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UK coronavirus live: Johnson sets target for 750,000 NHS volunteers as London hospitals see 'tsunami' of patients UK coronavirus live: Johnson sets target for 750,000 NHS volunteers as London hospitals see 'tsunami' of patients
(32 minutes later)
Rolling coverage of all the latest UK coronavirus developmentsRolling coverage of all the latest UK coronavirus developments
A 14-year-old boy has been arrested after a doctor was robbed on his way to hospital on Wednesday night.
The victim was forced to withdraw a “two-figure” sum from a cash machine after being approached by two people on foot and one on a bicycle in Harlow, Essex.
Police said the robbery, which began at around 9.25pm in Market Square, was one of three incidents in the town within an hour on Wednesday night which have been linked.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is currently holding her daily coronavirus briefing. Here are some of her main points.
The National Education Union, which represents almost half a million teachers and education workers, has called for greater support for supply teachers who play a vital role in schools.
Commenting before the chancellor’s briefing on support for self-employed workers during the Covid-19 crisis, Mary Bousted, NEU joint general secretary, said: “In these unsettling times it is imperative that the government gives support to those who need it. Sadly, their response to the plight of self-employed workers in recent days has been far from adequate.
“There is currently a lack of clarity in existing guidance about whether the coronavirus job retention scheme applies to supply staff. Rishi Sunak has previously stated that all workers employed via PAYE are eligible for 80% cover up to a cap of £2,500 per month, but we believe this should be extended to the self-employed. The chancellor must be explicit on this point.
“Supply teachers, agency teaching assistants and others working in the education sector must have proper financial stability, on a genuine like-for-like with their PAYE counterparts.”
Here are the main points from today’s Downing Street lobby briefing.
Boris Johnson is now hoping to get 750,000 people to sign up for the NHS volunteer responders scheme, the prime minister’s spokesman revealed. (See 11.54am.)
Banks have received a formal warning from the government not to profiteer from the coronavirus crisis, the spokesman revealed. He said that under the business interruption loan scheme announced by the Treasury last week the government was covering the first 12 months of interest costs, he said. But banks also needed to play their part, he said. They should be ensuring that the benefits of the scheme were passed through to businesses and consumers, he said. He said the chancellor, the governor of the Bank of England and the head of the Financial Conduct Authority wrote to the major banks yesterday to emphasise this point. He went on:
The letter has been prompted by concerns that banks are charging excessive rates of interest.
The spokesman did not rule out reports that the government is planning to set up more emergency hospitals around the UK like the one being established in the ExCel centre in London. According to Sky News, around 10 more sites have been identified for these hospitals. Asked about these reports, the spokesman said:
The spokesman said that the ExCel hospital, NHS Nightingale, would have 500 beds available next week. Eventually it is due to have 4,000 beds available.
The spokesman defended the government’s decision to commit to buying 3.5m antibody tests even though their reliability is not yet proven. Asked to justify this, he said:
It is understood that the 3.5m tests do not all come from the same supplier.
The spokesman said that Dyson would only be paid for the 10,000 ventilators ordered by the government (see 9.25am) if they passed the required regulatory tests. He said that there had been an “overwhelming response” from firms offering to make ventilators and that the government was now testing “proof of concept” with a number of suppliers. He went on:
The spokesman dismissed suggestions that it was hard to understand why the government was not participating in the EU-wide procurement scheme for ventilators. Asked why the government was not doing this, he replied: “We are no longer members of the EU.” In fact, because the UK is in the post-Brexit transition period, the UK would have been able to participate. When it was put to him that people would find it hard to understand this decision, particularly in the light of the fact that the PM has called for international cooperation in the fight against coronavirus, the spokesman said: “I’m not sure that it is.” He also stressed that the UK was making its own efforts to procure ventilators. He said:
The spokesman confirmed that the way UK coronavirus deaths are recorded and made public is changing (see 11.07am), but he was unable to give details of how. He said Public Health England is moving to a different reporting time. Yesterday was “a cross-over day” in the way they were recording the numbers, he said. But he was unable to explain what would change.
