Germany's coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

Germany’s coronavirus death toll tops 1,000 with 145 more fatalities, as number of cases hits nearly 80,000

  • Germany’s 145 latest deaths bring the country’s death toll from 872 to 1,017 
  • The total infection count rose by 6,174, taking the tally from 73,522 to 79,696 
  • Mortality rate of 1.3 per cent is still low but has more than doubled in a week 

Germany’s death toll from coronavirus broke through 1,000 today while the number of infections reached nearly 80,000. 

The Robert Koch Institute announced another 145 deaths in its latest figures this morning, a similar jump to yesterday’s 140 and Wednesday’s 149. 

It brings Germany’s death toll from 872 to 1,017, with a mortality rate of 1.3 per cent of cases – a figure which is still low but is rising relentlessly. 

The total infection count rose by 6,174, marginally higher than yesterday, taking the tally from 73,522 to 79,696. 

German medics wearing masks and protective suits take care of a French patient who was flown to a small airport near Nordhausen in eastern Germany yesterday 

The latest figures show that 592 of the 1,017 deaths have come in the two southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg which are closest to Italy. 

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, has recorded more than 3,000 virus cases by itself, although only five deaths. 

There are also 3,200 cases in Berlin and nearly 2,600 in Hamburg, official figures show. 

The fatality rate of 1.3 per cent, or one death per 77 cases, is lower than that in Italy (12.1 per cent), Britain (8.7 per cent), France (7.6 per cent) or Spain (9.1 per cent). 

The low rate is thought to be linked to mass testing, meaning that many people with mild symptoms are added to Germany’s tally but missed elsewhere.  

However, the German rate has been ticking up daily for more than two weeks, and is up from 0.6 per cent just a week ago.  

The head of the German hospital federation said yesterday that medical centres had increased their number of intensive care beds to 40,000. 

Gerald Gass told the Rheinische Post that 30,000 of the beds are equipped with ventilators. 

Berlin has urged hospitals to double their capacity to as much as 56,000 to deal with a potential surge.  

Germany has also taken in more than 100 seriously ill patients from other EU nations, gaining experience in handling virus cases.  

Medical workers wearing masks pull a trolley outside a hospital in Bonn, where the discovery of a wartime bomb yesterday did not help matters 

Authorities have ordered most shops shut, schools closed and imposed a ban on public gatherings of more than two people up to April 19 at the earliest.

Airline giant Lufthansa has placed 87,000 workers – more than half its workforce – on a government-backed shorter hours scheme.   

Among the group’s 135,000 employees, cabin crew, ground crew and for the first time ever pilots are all affected by the measure, a spokesman said.

Some 62,000 of the employees affected are in Germany, doubling the number given on Friday of those who would work shorter hours until September.

As well as the Lufthansa brand and its low-cost sibling Eurowings, the group includes smaller carriers such as Austrian, Brussels Airlines and Swiss.   

Around 700 of Lufthansa’s 763 aircraft are parked following huge reductions in its flight operations, and its seat capacity is just five per cent of its usual schedule.

The group said yesterday that the unprecedented reductions in its flight plan would be extended from April 19 to at least May 3.

Nurses take care of a coronavirus patient on an isolation ward at Essen’s university hospital in western Germany earlier this week 

Chief executive Carsten Spohr last month warned that ‘the longer this crisis lasts, the more likely it is that the future of aviation cannot be guaranteed without state aid.’

The group’s flight plan has been slashed to levels not seen since the 1950s, Spohr said.

German state-owned investment bank KfW says it has received requests for more than €10billion (£8.7billion) in loans. 

The bank says it could issue at least €50billion (£44billion) to ease the impact of the economic standstill.  

‘A huge wave’ of requests is likely to follow next week now the bank’s IT systems are fully set up to deal with the lending scheme, KfW president Guenther Braeunig said. 

Some 2,500 requests have already arrived, and ‘at least 50 billion euros, maybe 100 billion’ in loans are likely in the coming weeks, Braeunig said.

The bank issued €77billion (£67billion) of guaranteed credit over the whole of 2019, a comparatively normal economic year.    

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Trump reveals he’s tested negative for coronavirus again after trying new 15-minute test that was ‘much more pleasant’ – The Sun

DONALD Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus a second time after using a new rapid test kit he says is "easier" and "more pleasant" than one taken at a hospital.

The president revealed he was re-tested for COVID-19 with a 15-minute test that he described as "much more pleasant" compared to his first, which was administered professionally.


