Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all – but don’t visit your mum in person, ITV News reports the Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson has warned the coronavirus outbreak is “accelerating”, as he urged people not to visit their parents on Mother’s Day.
In a stark message to the country, he said the NHS was in danger of being “overwhelmed” in the same way as the Italian healthcare system unless people heeded Government advice on “social distancing”.
It came as ministers urged the 1.5 million people in England considered to be most at risk from the disease due to their health conditions to begin “shielding” themselves by staying at home.
Letters will go out this week to those concerned, “strongly advising” them not to go out for at least 12 weeks from Monday.

Use video calls or other remote means, reports the Mail.

Boris Johnson will today urge Britons to celebrate Mother’s Day remotely by using video calls – as he admits the NHS is on the brink of being ‘overwhelmed’ by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Prime Minister’s warning that ‘the numbers are very stark and they are accelerating’ came as the UK death toll soared to 233 – up 56 in a day.
Doctors warned that a ‘tsunami’ of severely ill patients was about to engulf them, describing near-apocalyptic scenes amid chronic shortages of basic equipment and fears that unprotected medics could either become desperately ill themselves or become carriers and infect others.

Brexit

The government has been warned not to allow coronavirus to delay Brexit, reports the Express.

BRITAIN must not delay the end of the transition period to avoid the fallout from a “financial Chernobyl” in the eurozone caused by the impact of Covid-19.
A major new cross-party thinktank – the Centre for Brexit Policy (CBP) – has issued the warning over the eurozone in its first paper. It claims that the Covid-19 will transform the Brexit negotiating framework and expose toxic debt within the eurozone. Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson will chair the CBP, backed by a cross-party team of directors including Labour MP Graham Stringer, DUP MP Sammy Wilson and former Brexit Party MEP Matthew Patten.
John Longworth, former Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce, will be responsible for day-to-day management in conjunction with Senior Adviser Edgar Miller, also Convener of Economists for Free Trade.
CBP has concluded that the resulting slump caused by Covid-19 will blow the lid off deep-seated flaws inside the eurozone set up 20 years ago.
Once the UK leaves the EU’s framework at the end of 2020, this financial risk should be lower for the UK itself and the global financial market and it is more likely that the threat can be mitigated by collaborating with other global financial centres.

EU

The bloc has suspended its budget rules, reports City AM.

The European Union has formalised an agreement reached by the bloc’s finance ministers earlier this month to suspend EU budget rules.
The legislation placed limits on government borrowing but its suspension will now give countries a free hand in fighting the coronavirus.
The European Commission proposed late on Friday to activate the “general escape clause” in the rules to respond to the pandemic.
A number of countries across the union are in lockdown and travel restrictions are in place throughout.
“It will allow Member States to undertake measures to deal adequately with the crisis, while departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply under the European fiscal framework,” the Commission said.

NHS

Medical staff may have to decide who lives and who is not treated, says the Telegraph.

The NHS could be “overwhelmed” like the Italian health system in just a fortnight, Boris Johnson has warned, as official guidance paved the way for British doctors to prioritise the coronavirus patients who are most likely to survive.
In his starkest warning yet, the Prime Minister said the UK was only “two or three” weeks behind Italy, where the death toll from Covid-19 rose by 793 in 24 hours.
Urging people to heed advice to “stay at home” in order to save “literally thousands of lives”, Mr Johnson said: “Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread – then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed.”
The extraordinary plea came as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) instructed doctors to admit patients to intensive care units “on the basis of medical benefit, taking into account the likelihood that the person will recover to an outcome that is acceptable to them”.

And BBC News reports a warning that the service could collapse.

Boris Johnson has warned the NHS could be “overwhelmed” if people do not act to slow the “accelerating” spread of coronavirus, as he urged the UK not to visit loved ones on Mother’s Day.
The PM called on the public to join a “heroic and collective national effort” and follow social distancing advice.
The number of people who have died in the UK with coronavirus rose to 233 on Saturday, as cases topped 5,000.
It comes as NHS England plans to write to 1.5 million people most at risk.
Those at-risk people will receive letters or text messages strongly advising them not to go out for 12 weeks to protect themselves, the government said.
They include people who have received organ transplants, are living with severe respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis or specific cancers, such as blood or bone marrow.

Private hospitals

Thousands of beds in private hospitals could be allocated to the NHS, reports ITV News.