The spokesman said the Home Office would be releasing later today details of the new powers being given to police to enforce the lockdown.
The spokesman said that workers worried that they would not be able to comply with the two-metre rule at work, if they were not working from home, should raise their concerns with their employer. And he said the government was also urging bosses to listen to the concerns of their staff.
The spokesman confirmed that the lockdown measures could be extended. He said:
The spokesman insisted that the government was still committed to doing 10,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of this week. On Wednesday there were 6,643, he said, up from 6,491 on Tuesday and 5,605 on Monday. On personal protective equipment, he said that more than 15m face masks had been delivered to the frontline in the last two days, as well as 24.6m gloves and 1.9m eye protectors yesterday.
The spokesman said Johnson’s call would take place at 12pm, and was scheduled to last for 90 minutes. Saudi Arabia would be chairing it, he said. He says Johnson thought international cooperation was essential. An announcement might be coming after the call.
The spokesman was unable to say if Johnson had any plans to work from Chequers during the Easter recess. For now he would be working from No 10, the spokesman said. In normal circumstances the PM does go to Chequers at Easter. But, with the government advising people not to travel to their second homes, such a move might look hypocritical.
The spokesman hinted that the PM might take part in the Clap for our Carers event planned for 8pm tonight. (See 11.28am.) Asked if he would, the spokesman said:
The spokesman confirmed that Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will hold this afternoon’s press conference. Johnson is not due to attend.
The spokesman said that the government’s daily press conferences would continue during the recess.
The Isle of Wight festival is the latest annual event to have been cancelled due to concerns about the spread of Covid-19.
The festival was scheduled to take place between 11 and 14 June in Newport, with performances expected from Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Duran Duran and the Chemical Brothers.
Childline has given more than 900 counselling sessions to children worried about coronavirus, with the majority taking place over the last week.
Almost two thirds – 597 – of sessions relating to the Covid-19 outbreak took place between March 16 and March 22, as school closures were announced.
Of these remote sessions, the service said more than 50 were with children whhose suicidal thoughts had been exacerbated by fears over the virus.
The government has given Childline staff and volunteers key worker status so they can continue to keep the service running throughout the outbreak.
The price farmers are getting for selling lamb has collapsed due to the coronavirus shutdown, according to the chief executive of the National Sheep Association.Phil Stocker said:The price farmers are getting for selling lamb has collapsed due to the coronavirus shutdown, according to the chief executive of the National Sheep Association.Phil Stocker said:
Half of UK food normally goes to out-of-home eating - restaurants, bars and canteens - with the other half sold to shoppers. Businesses are struggling to re-package trade products into retail products.“You have just pushed all of that [catering trade] into retail,” said Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union on Tuesday. “All of those supply chains, we absolutely have to make sure they are maintained and they are diverted into retail. Is is critical this happens this week.”Half of UK food normally goes to out-of-home eating - restaurants, bars and canteens - with the other half sold to shoppers. Businesses are struggling to re-package trade products into retail products.“You have just pushed all of that [catering trade] into retail,” said Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union on Tuesday. “All of those supply chains, we absolutely have to make sure they are maintained and they are diverted into retail. Is is critical this happens this week.”
Pest control technicians have warned of potential rat infestations due to the stockpiling and hoarding of food during the Covid-19 outbreak.Pest control technicians have warned of potential rat infestations due to the stockpiling and hoarding of food during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) said people buying huge quantities of perishable goods coupled with rubbish piling up due to missed bin collections could lead to the problem.The National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) said people buying huge quantities of perishable goods coupled with rubbish piling up due to missed bin collections could lead to the problem.
John Hope, the NPTA’s technical manager, appealed to the public to be more vigilant than usual to combat the risks posed by current circumstances.John Hope, the NPTA’s technical manager, appealed to the public to be more vigilant than usual to combat the risks posed by current circumstances.
