Care homes

The government’s death figures don’t include care homes, where the death toll could be huge, says the Telegraph.

The number of care home residents who have died of suspected coronavirus may have reached 7,500, according to the latest estimate, The Telegraph has learned.
New data collated by Care England, the country’s largest representative body for care homes, suggests the number of deaths from Covid-19 is far higher than its previous estimate of 1,400 from earlier this week.
The number is also far in advance of the official figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has recorded 217 care home deaths from the virus up to April 3 – the most recent date for which official data is available.

The Mail quotes a care company.

More than 7,500 care home residents are now feared to have died from coronavirus, according to new data.
Care England, the country’s largest representative body for care homes, said the number of residents dying from the illness far surpassed government estimates.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earlier this week showed only 237 care home coronavirus deaths had been recorded in England and Wales up to April 3.

Lockdown

When will it end?  The Times reports:

Ministers are “treating the public like children” by refusing to discuss options to ease the lockdown, senior Tory MPs said last night, as pressure grew to spell out details of how the restrictions could end.
Alok Sharma, the business secretary, became the latest senior minister to reject calls for more clarity, saying at the daily press conference that public discussion of options risked “muddying the waters”.

And when the lockdown eventually ends, we might have to wear face masks, says the Telegraph.

The public may be asked to wear face masks in new advice next week under measures designed to help Britain out of its coronavirus lockdown.
Ministers will consider a review by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) examining whether the routine wearing of masks should be recommended for those who are out and about.
Growing numbers of medics are calling for the advice to change in line with countries such as China and South Korea.

In an exclusive report, the Mail claims half of us want to make it compulsory.

Half of Britons want the government to make face masks compulsory if lockdown is eased, it was revealed today.
A poll for MailOnline found 48 per cent believe the step should be taken to restrict the spread of the killer virus when curbs start to be lifted.
Some 37 per cent thought the move had not been implemented so far because of shortages in the UK, according to the by Redfield & Wilton strategies research conducted this week.

But the government is not so sure, reports BBC News.

The public will not be told to wear face masks to stop coronavirus unless the government’s scientists say it is necessary, a minister has said.
Grant Shapps said the evidence on whether masks work was “quite mixed”.
It comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for people to wear non-medical face masks – such as scarves or bandanas – in public as “additional protection” to social distancing.

Testing

Testing for coronavirus is not going well, says the Mail.

The government is only using just over half of its daily coronavirus testing capacity, according to the latest official statistics.
Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, told today’s Downing Street press conference that 21,328 tests were carried out yesterday.
But No10 has estimated the UK’s testing capacity is now at 38,000 a day, with ministers continuing to struggle to explain why actual test numbers are falling so far short of what could be done.

It is to be rolled out to the emergency services, says the Independent.

Coronavirus testing will be offered to police, firefighters and other emergency workers, in addition to NHS staff, Matt Hancock has announced.
The health secretary said the government’s testing programme would be expanded to include other critical workers on the front line who require it, including prison staff, the judiciary and benefits advisers.
Only NHS staff, social care workers and patients had previously been eligible for testing, prompting concerns that key workers in other sectors have been needlessly self-isolating or unknowingly infecting people with the virus.

The Mirror also has he story.

Coronavirus testing will be extended to the police, fire service, prison officers and essential council staff, Matt Hancock has announced.
Mr Hancock told a committee of MPs the eligibility for testing would be expanded beyond patients, NHS staff and care home workers with suspected symptoms.
He said “police, fire service, prison staff, critical local authority staff, the judiciary and Department for Work and Pensions staff who need it” will also be able to get tested for the virus.

But the numbers are only a ‘goal’, says the Mail.

Matt Hancock today admitted his 100,000 daily coronavirus tests target is an ‘ambitious goal’ as he was confronted by health chiefs over claims NHS staff are not coming forward for checks.
Dame Donna Kinnair, the chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said she had been told examples from the frontline of sick nurses who were driving two hours to testing centres only to be told to come back another day.

Oxygen

The Telegraph has a story about the supplies of oxygen.

Oxygen is being rationed to prevent hospitals running out due to the high demand from coronavirus patients, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
NHS leaders have quietly instructed doctors to lower their targets for how much oxygen seriously ill patients should carry in their blood – a measure of fundamental health – to below levels regarded as “adequate”.
The new guidance was sent to hospital bosses earlier this month, days after a trust near London declared a critical incident because the demand for oxygen from Covid-19 patients caused pressure to fail.

Vaccine

Scientists are working hard on producing a vaccine, says the Telegraph.

Human trials for a coronavirus vaccine are set to begin next week, as the government launches a taskforce to ramp up efforts to tackle the pandemic.
Scientists at the University of Oxford have been working on a vaccine to prevent people from catching Covid-19, which they plan to test on the first UK volunteers within the next seven days.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology who is leading the team, said it could be ready to use on the general public by the autumn, with at least a million doses on standby to be rolled out in September.

