11th April 2020 – United Kingdom
# Cases $
Source: Public Health England and news reports. (Public Health England Web Site)
*=Interim Figures / Key: UK USA Other
** A new process for collecting numbers of recovered patients is in development: the figure shown is for 22/03/2020.
$ Cases now include Pillar 2 cases as of 11th April 2020
More information coming soon.
22:59 UK government ‘must scale up national food response’
The government is being urged to “scale up the national food response” after a survey suggested more than 3 million people in Great Britain may have gone hungry during the coronavirus lockdown. About 6% of 4,343 adults polled by YouGov said someone in their household had gone hungry during the first three weeks of the social distancing measures.
The Food Foundation, which commissioned the survey with the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, said this represented more than three million people. The charity is calling for the creation of a national food aid task force to help local authorities scale up welfare assistance schemes and provide food parcels, and to improve home delivery options. It also wants the Department for Work and Pensions to abolish the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments.
22:27 Pope urges people not to ‘yield to fear’
Pope Francis urged people not to “yield to fear” and focused on a “message of hope” as he held an Easter eve Mass from an almost empty St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. He encouraged people to be “the messengers of life in a time of death”, and urged those better off to help the poor.
22:10 Peru revokes gender-based restrictions
Peru’s government has revoked a decision to restrict the movement of people in the streets on certain days of the week according to their gender. The ruling was issued on 2 April as part of measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Farid Matuk, a member of the government’s Covid-19 task force, said the move did not work because Peru was still a patriarchal society where women did most of the domestic work. He said women had gathered in large numbers in shops and markets on the three days of the week when they were allowed to go out.
Now only one person per family unit can go out from Monday to Saturday to buy food or medicine, or go to the bank. As with the previous measure, no-one is allowed out on Sundays. On Friday, President Martín Vizcarra extended the state of emergency and lockdown measures until 26 April. The country has reported 5,897 confirmed coronavirus cases and 169 deaths.
21:58 Wuhan health official fears second wave risk
It’s been three days since Wuhan, the Chinese city of 11 million where the pandemic began, emerged from its more than two months in lockdown. But as Wuhan and other parts of the country re-open, Chinese health officials are worried about a possible second wave of coronavirus cases. “We can’t say that there is no such potential risk,” Wang Xinghuan, the president of a hospital built for coronavirus patients in Wuhan, told Reuters news agency.
In recent days, China has seen a rise in new coronavirus cases, most of which have been imported from abroad. On Friday, 46 new cases of the virus were reported, up from 42 new cases a day earlier, Chinese health authorities said. Of those new cases reported on Friday, 42 were from abroad. Another 34 asymptomatic cases were reported on Friday too, heightening concern that cases from abroad may be going undetected.
21:41 US trial of coronavirus drug ‘shows promising signs’
The billion-dollar question right now is how soon will we have a coronavirus vaccine. But scientists are also working on treatments for patients who already have the infection. These could save lives and alleviate suffering in the meantime. One of four drugs being tested in experiments overseen by the World Health Organization is remdesivir. Two-thirds of 53 patients given the drug in a US clinical trial showed signs of improvement.
The trial began when scientists looked at drugs that had shown promise against the Sars or Mers coronaviruses, which killed hundreds of people in 2003 and 2012, the WHO’s chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan told the BBC. But she warned that the remdesivir trial had no control group, meaning there were no patients in the experiment who did not take the drug, and therefore no way of comparing the results. Although scientists hope the initial signs will prove to be correct, Dr Swaminathan explained, there was no way of knowing currently if and by how much the drug benefited patients. “We’re doing everything we can to speed up enrolment [in the trial] but I think this epidemic is going to be with us some time,” she warned.
20:32 Every US state now under ‘historic’ disaster declaration
Wyoming has become the final state to have a disaster declaration approved by President Donald Trump. Federal funds will now be available to the state as it deals with the country’s growing coronavirus epidemic. According to CNN, this is the first time in history that every US state is under a federal disaster declaration at the same time. Wasington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands also have disaster declarations in place.