He said “good housekeeping” was vital to combat the threat of pests such as rats, cockroaches, and houseflies. Hope told the PA news agency:He said “good housekeeping” was vital to combat the threat of pests such as rats, cockroaches, and houseflies. Hope told the PA news agency:
North Yorkshire Police has said it will use checkpoints to stop vehicles and ask drivers if their journey is essential during the lockdown.North Yorkshire Police has said it will use checkpoints to stop vehicles and ask drivers if their journey is essential during the lockdown.
Officers will ask motorists where they are going and why, and remind them of the message to stay at home.Officers will ask motorists where they are going and why, and remind them of the message to stay at home.
The force’s assistant chief constable, Mike Walker, said:The force’s assistant chief constable, Mike Walker, said:
Checkpoints will be not be signposted and could appear anywhere at any time, the force added.Checkpoints will be not be signposted and could appear anywhere at any time, the force added.
The Downing Street lobby briefing has just finished. Here are two of the top lines.The Downing Street lobby briefing has just finished. Here are two of the top lines.
Boris Johnson is now hoping to get 750,000 people to sign up for the NHS volunteer responders scheme. Some 560,000 people have expressed an interest already, the prime minister’s spokesman said. He went on:Boris Johnson is now hoping to get 750,000 people to sign up for the NHS volunteer responders scheme. Some 560,000 people have expressed an interest already, the prime minister’s spokesman said. He went on:
When Matt Hancock, the health secretary, announced the scheme on Tuesday, his target was to get 25,000 people to sign up.When Matt Hancock, the health secretary, announced the scheme on Tuesday, his target was to get 25,000 people to sign up.
Banks have received a formal warning from the government not to profiteer from the coronavirus crisis, No 10 revealed. The spokesman said that a letter has been sent to the banks from the chancellor, the governor of the Bank of England and the head of the Financial Conduct Authority saying that they will be monitored to ensure that benefits of the cheap loans being made available by the government do get passed on to businesses. The letter has been prompted by concerns that banks are charging excessive rates of interest.Banks have received a formal warning from the government not to profiteer from the coronavirus crisis, No 10 revealed. The spokesman said that a letter has been sent to the banks from the chancellor, the governor of the Bank of England and the head of the Financial Conduct Authority saying that they will be monitored to ensure that benefits of the cheap loans being made available by the government do get passed on to businesses. The letter has been prompted by concerns that banks are charging excessive rates of interest.
I will post a full summary of the briefing soon.I will post a full summary of the briefing soon.
More than 1,000 people have contacted MPs to raise concerns about being told to continue travelling into work despite the government’s plea for them to stay at home.More than 1,000 people have contacted MPs to raise concerns about being told to continue travelling into work despite the government’s plea for them to stay at home.
Office and call centre workers, TV engineers, and estate agents are among the workers who have replied to an appeal for information by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee (BEIS).Office and call centre workers, TV engineers, and estate agents are among the workers who have replied to an appeal for information by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee (BEIS).
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, who chairs the committee said:Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, who chairs the committee said:
While we await confirmation of the government’s plan to pay the self-employed whose incomes have collapsed during the virus outbreak, the Royal Society of Arts has run the numbers and thinks the chancellor’s widely trailed strategy is not as effective as it could be.Rishi Sunak, who has said working out a solution for the self-employed has been “extremely complicated”, is expected to offer the self-employed payments equivalent to 80% of their earnings over the last three years up to £30k. But the RSA thinks a temporary basic income of £1,500 initially to help manage immediate cashflow, followed by a weekly payment of £100 per week for three months would leave more people better off. It says:While we await confirmation of the government’s plan to pay the self-employed whose incomes have collapsed during the virus outbreak, the Royal Society of Arts has run the numbers and thinks the chancellor’s widely trailed strategy is not as effective as it could be.Rishi Sunak, who has said working out a solution for the self-employed has been “extremely complicated”, is expected to offer the self-employed payments equivalent to 80% of their earnings over the last three years up to £30k. But the RSA thinks a temporary basic income of £1,500 initially to help manage immediate cashflow, followed by a weekly payment of £100 per week for three months would leave more people better off. It says:
Anthony Painter, the thinktank’s chief research officer, added:Anthony Painter, the thinktank’s chief research officer, added:
Members of the public are being urged to take part in a national round of applause for NHS employees at 8pm this evening.Members of the public are being urged to take part in a national round of applause for NHS employees at 8pm this evening.