The Mail is pessimistic.

coronavirus vaccine will take ‘many months’ and there are ‘no guarantees’ one will ever be found, ministers warned tonight.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma gave the sobering warning at Downing Street‘s press conference tonight after it emerged a new task-force had been set up to support scientists in their attempts to find a life-saving jab.
Downing Street’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance also insisted a vaccine was not around the corner and that a final jab was ‘some way off’.

ITV News says a vaccine may be ready later this year.

coronavirus vaccine may be available by Christmas in the UK, a scientist involved in researching a vaccine has told ITV News.
Professor Adrian Hill is director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, one of several teams around the world working around the clock to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
Speaking on the ITV News podcast Coronavirus: What You Need To Know to Science Editor Tom Clarke and Health Correspondent Emily Morgan, Professor Hill gave some hope to a world in lockdown, desperately waiting for a Covid-19 vaccine which is seen by many as the only way out of the coronavirus crisis.

And the vaccine may not be fully tested before production starts, says the Times.

Millions of doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine could be produced before they are proven to work under government plans.
A taskforce of industry leaders and scientists has been set up to co-ordinate promising schemes. Led by Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, it will initially work with projects in Oxford and Imperial College London.
Regulations could be streamlined to get results from trials quicker but ministers are wary of the huge risks of giving an untried jab to millions of people.

But a current medication could help says the Mail.

Coronavirus hopes were today raised after the anti-viral remdesivir was found to help critically-ill patients recover within a week.
University of Chicago Medicine recruited 125 people with COVID-19 as part of global clinical trials. Of those people, 113 had severe disease.
All the patients were treated with daily infusions of remdesivir, an experimental drug first touted to treat Ebola which has been in the making for ten years.

The Times says patients are already being treated.

More than 100 severely ill patients in NHS hospitals have been given an experimental Covid-19  treatment, a US drug company revealed yesterday, after leaked reports suggesting that it works buoyed world markets.
Shares in Gilead Sciences surged in New York after footage was leaked of a scientist describing patients making rapid recoveries after being treated with its antiviral drug remdesivir.
Dr Kathleen Mullane, who is overseeing a trial of the drug at the University of Chicago, said that some severely ill patients had recovered rapidly enough to be taken off ventilators within 24 hours.

Immunity

And if you’ve already had the virus, there’s no guarantee you’re now immune, reports the Sun.

THERE is no evidence to suggest those that survive coronavirus have immunity, the World Health Organisation has worryingly stated.
Senior WHO epidemiologists warned despite the hopes governments across the world have piled on antibody tests there is no proof those who have been infected cannot then be infected again.
The British Government has bought 3.5 million serology tests, which measure levels of antibodies in blood plasma, even though they are not definitive of growing levels of herd immunity.

ITV News also carries the report.

There is currently no evidence to support the belief that people who have recovered from coronavirus then have immunity, the World Health Organisation  (WHO) has warned.
Senior WHO epidemiologists said – despite hopes governments across the world have piled on antibody tests – there is no proof those who have contracted Covid-19 cannot contract it again.

PPE

The thorny question of personal protective equipment is addressed in the Times.

Doctors and nurses may need to wear plastic aprons over patient gowns to treat coronavirus patients amid a shortage of essential protective equipment, as the health secretary admitted that he had not been comfortable with initial advice on what they should wear.
Hospitals are expected to run out of gowns this weekend, and Public Health England issued guidance last night on how to tackle the shortages.

The Independent reports hospital shortages.

The NHS is in danger of running out of protective gowns this weekend, with fears medics treating coronavirus patients may be left unprotected or have to start re-using old equipment.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was unable to say whether there would be enough gowns when questioned by MPs on the Commons health and social care committee on Friday morning.
He warned that the service was “tight on gowns”, telling MPs that they were a “pressure point” but that he did not have “a magic wand” to fix the situation.

Medics could be told to reuse equipment, reports ITV News.

Frontline medics in the coronavirus outbreak have been asked to reuse personal protective equipment (PPE) items when treating patients ahead of expected shortages.
The government has been under fire for weeks over the distribution of protective garments, with some doctors, nurses, and carers warning that they have had to work in situations where they feel unsafe.
Public Health England (PHE) reversed its guidance on Friday evening which said long-sleeved disposable fluid repellent gowns should be worn when treating Covid-19 patients.
Medical staff in England will now be expected to continue working if they do not have full-length protective gowns.

And the Morning Star quotes the Health Secretary.

HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock today repeatedly refused to guarantee that NHS and social care staff would have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) this weekend.
Mr Hancock was grilled online by MPs, including his predecessor Jeremy Hunt, as part of the Commons health committee’s scrutiny of the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
Committee chairman Mr Hunt had a controversial tenure as health secretary, overseeing underfunding and part-privatisation of the NHS, as well as two junior doctors’ strikes in one week.

