The government faces increasing pressure to speed up coronavirus testing, with the UK experiencing its largest daily increase in deaths.
Some 2,352 patients infected with the virus died in hospital at 5 p.m. Tuesday – 563 in one day, the latest figures show.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the tests were “massively increasing” and that this was “the way through” of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, an important international climate meeting, COP26, is the last event to be postponed due to the virus.
Discussions on the climate were to take place at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow in November – which is becoming a temporary field hospital to treat patients with coronavirus.
The United Nations climate agency, the UNFCCC and the British government have said the summit will be postponed until 2021.
In a video message posted on Twitter, the Prime Minister said Wednesday was “a sad, sad day” due to the high death toll in the UK.
Johnson, who isolates himself on Downing Street after contracting the virus, also reiterated the government’s commitment to “speed up” testing.
He said: “This is how we are going to unlock the coronavirus puzzle. This is how we will defeat him in the end. “
“Hundreds of thousands” of tests promised
The government has been pressured to increase screening for doctors so that those who needlessly isolate themselves can return to work.
More than 3,500 front line NHS workers in England and Wales have been tested for the virus since the start of the epidemic.
But Minister Michael Gove said a shortage of chemicals needed for testing meant that the NHS – which employs 1.2 million in England – could not filter all workers.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said the government was working with NHS England, Public Health England and other organizations to increase testing capacity with an additional network of laboratories and testing sites.
Dr. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said in a daily briefing on coronaviruses in Downing Street that there is currently a capacity of around 3000 tests per day for frontline NHS staff.
She said that “the intention” was to increase testing for front-line workers from “thousands to hundreds of thousands in the coming weeks”.
“Up-tick” in car trips
The World Health Organization has said the world is expected to reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths worldwide in the coming days.
Dr Doyle said the UK was not in “as serious” a position as Spain, the US or Italy, but added that there was “no reason to be complacent. “
She said that while the spread of the virus was most advanced in London, the Midlands were “obviously a concern” as well.
As of 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 152,979 people in the UK had been tested for the virus and 29,474 had been confirmed positive.
This includes 4,139 cases in the Midlands and 8,341 in London.
Dr. Doyle added that while the use of public transit has declined since the government imposed social distancing measures, an “increase” in the use of motor vehicles in the past 24 hours was “of slight concern” ” She urged members of the public to stay home to “protect the NHS”.
The number of questions about the lack of tests at the daily press conference was not surprising. The government has come under fire for failing to increase testing capacity more quickly.
Dr Doyle said she was confident that the UK would reach the target of 25,000 tests a day by the end of the month.
There is a long way to go – in the past 24 hours, barely 10,000 tests have been completed.
The lack of testing means that NHS staff have had to isolate themselves at home when family members have symptoms.
The news that there will be five driver service centers for staff will also be helpful.
But it was interesting to note that Dr. Doyle was also asked about the number of additional tests that can be increased in the long run.
If the number of cases decreases, testing will play a crucial role in facilitating locking.
The plan would be to contain the virus by quickly testing many people. This will require that the UK can test hundreds of thousands of people a day.
A doctor who has retired from his retirement to volunteer for the NHS has become the fourth British doctor to die from the virus, which causes Covid-19 disease.
Dr. Alfa Sa’adu, 68, volunteered at the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn when he contracted a coronavirus.
Her son Dani Saadu published online that his father died after “fighting the virus for two weeks”.
“My father was a living legend, worked for the NHS for almost 40 years, saving the lives of people here and in Africa,” he said.
BBC chief statistics officer Robert Cuffe said the latest increases in the number of patients dying with a coronavirus balanced with the below-average increases on Sunday and Monday.
- How to understand the number of deaths from coronaviruses
He said the number of new deaths was increasing at a slightly slower rate than at the start of the epidemic, “but if this continues, we expect to see nearly a thousand deaths a day this weekend.”
Downing Street said 390 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, alcohol wipes and aprons, have been delivered to NHS staff in the past two weeks.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said the government was working with a number of suppliers who had made offers of PPE or proposals to make more.
It follows criticism from some front-line workers about the lack of protective equipment, with staff at an Essex hospital warning that they could “limit services” to coronavirus patients “to the bare minimum” by fear for their own safety.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman also said the NHS would receive 30 new fans next week and promised that “hundreds” more would follow.
The NHS is said to have 8,175 fans and the government estimates that up to 30,000 fans may be needed during the height of the pandemic.
In other developments:
- Business secretary Alok Sharma has issued a harsh warning to banks after he feared that up to a million businesses could fall back because they could be denied emergency loans
- Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, wrote to House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to ensure that Parliament can function “virtually” in the event that social distancing measures remain effective April 21, when MPs plan to return to work.
- Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has become the fourth minister to isolate himself
- In the past 15 days, NHS 111 has responded to more than 1.7 million inquiries regarding symptoms of coronavirus.
Wimbledon has been canceled for the first time since World War II due to the pandemic
- All Champions League and Europa League matches have been suspended “until further notice” by Uefa
- The Edinburgh Festival, slated to take place in August, has also been canceled
- New research suggests that loss of smell or taste may be a sign that you have a coronavirus
- The DWP reports that there have been 950,000 new requests for universal credit since the close from mid-March to March 31 – the normal figure for a two-week period is 100,000
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