The Clap for our Carers campaign is trying to get as many people as possible to take part in the event from their gardens, front doors, balconies and windows to show their appreciation and support for health workers.The Clap for our Carers campaign is trying to get as many people as possible to take part in the event from their gardens, front doors, balconies and windows to show their appreciation and support for health workers.
A group of youths spat in the face of an RSPCA officer and shouted “have corona bitch”, as she tried to rescue a swan, the animal charity have said.A group of youths spat in the face of an RSPCA officer and shouted “have corona bitch”, as she tried to rescue a swan, the animal charity have said.
Leanne Honess-Heather was helping the bird, which had become tangled in a fishing line, when five teenagers – aged around 16 – approached her close to Rush Lyvars Fishing Lake in Hedon, Hull.Leanne Honess-Heather was helping the bird, which had become tangled in a fishing line, when five teenagers – aged around 16 – approached her close to Rush Lyvars Fishing Lake in Hedon, Hull.
Honess-Heather said she asked them to stand back before the “really upsetting” incident occurred.Honess-Heather said she asked them to stand back before the “really upsetting” incident occurred.
“They seemed to take offence to this, which led to two of the group spitting directly into my face, going in my mouth and eyes, as they yelled ‘have corona bitch’ at me,” she said.“They seemed to take offence to this, which led to two of the group spitting directly into my face, going in my mouth and eyes, as they yelled ‘have corona bitch’ at me,” she said.
“Like many other frontline services, most of my team are still out during this crisis, trying our best to continue to do our job, tending to, collecting and rescuing injured animals.”“Like many other frontline services, most of my team are still out during this crisis, trying our best to continue to do our job, tending to, collecting and rescuing injured animals.”
The swan, which had no long-term injuries after being cut free from the line, was released after being checked over by a vet.The swan, which had no long-term injuries after being cut free from the line, was released after being checked over by a vet.
The RSPCA is providing an emergency-only service to animals during the coronavirus pandemic.The RSPCA is providing an emergency-only service to animals during the coronavirus pandemic.
The NHS in Wales has issued around 3.5m extra pieces of PPE (personal protective equipment) to staff from its pandemic supplies, the chief executive of NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall, said. This includes face-masks, gloves and clothing.The NHS in Wales has issued around 3.5m extra pieces of PPE (personal protective equipment) to staff from its pandemic supplies, the chief executive of NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall, said. This includes face-masks, gloves and clothing.
Goodall told a press conference in Cardiff this had gone to hospitals, GP surgeries and social care workers.Goodall told a press conference in Cardiff this had gone to hospitals, GP surgeries and social care workers.
The Welsh chief medical officer, Dr Frank Atherton, said PPE was a “scarce resource” and added: “We can’t afford to misuse it.”The Welsh chief medical officer, Dr Frank Atherton, said PPE was a “scarce resource” and added: “We can’t afford to misuse it.”
Atherton said that from tomorrow 800 people a day in Wales would be tested for Covid-19. This would increase to 1,100 by next week and from 2,000-3,000 by the end of April.Atherton said that from tomorrow 800 people a day in Wales would be tested for Covid-19. This would increase to 1,100 by next week and from 2,000-3,000 by the end of April.
Atherton also restated that most people would get the virus. “The estimates were and still are that 80% of us will get the infection at some point,” he said.Atherton also restated that most people would get the virus. “The estimates were and still are that 80% of us will get the infection at some point,” he said.
The mayor of London’s press office has said early-morning tube use was down by another 13% on Thursday compared with yesterday, while early-morning bus usage in the capital was down by a further 8%.The mayor of London’s press office has said early-morning tube use was down by another 13% on Thursday compared with yesterday, while early-morning bus usage in the capital was down by a further 8%.
It added that compared with this time last year, tube passengers were down by a whopping 92%.It added that compared with this time last year, tube passengers were down by a whopping 92%.