20:00 Italy and France see deaths rise but ICU patients drop
Italy’s coronavirus-related deaths increased by 619 on Saturday, bringing the total toll to 19,468. That death toll is now second to that of the US, which, according to the respected John Hopkins University tally, is the highest in the world. The number of people who have tested positive has reached 152,271 in Italy, an increase of 4,694, or 3.1% day on day. On a positive note, there were 116 fewer people in intensive care with Covid-19 than the previous day.
In France, meanwhile, the total death toll rose to 13,832, with 353 more deaths in hospitals and 290 in care homes. But for a third consecutive day, the number of patients in intensive care with Covid-19 dropped, with 121 fewer cases compared to Friday’s figures. France’s director of health, Jérôme Salomon, described the drop in intensive care numbers – the biggest yet – as a “ray of sunshine”. Medical officials see the number of intensive care patients as an indicator of the pressure on health systems.
19:16 US death figures overtake Italy
There have now been 19,701 deaths reported by the US, according to John Hopkins University. That compares to 19,468 reported by Italy’s government. Regardless of which country has reported a greater number of deaths, it is a tragedy for both.
18:58 Spanish ministers downplay looser restrictions
Senior Spanish ministers insist allowing thousands of people back to work next week should not be seen as a “relaxation” of the hard-hit country’s restrictions. Spain has the third-highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in the world, behind Italy and the United States, but the daily death toll has fallen over the past few days. From Monday, workers in industries such as construction and manufacturing will be allowed to go back to work, under strict guidelines on personal protective equipment and distancing. But the move has brought criticism, with opponents saying it is too early to loosen measures. “We are still in the confinement phase. We haven’t begun any relaxation of the restrictions,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said at a joint press conference with Health Minister Salvador Illa earlier today.
16:17 UK Press Conference
Home Secretary Priti Patel pays tribute to “our brilliant” NHS which she says is continuing to cope. A further 917 people have sadly died with coronavirus in UK hospitals, bringing the total confirmed deaths to 9,875. She says her “thoughts, prayers, and heartfelt condolences” are with the loved ones of those who died.
Priti Patel says Prime Minister Boris Johnson “continues to make good progress” in his recovery from coronavirus. But she says the stark figures coming out of the health service show the “devastating impact of this virus”.
The home secretary says while total crime has dropped as people follow advice to stay at home, some vulnerable people are at an increased risk. Fraudsters are exploiting coronavirus, she says, with losses to victims already exceeding £1.8m. She also says police have not yet seen a sustained rise in reports of domestic abuse amid the lockdown but that the increase in those seeking help through hotlines was “extremely concerning”. “For the victims of these crimes, home is not the safe haven that it should be,” she says.
A national communications campaign will be launched for those at risk from domestic abuse, Home Secretary Priti Patel says. It will be launched under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone and aim to reassure people affected by domestic abuse that they can still seek help and leave home to access services they need. “Where a victim and their children do need to leave, we will ensure they have a safe place to go to,” she says. Some £2m will also be provided to enhance online support services and helplines. Smaller domestic abuse charities will get help with new IT, she says. She also urged those who feel unable to talk to call 999 and then dial 55.
Moving onto police powers, the home secretary thanks the police for working “tirelessly to keep us safe” during the lockdown. Addressing the public, she says: “If you don’t play your part, our selfless police, who are out there risking their lives to save others, will be unafraid to act.” Her words come amid concerns some police are overstepping lockdown powers. She hands over to Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). “This feels a very different Easter weekend for all of us,” he says. “It feels different for police officers too.” He says police are “taking new risks” as they seek to enforce the rules.
Martin Hewitt says police are “in a strong position” to enforce social-distancing rules, urging people to “keep reporting crime to us”. Data from 37 forces shows that 1,087 fines were issued for breaches of the rules up to 8 April, he says. “This shows the overwhelming majority of people are staying at home to save lives.” He says police will publish “enforcement data every fortnight as we move through the crisis”.
