Intensive care

Telegraph
Intensive care for coronavirus patients is now being limited to those “reasonably certain” to survive, a major NHS London trust has conceded. A department head at Imperial College Healthcare revealed on Sunday that fewer and fewer marginal patients are being selected for ventilator treatment because so many serious cases require a fortnight on the machines. It comes as the NHS faces the toughest week in its history, with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, warning the number of deaths will increase. Imperial College Healthcare acknowledged that “very poorly patients with coronavirus may need to be on a ventilator for extended periods,” adding that “for some patients this would not be in their best interests”, but denied people are being denied care due to capacity problems. The statement amounts to the first admission that NHS doctors have significantly tightened their intensive care admission criteria since the start of the outbreak.

Mail
Ventilator ‘rationing’ has begun in the UK as only patients with a ‘reasonable certainty’ of survival are to be put on the machines at a London hospital.  The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228, as infections jumped by 2,483 to 19,522. Machines used to keep patients breathing are being restricted on medical grounds, not because of a lack of capacity, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust told the Daily Telegraph.  The trust said that ‘very poorly patients with coronavirus may need to be on a ventilator for extended periods’, adding that ‘for some patients this would not be in their best interests’.  A senior consultant told the paper: ‘As we learn more about the disease, we are being much more careful about which patients are being considered for critical care.

Sun
AN NHS Trust in London is giving ventilators to coronavirus patients with only a “reasonable chance” of surviving as the UK is gripped by the killer virus. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said doctors may decide it is not in a critically ill patient’s “best interest” to be given the potentially life-saving equipment. One senior consultant told The Telegraph medics are no longer giving some patients ‘the benefit of the doubt’ if they look likely to lose their fight for life. The doctor said: “As we learn more about the disease, we are being much more careful about which patients are being considered for critical care. “In normal times we will give most people the benefit of the doubt. That has changed. “Delaying their death for two or three weeks is not the right thing for them or for society.”

Deaths

Telegraph
The official death toll for coronavirus is lower than the true number of casualties reported by hospitals, it was claimed on Sunday night. Channel 4 News reported that an email sent to staff at one of London’s biggest hospitals suggested that the daily tally, made public by Government, did not tally with the actual number killed by Covid-19. The message sent to staff at King’s College Hospital Trust stated: “The number of deaths reported at King’s in national figures is below what they are experiencing. It is not just King’s but a number of other trusts and the centre has been made aware.”

Sun
THE Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England has said the UK coronavirus death rate will get progressively ‘worse’ in the next two weeks. At today’s press briefing Dr Jenny Harries revealed her predictions after Covid-19 related deaths in the UK increased by 209, with the total now standing at 1,228. Dr Harries went on to say the lockdown would be “reviewed” after three weeks but that it would be “quite dangerous” for things to return to normal after that.

Star
Coronavirus deaths could spiral for the next two weeks before the NHS sees a decline in Britain’s mortality rate, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries has warned. During the daily Covid-19 conference at Downing Street, Dr Harries said the mortality rate is likely to “get worse over the next week, possibly two”. She said the government anticipates numbers will get worse before it looks to see whether medics have managed to push the curve down. Her chilling comments come as the Department of Health and Social Care announced a further 209 people across the UK died of the virus overnight.

Times
The scientist who projected last week that Britain would suffer 5,700 deaths from coronavirus has said new data suggests that it was a significant underestimate and Britain is in a very “dangerous state”. Tom Pike, from Imperial College, had calculated the likely total death rate by assuming that the outbreak in Britain would follow a similar trajectory to that seen in Wuhan, China. His paper predicted that at its highest, Britain would have 260 deaths a day. That number was reached over the weekend. He said that this changed the results entirely.

Mail
The expert who predicted 5,700 Britons would die from coronavirus now says that figure was underestimating the peril the pandemic poses. Scientist Tom Pike from Imperial College claims that the UK is in a ‘dangerous state’ amid the Covid-19 crisis. He calculated his original death rate based on the assumption that Britain would follow a similar pattern to Wuhan, China, where the virus originated. His paper put Britain’s peak at 260 deaths a day – but that number has already hit over the weekend.

NHS staff

Sky News
Boris Johnson has revealed 20,000 ex-staff have returned to the NHS to help fight coronavirus after Britons were warned restrictions on their lives may last for at least six months. The prime minister, who is holed up in Number 11 after being diagnosed with COVID-19, said in a video message that the UK will get through the crisis “together”, as he praised the 750,000 volunteers who have offered to assist the health service. His remarks came after England’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries, said it could be six months or more before the UK gets back to normal from the pandemic.

