people who are in need of support.

“We currently have 625 rooms allocated and we have 375 that will be procured in the next 48 hours.”

Prince Charles fulfilled criteria to be tested

A Scottish Government spokesman has issued a brief statement on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland on the state of health of Prince Charles and wife Camilla, who use their titles the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland.

He said: “Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, has confirmed that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay fulfilled criteria to be tested for Covid-19 for clinical reasons.

“She is very pleased to confirm that both remain in good health.”

Home testing kits to be available in days

Home testing kits are to be made available to health workers and people self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus ‘within day’ according to Public Health England. 

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service, Public Health England (PHE) told the Science and Technology Committee that 3.5 million tests had been bought and would be available in the “near future”.

She said the tests would also allow key workers – like doctors and nurses – to go back to work if they have developed antibodies.

Prof Peacock explained a small number of tests would be tested in a laboratory before being distributed via Amazon and in places like Boots.

Chancellor to outline support measures for self-employed on Thursday

The Chancellor will set out measures to support self-employed workers hit by the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, Downing Street has confirmed.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told journalists during an afternoon conference call: “We are expecting to be able to set out the details tomorrow.”

Full details of the announcement will be revealed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who will be taking questions from the media.

The Number 10 spokesman re-iterated the Chancellor’s words from Tuesday when he said the scheme would be “fair to the British workforce”.

Limit microwave use to improve wifi

People should avoid using their microwave at the same time as their wifi in order to get better internet speeds, media regulator Ofcom has said.

New guidance on wifi has been published as millions live and work in lockdown at home because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Internet service providers have reported a surge in network traffic following school closures and workers being told to stay at home unless essential, but have maintained they can handle any increases.

Government will come down like a tonne of bricks on anyone profiteering

Scottish death toll up to 22

The Scottish First Minister is holding her daily press briefing. 

She says that the death toll in Scotland has risen to 22 and 51 patients are currently being treated in intensive care units.

Corbyn: Safety of cleaners forgotten

Mr Corbyn asked about the safety of cleaners, who he said were often a “forgotten group” in society.

He also called for clarity on why the Government had not sought to buy testing kits earlier, after a leaked letter showed the PM had written to UK laboratories on Sunday.

Mr Johnson said: “I agree with him very much on what he said about cleaners.

“They are doing an extraordinary job and they deserve all the protection and support we can give them in this difficult time.

“And on testing, he is quite right that testing is vital in our success at beating the coronavirus and, as the Health Secretary has said many times, we are massively increasing our testing campaign, going up from 5,000 to 10,000 to 25,000 a day.

“In answer directly to his question, this has been a priority for the Government ever since the crisis was obviously upon us – for weeks and weeks.”

Jeremy Corbyn quizzes Johnson on plans to help care workers

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “There are reports that care home workers are being turned away from supermarkets in relation to priority shopping, not being allowed to buy more than certain items that they desperately need to feed their residents.

“What is the Prime Minister’s plan for making sure that care workers can get the vital food and supplies they need for the people that they’re caring for?”

Mr Johnson responded: “As the House can imagine, we’ve been in regular contact with all the retailers, all the supermarket chains. I had a conversation with all of them a couple of days ago and they were absolutely determined to ensure that key workers do get time in supermarkets.

“If there is a particular problem, I will raise it with them again.”

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