The private healthcare sector will work with the NHS to provide extra capacity amid the coronavirus crisis, bringing thousands of resources to the fight against Covid-19.
Under a freshly signed agreement, the independent sector will reallocate almost its entire national hospital capacity to the NHS and will be reimbursed at cost.
Thousands more beds, ventilators and extra healthcare staff will be available from next week to aid the fight against coronavirus thanks to the deal between NHS England and independent hospitals.
The extra resources, including nearly 20,000 staff, will also help the NHS deliver other urgent operations and cancer treatments.
The deal – the first of its kind – includes the provision of 8,000 hospital beds across England, nearly 1,200 more ventilators, more than 10,000 nurses, over 700 doctors and over 8,000 other clinical staff.

And there will be more ventilators and staff, according to Reuters.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) will have more ventilators and thousands of extra beds and healthcare staff on hand from next week to fight coronavirus after it struck a deal with the independent hospital sector.
NHS England said on Saturday that nearly 20,000 fully qualified staff from the private sector will be joining the health service’s response to the pandemic, helping manage an expected surge in cases.
So far, 177 patients have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus.
On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms to shut their doors in a bid to slow down the accelerating spread of the virus.
“Under the agreement, the independent sector will reallocate practically its entire national hospital capacity en bloc to the NHS,” said health minister Matt Hancock. “It will be reimbursed, at cost, meaning no profit will be made for doing so.”
The deal includes the provision of 8,000 hospital beds across England, nearly 1,200 more ventilators, more than 10,000 nurses, over 700 doctors and more than 8,000 other clinical staff.

Symptoms

We all know the virus can produce a fever, a sore throat and a cough, but other symptoms are emerging, reports the Telegraph.

A loss of sense of smell and taste could be symptoms of the new coronavirus, according to a leading ear, nose, or throat specialist.
Professor Nirmal Kumar, president of ENT UK, a body representing ear, nose and throat surgeons, said covid-19 patients are presenting with these symptoms, even when they do not have the other more common symptoms of fever and cough.
He advised that people in the UK should self isolate if they experience these new symptoms. “In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose”, he told Sky News.
ENT UK also released a statement, co-signed by Professor Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society, saying that isolating people with a loss of sense of smell but no other symptoms for seven days could reduce the number of people who are infecting others with the virus, without realising it.

The Mail also has the symptoms, and reports NHS staff are being infected.

Experts have warned that loss of taste and smell could be signs of coronavirus as two NHS consultants receive critical care after catching infection from patients.
Guidelines from Public Health England currently state that a high temperature or a new continuous cough are the only symptoms that should result in self-isolation.
But the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology has since said that there are new signs that may even be exhibited by asymptomatic patients – ones who do not have a fever or cough.
In a statement, it said: ‘Evidence from other countries that the entry point for the coronavirus is often in the eyes, nose and throat areas.
‘We have also identified a new symptom (loss of sense of smell and taste) that may mean that people without other symptoms but with just the loss of this sense may have to self-isolate – again to reduce the spread of the virus,’ according to Sky News.

The Sun says these could be the only symptoms.

LOSING your sense of taste and smell could be a sign of coronavirus, doctors have warned.
The British Association of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT UK) says patients who do not have a fever or a cough could show a loss of smell or taste after contracting the deadly bug.
It said in a statement: “Evidence from other countries that the entry point for the coronavirus is often in the eyes, nose and throat areas.
“We have also identified a new symptom (loss of sense of smell and taste) that may mean that people without other symptoms but with just the loss of this sense may have to self-isolate – again to reduce the spread of the virus.”
It comes after the organisation revealed that two of its consultants are on ventilators and are being treated for COVID-19.
Professor Nirmal Kumar consultant otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon said the nose was the main point of entry for breathing in the virus, Sky News reports.
He said: “In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose.”

Testing

A swift testing system could be put in place soon, says the Sun.

A NEW coronavirus test that gives results in 45 minutes was approved today and will be available in a week.
THE FDA authorized a COVID-19 test which will be available in hospitals and emergency rooms by the end of the month – diagnosing patients in under an hour, officials say.
Speaking about the “point-of-care” test developed by the company Cepheid, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said it was a significant development amid the ongoing crisis.
The need for more testing comes after at least 285 Americans died from the deadly virus which emerged in Wuhan, China and has infected nearly 25,000 in the US.

But at the moment it’s just in the US, says the Star.

coronavirus test that provides results in just 45 minutes has been given the go-ahead.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the rapid diagnostic test to be used in American hospitals and emergency rooms.
It was developed by Cepheid, a California-based molecular diagnostics company.
According to reports it will be shipped to hospitals next week.
Currently, patients are being forced to wait up to weeks to get their results back resulting in an agonising wait.
But the fight against the outbreak could be handed a huge boost if results are given much sooner.
It will need approval by UK authorities if it is to be implemented in Britain.