Testing

Mail
One in four Britons could be tested for coronavirus to try to shorten the lockdown. In a sign that ministers have finally accepted the urgency of mass testing, officials have agreed deals to buy 17.5million kits for use by mid-April.  They hope to identify contagion hotspots as well as people who are immune. The tests would help get NHS staff back to work with screening of frontline workers, such as teachers and police officers, to follow. The programme could see movement restrictions lifted earlier than the six months suggested by the Government’s scientific advisers yesterday. ‘The top priority is randomised testing to establish how far the disease has spread,’ a Whitehall source said.

Sky News
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for mass testing to end the coronavirus lockdown faster. He said the UK should be following the example of countries such as South Korea, Singapore and Germany who have used mass testing to successfully curb the spread of COVID-19. “The restaurants are open in South Korea,” he wrote in The Sunday Telegraph. “You can go shopping in Taiwan. Offices are open in Singapore. “These countries learned the hard way how to deal with a pandemic after the deadly SARS virus. They now show us how we can emerge from lockdown.”

BBC News
Frontline hospital staff in England are starting to be tested to see whether they have coronavirus. Workers with symptoms and those who live with people who have symptoms will be checked – starting with hundreds of critical care doctors and nurses. Tests for A&E staff, paramedics and GPs are expected to follow, and later social care staff will be tested. It comes as the number of people who have died with the virus in the UK rose by 260 to 1,019 on Saturday.

Sun
ONE in four Brits could get coronavirus tests in weeks after the government agreed deals to buy 17.5m kits. The government hopes to use mass testing as a means of identifying hotspots of infection and sees it as key to fighting the virus, which has now killed over 1,000 people in the UK. Should the tests pass medical checks, the government will order suppliers to begin making the kits, available for use in mid-April. Frontline workers in the NHS could also be allowed to return to work with the tests, as well as other key workers such as teachers and police officers.

Mirror
The Government is now able to test 10,000 people a day to see if they are infected with the coronavirus. Health Secretary Matt Hancock took to Twitter to confirm the news. He tweeted: “Good news that we’ve reached 10,000 #coronavirus  tests a day – ahead of schedule. We’re on track to 25,000. #StayHomeSaveLives.” Cabinet Office Minster Michael Gove also praised the announcement. It comes amid fierce criticism about slow progress gearing up the response. But Mr Gove declined to give a timescale for when all frontline NHS staff will get access to checks – after small-scale trials were launched.

Star
Furious medics are facing waits of up to four days to find out if they have contracted coronavirus, as insiders warn of an “apocalyptic” crisis facing the health service. Today Cabinet minister Michael Gove said 10,000 tests are being carried out each day, but admitted that not all doctors and nurses are getting them. It comes as the government comes under increased pressure to rollout tests to all NHS workers potentially exposed to the killer virus, which has claimed more than 1,200 lives in the UK. But although testing has been stepped up, frontline staff are horrified about the amount of time it takes to find out if they have Covid-19. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the turnaround time for results has been between three and four days in some parts of the NHS.

Volunteers

Mail
An astonishing 750,000 Britons have joined the NHS volunteer army in just five days. Health Secretary Matt Hancock had initially hoped to recruit 250,000 members of the public – but the target was trebled following the huge response. Nearly half a million pledged their support in the first 24 hours after the appeal went out on Tuesday, including many workers who had lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Last night the NHS revealed the new 750,000 target had been hit and the appeal has now been closed – to be re-opened in the following weeks. Officials are currently processing the applications, which involves carrying out background and identity checks and allocating individuals to one of four key roles.

Crime

Times
Police will cut services, drop investigations and scale back their response to crime as forces hit different “tipping points” in the coronavirus crisis. A “graduated withdrawal of service plan” details how officers will be redeployed to critical activities such as 999 calls and serious crime if forces reach black status — the most severe level of interruption to ordinary services — in which they cannot deliver ordinary tasks, according to documents seen by The Times. It is understood that at least one regional force has already reached red status, the second most severe level, in which most officers are redeployed to “immediate, priority incidents”.

Star
With more people staying home than ever before during the coronavirus lockdown, there has been an increase in scam emails relating to the pandemic. Action Fraud UK says there’s been a spike in phishing scams since the outbreak, consisting of emails riddled with dodgy links that, if clicked on, can infect a computer with malware and steal personal details. The emails range from fake “live updates” of infections in the victim’s area to offers of hoax tax refunds. One particularly nasty email threatens the victim that if they don’t pay £4,000 in bitcoin, they “will infect every member οf your family with the coronavirus”. There have been 105 coronavirus-related reports to Action Fraud since February 1, with victims losing a total of almost £970,000 to malicious scam artists.