The Sun warns staff that they may not be protected.

NHS staff will have to treat coronavirus patients without full-length gowns as hospitals are set to run out within hours, it emerged tonight.
Public Health England is set to tell frontline staff to wear a flimsy plastic apron when gowns have run out – which could lead to more hero healthcare workers contracting the virus.
The guidance will be a U-turn on existing advice which told NHS staff that full-length waterproof surgical gowns should be worn for all high-risk hospital procedures, The Guardian revealed.

And the Mail says staff have been told to wear aprons.

NHS frontline staff have been told to ‘wear aprons’ to treat coronavirus patients and reuse PPE as supplies at some hospitals are set to run out this weekend.
New guidance was issued last night amid reports at least 60 NHS trusts were expecting to exhaust their stocks of gowns.
This includes all hospitals in London, which reportedly need tens of thousands of gowns delivered urgently.

Captain Tom

The pensioner walking to raise money for the NHS could be given a flypast, says the Mail.

Captain Tom Moore could get a Spitfire flypast for his 100th birthday in 13 days’ time as the amount he has raised for the NHS passes £20million.
A team of aircraft restorers from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar hope to fly the plane past the World War Two hero’s home as a ‘small gesture’ to celebrate his achievements.
‘It will be a bit of a moral booster for us all really, to see a Spitfire in the sky,’ Alex Monk 21, from the Hangar, told The Telegraph. ‘It’s been a symbol of freedom in the past and quite an icon for Tom.’

The Sun also reports the plans.

A SPITFIRE flypast is being planned to celebrate the 100th birthday of Captain Tom Moore after he raised over £20m for NHS heroes.
The WW2 veteran has captured the nation’s hearts after walking 100 laps of his garden for medics fighting on the coronavirus frontline.
Captain Tom – as he is affectionately known – originally set out to raise £1,000 through his JustGiving page but a staggering 868,000 people made donations, smashing his initial target.

Prisons

The virus in prisons is addressed by BBC News.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland is facing legal action over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in prisons across England and Wales.
Two charities claim his plans to tackle the spread have been “too slow” to make an impact, making them “unlawful”.
The government says up to 4,000 prisoners could be let out up to two months early to create more space – but on Tuesday, only 18 had been released.

The government could face a legal challenge says the Evening Standard.

Two leading prison reform charities are suing the Government over its “unlawful” response to the coronavirus crisis in British prisons.
It comes as the Ministry of Justice confirmed total of 255 prisoners have tested positive for coronavirus in 62 prisons as of 5pm on Thursday.
Some 138 prison staff have also contracted the virus in 49 prisons as well as seven prisoner escort and custody services staff.
Lawyers for the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prison Reform Trust have now sent a formal legal letter to the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland warning of a “public health catastrophe” if he does not “substantially reduce the prison population”.

Scams

Watch out for criminals, warns the Mail.

Google is blocking more than 18million hoax emails a day as criminals try to snare victims with coronavirus scam messages.
The tech giant has more than 1.5 billion users of its Gmail platform and has revealed it is currently blocking more than 100 million phishing emails a day.
Almost a fifth of these are using the coronavirus pandemic to try and trick innocent people.
Google also says it is seeing an additional 240 million COVID-related daily spam messages.

EU

Across the Channel, the little Napoleon is set for a power-grab, says the Times.

The French government is striving to avert a revolt by the over-70s after President Macron announced a deadline for easing the lockdown.
Édouard Philippe, the prime minister, and his cabinet were jolted by the head of state’s unexpected decision to override experts and force the pace for the next phase of what he calls a “war” against the coronavirus.
With the pandemic beginning to ebb after 17,000 deaths and a month of lockdown, Mr Macron set May 11 as the start of “le déconfinement”. Schools, shops, businesses and hairdressers would reopen while cafes, restaurants and cinemas remain shut, he said in an address watched by 36 million.

The Telegraph also has the story.

Emmanuel Macron has got tired of waiting for Angela Merkel to back his dreams of closer European integration.
Instead of relying on the German chancellor, the French president has found new allies in the EU’s corridors of power.
And he hopes to exploit the coronavirus crisis to force through his long-stalled plans for eurozone reform which include a shared budget, pooled bailout fund and finance minister.

HS2

Away from coronavirus, the Times has a story about HS2.

Plans to build the HS2 line into central London are under threat amid warnings that huge new train tunnels risk causing “catastrophic” damage to grade II listed homes.
A homeowner will mount a High Court challenge against the £106 billion scheme next month after a judge gave permission for her case to proceed.
The claim by Hero Granger-Taylor is supported by a civil engineer’s report that warns that three new tunnels being built to accommodate the line could cause “massive structural collapse” to a 120-year old retaining wall.

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