Isolation

Those of us with underlying health conditions will be told to stay at home from tomorrow, says the Times.

More than a million people most at risk from the coronavirus were told to live in isolation at home for three months last night as Boris Johnson issued his starkest warning yet that the pandemic could “overwhelm” the NHS if people did not heed government warnings.
Some 1.5 million personally addressed letters have been sent to those judged most likely to die from the disease, saying they should cut themselves off for their own safety for the next 12 weeks.
People with more than a dozen serious conditions, including cancer and respiratory diseases, and transplant patients will receive a letter from their GP in the next 24 hours. Of those affected, 40% are over the age of 75.

The military may be brought in to help those isolated, says the Guardian.

Key military officials are to help ensure food and medicines reach vulnerable people isolated at home during the coronavirus crisis, as part of a nationwide campaign to protect more than a million people most at risk of being hospitalised.
Community pharmacies, voluntary groups and food retailers are in talks with the government to ensure essential items reach people being told to remain in their home. Those believed to be at most risk are being contacted on how best to protect themselves, and being strongly advised to stay home for at least 12 weeks.
It marks the latest extraordinary action to tackle the crisis, after a week of interventions that have reshaped day-to-day life in Britain. In an attempt to persuade the public to obey social distancing measures designed to slow the spread of the virus, Boris Johnson on Saturday night pleaded with the public not to visit their mothers on Sunday for Mother’s Day. He warned anyone elderly or frail was “much more likely to die” from infection. He also had a grave message about the progress of the disease.

The spread of the virus is ‘accelerating’, says ITV News.

Military planners have been called in to help with localised support systems as people at high risk from the coronavirus were urged to stay home for at least 12 weeks.
The move came as Boris Johnson called for Britons to resist visiting their parents on Mother’s Day, with the prime minister warning the Covid-19 outbreak is “accelerating”.
The Government and health officials have urged the 1.5 million people in England considered most at risk from the disease because of their health conditions to begin “shielding” themselves by staying at home.
Letters will go out this week “strongly advising” them not to go out for at least 12 weeks from Monday.

Reuters reports that the UK is lagging behind the rest of Europe in its fight.

Britain on Saturday urged 1.5 million people identified by the National Health Service (NHS) as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract coronavirus to stay at home to protect themselves.
The country has been stepping up measures to fight the virus that have so far been less stringent than elsewhere in Europe.
People identified as belonging to one or more of the at-risk groups include those who have received organ transplants, those living with severe respiratory conditions or specific cancers, and some receiving certain types of drug treatments.
They will be contacted by their doctor strongly advising them to stay at home for a period of at least 12 weeks.
“If you receive a letter it is vitally important that you act on it for your own protection, don’t attend any gatherings of friends or families and don’t go out for shopping, leisure or travel,” said Paul Johnson, director at Public Health England.

Cure

But it seems that companies are doing their best to develop a vaccine, says the Mail.

The search for a coronavirus cure has become a global competition.
Clinical trials have started in Britain, the rest of Europe, China and the US, with scientists working at breakneck speed to produce a vaccine.
There are more than 20 in development, as well as potentially life-saving drugs.
Usually development takes more than five years and requires significant capital investment, but US Biotech company Moderna, which is furthest ahead in the race, has already started tests on humans, bypassing the animal-testing stage.
Another US firm, Inovio, will start testing its DNA vaccine on 30 volunteers next month.
If all is well, the firm will then test it on 3,000 people in the US, China and South Korea.

Cabinet

Meanwhile, the strain in government is beginning to show, reports the Mail.

The strain of managing the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has led to claims of tensions between two of the most senior Ministers tackling the crisis.
Colleagues say that Michael Gove is ‘vying’ with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to be Boris Johnson’s ‘chief executive’ on Covid-19 by leading the Cabinet’s approach.
Both Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Mr Hancock chair one of four committees set up to tackle the virus, as well as sit on the daily C-19 super-committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, which draws the four committees’ findings together in a pan-Whitehall operation.

Air travel

Still, reports the Times, we are importing potential carriers into the UK.

Thousands of passengers from coronavirus hotspots such as Iran, Italy and even China are flying into Britain, despite the government’s domestic lockdown.
Flights have been arriving in London from Beijing and Rome every day, while Iran Air is operating three flights a week from Tehran.
The revelation follows a decision by the EU last week to ban virtually all travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days.
Yesterday two Air China flights from Beijing, as well as a China Eastern service from Shanghai, landed at Heathrow. A separate flight from Shanghai touched down at Gatwick in the morning. The next flight from Iran, the country with the third-highest death toll, is scheduled to arrive in London this afternoon.

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