We’re on to questions now and first up is the BBC’s science editor David Shukman. He asks about shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health staff. This issue has dominated news headlines in recent days, as the UK’s daily death toll has reached record highs and more NHS staff deaths have been confirmed. Prof Stephen Powis of NHS England says it’s difficult to give a precise number on how much PPE is needed in comparison with how much is being delivered, because it varies from day to day. The home secretary is asked whether there is a date when the right quantities will reach the right people. Priti Patel doesn’t give a date, but says the government is working very hard to secure kit for all those who need it. Pressed again to offer one, she says she “the plan has been outlined” by the health secretary.
The next question comes from Channel 4’s Inigo Gilmore. Priti Patel is asked whether she will apologise to NHS workers, amid complaints about a lack of PPE in hospitals that is putting people’s lives at risk. Patel says the UK government is focused on getting PPE to “everyone in the NHS” and has a “clear plan”. However, she admits there have been distribution issues, which she says the government has addressed. She speaks of a “Herculean effort” to boost capability and capacity, echoing UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Gilmore again asks: “But no apology for failings that the NHS has blamed on the government?” Patel says she is “sorry that people feel that way” about the government’s response, stressing that “we are in the middle of a global health crisis”. “I’m sorry if people feel there have been failings,” she says.
Now a question on whether an end to the lockdown, when it happens, will be a political and economic decision rather than one based on scientific and medical research. Prof Stephen Powis of NHS England says he’s not going to answer the political element of the question, but says: “It’s highly likely that over time this virus will become established worldwide in populations.” He adds: “This was never going to be a sprint over a few weeks. “It’s only a couple of months since this virus emerged, we are learning more and more about this virus all the time. “There is no easy course through this.” Home Secretary Priti Patel says the government is “absolutely committed” to following the scientific advice. “We will have to make decisions in due course, but right now the message to the country absolutely is to follow the advice that comes from government. That advice is based on the scientific and medical advice,” she says.
Nigel Nelson of the Sunday Mirror has a question about social-distancing restrictions for Stephen Powis, NHS England’s Medical Director. Nelson asks whether it is possible that the restrictions won’t be lifted until a vaccine has been developed. Most experts say a vaccine won’t be ready for widespread use for at least a year. Powis says vaccine development is under way and expresses hope that drugs and medicines might play a role in informing the UK government’s exit strategy. He says drugs are likely to come before a vaccine, but stresses “we’re still in round one, we’re still fighting the virus”. He won’t be drawn on a specific timeline for lifting restrictions, saying he and other medical advisers are there to do just that – advise. The home secretary is asked what Cabinet thinks about when the prime minister, who is still in hospital with coronavirus, should get back to work. Priti Patel doesn’t give any specific timings, but says: “We want him to get better and he needs the time and space to rest, recuperate, and recover.”
Asked where she has been for the last three weeks as the coronavirus crisis has escalated, Priti Patel says she has been working at the Home Office “virtually every single day”. She says she has been working on policy areas related to the pandemic, including visa changes and border force issues. “Viewers at home will want to know all of their ministers are working night and day to defeat the virus,” she says. In recent days, some journalists and political commentators had been asking why the home secretary had not been appearing in the media or at the government’s briefings.
14:25 UK sees 917 more deaths
We’ve just got the UK-wide figures from the government. A further 917 coronavirus-related hospital deaths have been reported in the UK. It brings the total number of deaths to 9,875, as of 17:00 BST on Friday. The Department of Health and Social Care says that, as of 09:00 BST on Saturday, 78,991 people have tested positive for Covid-19. The death toll announced yesterday was 980. A reminder that these figures are only for deaths which have taken place in hospital.
14:24 A further 15 deaths in Northern Ireland
A further 15 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland. It bring the total number of reported deaths to 107. Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency says a further 128 people have tested positive, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,717.
14:20 Scotland sees 47 more deaths
Today’s figures from Scotland show there have been 47 deaths of people who had the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. It brings the total number of deaths in Scotland to 542. The total number of people who have tested positive in Scotland is now 5,590. There were 202 confirmed coronavirus patients in intensive care in Scotland last night.