EU

Telegraph
Italy’s political leaders from Left to Right have erupted in fury over the EU’s minimalist, insulting, and cack-handed response to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that lack of economic solidarity risks pushing the bloc’s festering divisions beyond the point of no return.  “Don’t make a tragic mistake. The whole European edifice risks losing its raison d’etre,” said the Italian premier, Giuseppe Conte, demanding a giant Marshall Plan funded on the EU’s joint credit card to relaunch the productive system once the current nightmare is over. Conte said anybody who thinks they can force Italy to accept disciplinary terms as a condition for loans – a sort of “Troika” regime – have gravely misjudged the mood of his nation. Italy will not take the money. “We will do it alone,” he said.  The message is that if there is no EU solidarity when it matters, then it no longer makes sense for Italy to accept EU surveillance and constraints, or for Italy to forgo use of its own sovereign policy instruments in self-defence. Europe’s pandemic strategy – every man for himself – may have unstoppable centrifugal consequences.

Sun
BREXIT boss Michel Barnier “may be patient zero who brought virus to number 10”, it has been claimed. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator announced he was infected on March 19, just one day before his British counterpart David Frost also began self-isolating. According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Barnier could be Downing Street’s “patient zero” as the first person in the group to become infected. Mr Barnier and Mr Frost had held talks on March 5 in Brussels, with both getting sick within the 14-day incubation period. Other top officials then began working from home, including Whitehall enforce Helen MacNamara. Since then, a series of Westminster ministers and MPs have begun to self-isolate after picking up symptoms.

Motoring

Telegraph
Motorists are to be allowed to park for free across the country during the coronavirus outbreak as council scale back restrictions and enforcement, The Telegraph understands. Some councils have instructed wardens against widespread ticketing of drivers parked in resident only bays, urging staff to instead adopt a “common sense” approach when issuing penalties. It comes as councils and hospitals announced parking charges would be waived for NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic after anger erupted when some health workers received fines. Havering Council, in east London, declared drivers who do not own a resident permit are now allowed to park in spaces that could usually result in a financial penalty.

Railways

Telegraph
Taxpayers risk being lumbered with an £8bn railway pensions black hole after the Government stepped in to take control of the country’s trains in response to coronavirus. The Department for Transport announced emergency measures to tackle the crisis last week that effectively nationalised the network. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, gave train companies the option of being paid a fixed fee to run services for at least six months or hand franchises back to the Government. Experts say the intervention, originally revealed two weeks ago by The Telegraph, will move one of Britain’s biggest industry pension funds from the private sector onto the public balance sheet.

China

Telegraph
China’s failure to give “clear” information about the spread of the coronavirus has been blamed for worsening the spread of the disease amid a growing diplomatic row with Beijing. Michael Gove said China had not shared accurate data about the “scale, nature and infectiousness” of the disease, as Downing Street sources suggesting the Communist superpower would face a “reckoning” when the pandemic is over. Tory MPs have used the anger towards China to renew calls for the Government to rethink its policy on using Huawei to build part of the 5G mobile phone network. But there were also accusations that ministers are using China as a convenient scapegoat to deflect criticism from the Government’s failure to ramp up testing in the way that many other countries have done.

Breitbart
The British government is reportedly furious over the coronavirus misinformation campaign conducted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), leading to calls for the relationship between the two powers to be re-evaluated after the pandemic subsides. Members of Boris Johnson’s government have disclosed that “anger goes right to the top” of 10 Downing Street — the Prime Minister’s official residence — over the Chinese Communist Party’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. The anger stems in large part from a misinformation campaign launched by the regime accusing a United States military delegation in Wuhan of starting the global pandemic. “There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable. They [the Chinese regime] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies,” a Downing Street source told the Daily Mail.

Times
The Chinese authorities were not clear about the “scale” and “infectiousness” of the early coronavirus outbreak, Michael Gove said yesterday, as senior Tories called on the government to “rethink” its relationship with Beijing. In comments that will irritate the Chinese authorities, who have been keen to play up their success in tackling Covid-19, Mr Gove implicitly criticised China’s early response to the outbreak. The first known case of coronavirus was identified in Wuhan at the start of December and the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on December 9 that a “new viral outbreak” had been detected in the city. However, it was not until December 31 that the country officially notified the World Health Organisation that it had detected “pneumonia of unknown etiology” in Wuhan.

Guardian
Michael Gove has appeared to lay the blame for the UK’s lack of mass testing on China, raising the prospect of increased diplomatic tension between the two countries. Some of China’s reports on the virus were unclear about the “scale, nature and infectiousness” of the disease, the cabinet minister told the BBC. Asked on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show why Britain did not have sufficient testing, despite the first case in China being known about in December, Gove said: “We’ve been increasing the number of tests over the course of the last month.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email