"I think I took it really out of curiosity to see how quickly it worked and fast it worked," he said at Thursday's coronavirus task force press conference at the White House.

"And it's a lot easier. I've done them both. And the second one is much more pleasant."

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham released a memo on the procedure to reporters without mentioning a reason for the medical examination.

"This morning, the President was tested again for COVID-19, utilizing a new, rapid point-of-care test capability," the memo said.

"He is healthy and without symptoms.

"Sample collection took just one minute, and results were reported back in 15 minutes.

"The President tested negative for COVID-19."



Trump was first tested for the coronavirus last month after physical contact with congressmen who were exposed to the virus at the Conservative Political Action Conference in late February.

He also came in contact with the disease earlier this month after hosting an event with infected Brazilian officials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

During the glitzy event, Trump sat beside Fabio Wajngarten, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's communications director, who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bolsonaro claimed he tested negative for the virus, despite his son's claim that his father was infected.



Although several states – including Washington D.C. – have ordered non-essential workers to stay home, the president routinely interacts with officials on the frontlines of the crisis.

The virus has infected more than 236,300 Americans nationwide and has killed over 5,800.


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Scientist casts doubt on how coronavirus is spread

Leading scientist casts doubt on how coronavirus is spread as team of experts prepares to head to ‘Germany’s Wuhan’ where they hope to unlock vital secrets about the bug

  • Prof Hendrik Streeck has said Covid-19 might not be spread as easily as thought
  • Researchers to head to the small village of Heinsberg, next to the Dutch border 
  • The research trip led by Prof Streeck will see 1,000 people in the area tested

A leading scientist has cast doubts on how the coronavirus is spreading across the globe as a team of experts prepare to head out to a village that has been dubbed ‘Germany’s Wuhan’, where they hope to unlock vital information about the bug.

Prof Hendrik Streeck, director of the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital in Bonnhas, said Covid-19 might not be spread as easily as people first believed.

Research conducted by Prof Streeck in one of Germany’s worst-hit regions showed that the home of one infected family did not have ‘any live virus on the service’, adding even more questions as to how the virus is spread from person to person.

The small village of Heinsberg, next to the Dutch border, is Germany’s worst-hit area and is home to the country’s most serious Covid-19 outbreak.

Prof Hendrik Streeck (pictured above) has said Covid-19 might not be spread as easily as people first believed

A view of an empty street of Heinsberg, in which the highest number of people affected by coronavirus in Germany 

Across Germany as a whole there have been 84,788 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,107 deaths.

The area of Heinsberg is estimated to have around 1,302 confirmed cases and has had 37 deaths in a population of around 250,000.

Prof Streeck said the virus had not even been found on door knobs or animal fur. 

He told German TV that there had been ‘no proven infections while shopping or at the hairdressers’.

It comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned measures may have to be tightened in the UK as many continue to flout social distancing guidelines, but Prof Streeck stressed there were still unknowns about how it is actually spreading.

‘The virus spreads in other places: the party in Ischgl, the club in Berlin, the football game in Bergamo.

‘We know it’s not a smear infection that is transmitted by touching objects, but that close dancing and exuberant celebrations have led to infections.’

He said Germany’s patient zero had only infected her colleagues and not other guests or diners at the hotel she had been staying at.

The area of Heinsberg (pictured above) was quickly shut down after cases of the virus were confirmed 

Coronavirus cases hit ONE MILLION worldwide as pandemic explodes in the United States and death tolls continue to rise in UK, Italy and Spain

By James Gant for MailOnline

Global coronavirus cases have soared past one million as the pandemic explodes in the US and the death tolls continue to climb in Italy and Spain, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The deadly virus has killed more than 51,000 across the world, with the largest number of deaths in Italy, followed by Spain and the US.

The first 100,000 cases were reported in around 55 days, the first 500,000 in 76 days, and they doubled to one million within the past eight days.

Total cases reported by Thursday grew 10 per cent from a day earlier, the first time the rate has hit double digits since the virus took hold outside China.

There are 117 countries and territories that have reported over 100 cases, 50 with outbreaks of over 1,000 and seven that have reported 50,000 or more COVID-19 cases, mainly in Europe.

The global fatality rate is now over 5 per cent of all reported cases, with countries including the UK, the US and Spain reporting a spike in fatalities over recent days.

Around 22 per cent of total cases have been reported by the US, while Italy and Spain have each reported 11 per cent of global cases.