14:13 A further 823 deaths in England
A further 823 people have died in hospital in England after testing positive for coronavirus, NHS England said on Saturday. It brings the total deaths in England to 8,937. The patients were aged between 11 and 102 years old, according to NHS England, and 33 had no known underlying health conditions.
14:04 Growing criticism of UK government on PPE
The UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said he is not aware of a link between a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and any of the 19 deaths of NHS staff that he has confirmed. But there is growing criticism of the government’s plans to equip NHS and social care workers with the right equipment. Supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) in London and Yorkshire are at “dangerously low levels”, according to the British Medical Association, which says doctors’ lives are being put at risk. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour party, said suggestions some NHS staff are wasting PPE was “frankly insulting,” while Liberal Democrat acting leader Ed Davey said he was “frustrated and disappointed more isn’t being done”. Mr Hancock told the BBC the government was looking into how NHS staff who had died with the virus were infected. However, he said it was important to note that some may have caught it outside of work. He has also said a “Herculean effort” is underway to distribute PPE.
13:30 Sweden has not done enough, admits PM
Throughout the pandemic, Sweden’s response to the coronavirus has been an odd one out. Unlike most of Europe, it did not introduce a lockdown – cafes and restaurants remain open, and schools have not closed. Although the government advised against non-essential travel, it has largely been business as usual, albeit a bit quieter. Now Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has admitted that Sweden was not properly prepared for the pandemic and that it is “obvious that country has not done enough”. Restaurants not observing social distancing should be shut, he told Swedish broadcaster SVT. In Sweden, 870 people have died from the virus – many more than neighbours Denmark (247) and Norway (113), where lockdowns were introduced in early March.
13:07 Update on Boris Johnson’s health
We’ve just had today’s update on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s health. A Downing St spokesperson said: “The prime minister continues to make very good progress.” He remains in hospital, where he has been since Sunday, but is out of intensive care.
12:54 Cruise ship passengers to be repatriated
Uruguay has started to repatriate 112 passengers from Australia and New Zealand who have been stranded on a cruise ship for two weeks in the La Plata River near Montevideo. The passengers from the Greg Mortimer, most of whom have tested positive for coronavirus, were transported to an airport under strict health controls after the ship was able to dock in the capital. They are due to board a flight to Melbourne on Saturday. However, local media say there are still more than 80 crew members on board and about 20 European, including British, and American passengers. “When the quarantine ends, the remaining passengers will surely be able to return via commercial lines and the crew will return to the intended destination of the ship,” said Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi. The ship, which set sail from Argentina and was travelling to Antarctica, South Georgia island and Elephant Island, had been anchored in the La Plata River since 27 March.
12:47 Russian hospital records 170 positive tests
Initial testing at a Russian hospital with 1,100 staff and patients has seen at least 170 produce positive results for coronavirus, it has been reported. The state-run RIA Novosti news agency, as reported by English-language newspaper the Moscow Times, said Russian health officials would test the 170 people for a second time to “confirm or disprove” the results. The Kuvatov Republic Clinical Hospital, in the city of Ufa, was placed under strict lockdown on Monday. It came after at least five doctors and two patients fell ill with coronavirus symptoms.
12:20 New York mayor calls for rent freeze
As New York City continues to grapple with Covid-19 and many residents are unable to go to work, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for a rent freeze that could affect some two million New Yorkers. At a news conference on Friday, Mr de Blasio promised: “We will keep the roof over your head.” But those living in the Brooklyn properties owned by Mr de Blasio are still paying rent. When asked about his tenants, the mayor said they “are all employed and are all able to pay”. A spokeswoman later confirmed that Mr de Blasio had asked his renters whether they needed assistance, which they declined, the New York Daily News reported.