 

According to The Times a team of 40 research will now spend time in the Heinsberg in order to work out how the virus spreads and how people can become infected without knowing.

It could also shed light on how the disease could be slowed and its results could be instrumental in stopping the spread of the disease worldwide.

The chief minister of the surrounding state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet told The Times that the research trip will discover ‘which of the steps we have taken and our deep intrusions into the lives of our citizens remain scientifically meaningful, and which aren’t’.

When the outbreak was first discovered in the area many people were shunned and those entering other parts of Germany and the Netherlands with HL number plates were not welcome.

The research trip led by Prof Streeck will see 1,000 people in the area tested for the virus.

This will be instrumental and if it emerges that more people are carrying the disease without showing any symptoms, then governments have a huge task on their hands when it comes to preventing the spread.

But at the beginning of the outbreak the spread was containing due to the fact that the local council acted swiftly in putting restrictions upon residents.

On February 15 many gathered for Langbröker Dicke Flaa carnival in the villages of Langbroich and Harzelt.

It is at these festivals that many people are thought to have contracted the illness. 

Ten days after the carnival a couple in their forties who had attended were struck with respiratory issues. 

Within forty minutes of the news the local council set up a crisis team in order to put restrictions in place and control the spread. 

It was also revealed today that hundreds of NHS workers’ coronavirus swabs have reportedly been flown to Germany because the results are coming back in half the time. 

Samples passed to Public Health England are believed to be taking up to four days to process but those on the Continent can come back in just two.

Northampton General Hospital is understood to have exported 400 samples to Eurofins Biomnis on Monday and had the results on Wednesday.

Northamptonshire Healthcare and Kettering General Hospital were also said to have been asked to join the scheme.

It comes as an estimated 75 NHS workers were swabbed for the bug at a make-shift testing facility at Chessington, Surrey, yesterday before it closed for lunch.

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I’ve got a sore throat and earache – should I worry? Dr Hilary answers your coronavirus questions – The Sun

AS we come to the end of our second week in lockdown, many of you may be struggling with being cut off from the outside world. It can be hard knowing how best to protect yourself and your loved ones against coronavirus as it continues to spread.

But Dr Hilary Jones – Health Editor for ITV’s Good Morning Britain – is here to answer YOUR concerns. We have already received more than 9,000 questions so far. Emma Pietras brings you the much-respected doctor’s answers to your dilemmas on how to help care for loved ones and look after your own health.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates


Q. I keep getting a sore throat and earache. I’ve had breast cancer. Should I worry?

A. These symptoms are very common with the normal types of cold and flu viruses and are not typical of the symptoms of Covid-19.

Even though you have had breast cancer, there is no reason to believe your immune system is not now as strong as anybody else’s.

Take paracetamol and throat lozenges — and try not to worry too much.

Q. I have been self-isolating for ten days. If I still have a weird taste in my mouth and a sore throat, do I need to be concerned about going out next week, when my 14 days of self-isolation are over?

A. You should continue to self- isolate.

Guidance says that if you feel well but only have a cough after 14 days, you can safely resume normal activities.

But if you have ongoing symptoms, it would be sensible to extend your self-isolation.

Q. My daughter is 32 weeks pregnant and her father-in-law is in an induced coma after testing positive for coronavirus. Can she and her husband get tested? They don’t live with him but they have delivered food.

A. Unfortunately not.

Tests are in short supply and are reserved for patients in respiratory failure being admitted to hospital as well as for the healthcare professionals who are treating them.

The good news? There is no evidence that even if your daughter has been exposed to the virus that she would be more at risk than anyone else, or that the virus can be transmitted to the unborn baby.

Q. My daughter has psoriasis and she recently stopped taking her immunosuppressants on the advice of her dermatologist. Is it possible that she would get more severe coronavirus symptoms because of her overactive immune system and, if so, is she better off on immunosuppressants?

A. Your daughter is better off not taking immunosuppressants, as there is a theoretical risk this could reduce her response to the virus if she is exposed to it.

Her skin condition can be treated with alternative topical medications which will not render her more at risk of the virus than anyone else.

Q. I am having a kidney stone operation next week. Should I self-isolate for seven days when home?

A. No, you should not need to self-isolate.

If the op goes ahead, you will be kept well away from areas where Covid-19 patients are being treated.

So unless you develop symptoms, you do not need to self isolate.

Q. I had a stroke six years ago. Am I at a higher risk?

A. If you have made a full recovery, you are not more risk.

However, if you have any remaining disability which is affecting your breathing or mobility, you should take extra care, remain at home and practise physical distancing.

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Q. I am 65 and would like to go out on my bike. Can I sit on a public park bench for a breather and be safe?

A. Yes, you should certainly enjoy a bike ride, as we are encouraging people to take one form of exercise every day.

Avoid going out in groups with other people.

Relax on a public park bench but remember to use hand sanitiser afterwards and to wash your hands once you get back home.

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Casino is fined £13million over 'VIP' addicts

Casino where Wayne Rooney ‘lost £500,000 in a two-hour spree’ is fined £13million over ‘VIP’ addicts

  • Caesar’s Entertainment will pay £13m for failing to protect its ‘VIP’ customers 
  • Gambling Commission said three senior staff lost jobs over the ‘serious’ failings
  • Listed series of cases showing casino allowed vulnerable players to lose millions

The group which owns the casino where Wayne Rooney is said to have lost £500,000 in a two-hour spree has been handed the biggest fine in British gambling history. 

Caesar’s Entertainment, which runs eight UK casinos including at the Playboy Club in Mayfair, will pay £13m for failing to protect customers it designated as VIPs and prevent money laundering.

The industry’s regulator, the Gambling Commission, said three senior staff had lost their jobs over the ‘serious and systemic failings’.

It listed a string of individual cases between 2016 and 2018 showing Caesar’s casinos allowed vulnerable players to lose millions of pounds between them without adequate affordability or money laundering checks.

The group which owns the casino where Wayne Rooney is said to have lost £500,000 in a two-hour spree (pictured) has been handed the biggest fine in British gambling history 

In one shocking case, Caesar’s allowed a customer to deposit £3.5million and lose £1.6million in three months, without checking where the money was coming from.

A retired postman lost £15,000 in the space of a few weeks and a waitress was allowed to buy £87,000 of chips and lose £15,000.

The Commission said staff had failed to carry out adequate customer checks to see if they could afford their losses.

A self-employed nanny lost £18,000 despite telling staff she had no savings, while another customer was not questioned as they lost over £320,000 in dozens of five-hour gambling binges.

Another person was allowed to lose £240,000 despite taking official steps to exclude themselves from the casino, known as ‘self exclusion’.

Former England captain Wayne Rooney allegedly lost £500,000 in a two-hour spree after midnight at the firm’s Manchester 235 casino in 2017

Caesar’s Entertainment will pay £13m for failing to protect customers it designated as VIPs and prevent money laundering

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, said: ‘The failings in this case are extremely serious. A culture of putting customer safety at the heart of business decisions should be set from the very top of every company and Caesars failed to do this.’

Both land-based and online casinos have to check high-rolling customers can afford their losses, and the source of their funds to protect vulnerable players and prevent gambling being used to launder money.

Empire Casino, in Leicester Square, London, and the Playboy club are jewels in the crown of a firm widely considered to be the UK’s top high-end casino company.

Former England captain Wayne Rooney allegedly lost £500,000 in a two-hour spree after midnight at the firm’s Manchester 235 casino in 2017.

The £13m settlement will be put towards the Commission’s harm gambling addiction research and treatment programmes.

The £13m settlement will be put towards the Commission’s harm gambling addiction research and treatment programmes (Pictured: Wayne Rooney)

The record sanction is the latest in a string of big money fines as the Commission, which has been criticised for being ‘outgunned’ by gambling giants, attempts to crack down on bad behaviour at Britain’s biggest firms.

Since January, the Commission has suspended three operating licences, and handed out fines worth £27million including £3million for Mr Green, which is owned by William Hill.

It is the second time in three weeks the regulator has handed out a record penalty.

Online bookmaker Betway was forced to pay out £11.6million in March after a Daily Mail investigation revealed how it ‘groomed’ its most lucrative customers into spending more by classing them as ‘VIPs’.

There has been growing pressure from MPs and campaigners to ditch controversial VIP schemes, which reward casino’s biggest losers with large cash bonuses, a personal VIP host and free tickets to exclusive sporting events.

‘It’s vitally important that the lessons are factored into the work the industry is currently doing to address poor practices of VIP management,’ the Commission added yesterday.

Earlier this week bookmakers published proposals to ban under-25s from VIP schemes and applying stricter checks on players’ profiles before offering their VIP status.