11:51 Brazil reports more than 1,000 virus deaths
Brazil has become the first country in the southern hemisphere to surpass 1,000 coronavirus deaths. The health ministry has confirmed 19,638 cases and 1,056 deaths. Officials warn the numbers are likely to be much higher as only patients at hospitals are being tested, and experts predict the outbreak will only start to peak in the country later this month. Most states have imposed quarantine measures but President Jair Bolsonaro continues to challenge the restrictions, saying they are unnecessarily harming the economy. He has threatened to issue a federal decree to force businesses to re-open. In his latest act of disregard for his own government’s recommendations of social distancing, the far-right leader hit the streets of the capital Brasília on Friday, a public holiday in Brazil, drawing crowds and greeting followers. At one of the stops, Bolsonaro took pictures with supporters. But some residents banged pots and pans in anger while others shouted: “Go home!” He was particularly criticised for wiping his nose with his lower right arm at one point, then shaking hands with an elderly woman.
11:32 India ‘to extend lockdown’
India will extend its lockdown to control spread of the coronavirus, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has tweeted. It had been scheduled to end on Tuesday. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke to several state ministers earlier today, will extend the national restrictions as the number of cases in the country are rising, Mr Kejriwal says. It is not clear how long the extension will last. India has 7,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and has seen 774 deaths, according to figures compiled by a US university, but it is feared that the virus could spread widely in the nation of 1.3 billion. First announced on 25 March with just hours notice, the lockdown has brought hardship to millions who are struggling to buy food or find work.
11:04 Spain’s daily death toll drops again
The daily death toll has dropped significantly – with 100 fewer deaths reported on Saturday than on Friday. Although 510 people died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, according to the health ministry, it is much lower than at the height of the outbreak. On Friday the death toll was 605. The worst day in Spain was 2 April, when 950 people died. It brings the hard-hit country’s total number of fatalities from the virus to 16,353 – the third highest in the world behind Italy and the US. The daily death toll in Spain has been falling for a few days, sustaining hope that the worst of the outbreak is over. The number of new infections reached 161,852, an increase of 4,830. That’s slightly higher than yesterday’s increase of 4,576 but still only a 3% increase. It comes as the Spanish government considers lifting some restrictions, including allowing some non-essential workers to return to their jobs, including in construction and factory production.
10:48 Do not overuse PPE, says UK health secretary
There have been cases where medical workers have used more personal protective equipment (PPE) than necessary, the UK health secretary has said, after a doctor’s union warned that many doctors were not getting the equipment they need. The British Medical Association said doctors faced “heart-breaking decisions” over whether to carry on without proper protection. Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there was enough personal protective equipment to go around if it was used in line with guidance. “I don’t want to impugn blame on people who have used more PPE than the guidelines suggest because I understand the difficulties in the circumstances,” he said. “What I would say it is very important to use the right PPE and not overuse it.” The health secretary confirmed that 19 NHS workers had died since the start of the outbreak. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “It is quite frankly insulting to imply front line staff are wasting PPE.” Dame Donna Kinnair, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, told Today that no piece of PPE could ever be “more precious a resource than a healthcare worker’s life, a nurse’s life, a doctor’s life”.
10:13 Tracking wristbands to be used in South Korea
Anyone defying quarantine orders in South Korea will be instructed to wear a tracking device on their wrist, the government has announced. The country successfully managed to control an outbreak in February, and is seeing comparatively low numbers of new infections. It reported 30 new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 10,480, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Officials can already track people using their smartphones but authorities say 57,000 people ignored stay-at-home orders, and went under the radar by leaving their mobiles at home. Millions globally are being asked to stay at home this Easter weekend, and avoid religious gatherings or meeting family members outside their household.
10:06 ‘Nobody knows when UK peak will be’
The number of coronavirus-related hospital admissions is “starting to flatten out” but it is not clear whether the UK has reached a peak in the epidemic, the health secretary said this morning. Speaking about hospital admissions on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Matt Hancock said: “Instead of going up exponentially, as they would have done if we had not taken the measures, that they are starting to come down and flatten.” But he added: “We haven’t seen that enough to have confidence to make changes.” Asked about reports that he was not following social-distancing rules with his staff, he said he worked from home whenever he could. “But I do have to go into the office and sometimes the best way to get something done is to have some of the key people in the room and obviously some on the video,” he said. “We do follow the rules in the office,” he added, noting that he had spread out chairs in accordance with social-distancing rules.
Sources: Various news sources including but not limited to BBC News, Fox News, CNN.