Critics said the measures, which will now be reviewed by the Commission, failed to go far enough and that only an all-out ban could protect players. It is expected the first new measures around VIP customers will be implemented as early as this month.

The industry also said it planned to put technology in place online to prevent anyone under the age of 25 being targeted with adverts.

Recent research by Ipsos Mori and a consortium of five universities found that advertising had made gambling ‘part of everyday life’ for under-18s, who can not legally gamble.

Adam Bradford, director of the Safer Online Gambling Group, said: ‘This section of the industry has repeatedly expressed its pride at its safety measures and well-trained staff.

‘This is a clear case of exploitation. A small fine like this against the group’s multibillion-pound turnover really is a drop in the ocean and utterly ineffective from the commission.’

Caesars Entertainment UK acknowledged it had fallen short and said: ‘Since discovering, immediately addressing, and reporting deficiencies in 2018, we have enhanced our compliance policies and procedures, and are complying with the license conditions and commission’s guidance for best practice.’

The Mail has long campaigned for the gambling industry to face tighter regulation. The Government is currently reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act to ‘make it fit for the digital age’.

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Hate crimes listed as ‘other’ by NYPD spike amid coronavirus-related attacks

The city has coronavirus hate-crime fever, NYPD data shows.

Crime stats released Thursday show a spike in attacks against perceived carriers of the COVID-19 bug.

The data shows there have been 23 hate crimes against victim’s whose protected category is classified as “other” so far this year — a 475-percent increase from the 4 reported over the same period last year.

The crimes are categorized that way even though a majority of victims are Asian, officials said.

“Recent Coronavirus-related incidents fall under the anti-other category as there are two motivating factors behind these crimes,” the accompanying statement said. “The victim’s race (anti-Asian) and the perception that they have the Coronavirus (anti-disability).”

“Since the outbreak, the Hate Crime Task Force has investigated 11 cases where all the victims were Asian and targeted due to discrimination based on the Coronavirus pandemic,” the statement continues.

There have been no purely “anti-Asian” or “anti-disability” hate crimes reported in 2020, the NYPD says.

On Saturday, a trio of teens blamed a 51-year-old Asian woman for coronavirus as they attacked her aboard a city bus in The Bronx, cops said.

“You caused coronavirus b—-h!” one of the hateful kids shouted, as they hit her over the head with an umbrella.

Earlier last month, cops busted Raoul Ramos, 44, for repeatedly harassing and yelling anti-Asian slurs to a 47-year-old Asian man and his 10-year-old son as they were walking in the street in Queens.

To date, the NYPD investigated 11 incidents where the victims of the hate crimes were Asian and were targets for coronavirus discrimination, and seven people have been arrested and charged in connection to those hate-crimes ranging from aggravated harassment to assault.

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Professor John Newton is overseeing government coronavirus test vow

The man with the poisoned chalice: Prof John Newton will oversee the government’s plan to carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by end April

  • Professor John Newton has been appointed to increase UK coronavirus testing 
  • He will co-ordinate with businesses to expand manufacturing capacity in the UK 
  • Comes as Matt Hancock pledged to carry out 100,000 daily tests by end of April 

Professor John Newton, director of public health improvement for Public Health England, has been appointed by the government to try and hit ambitious new coronavirus testing targets. 

Speaking this afternoon at the daily government press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to carry out 100,000 tests every day by the end of the month. 

To meet these ambitious targets, and reverse criticism of UK testing, Professor Newton has been tasked with co-ordinating a national effort with global manufacturers to try and expand manufacturing capacity in the UK.

He will also be working with the NHS, universities and the government to raise UK testing capabilities as soon as possible.

Professor John Newton has been appointed by the government to try and hit ambitious new coronavirus testing targets

Stewards organise traffic at a Covid-19 test centre for NHS workers which has opened at Ikea’s store in Wembley, north-west London

The number of coronavirus tests being done in the UK has been rising but only to around 10,000 per day – and the number of people being tested is about half as high because individuals are tested more than once. The Government is a long way off its 25,000-per-day target

It is a daunting challenge, with the current 10,000 per day level of testing far below countries like Germany, which is carrying out up to 100,000 daily.

Professor Newton is the man given the poisoned chalice, after a decorated career in the health sector. 

In his role as Director of Health Improvement, he is responsible for advances in screening, alcohol, tobacco and drugs and diet and obesity.

TESTING OUTRAGE SPARKS GOVERNMENT BLAME GAME 

A brutal blame game is under way within government today over the failure to scale up the testing regime.

Fingers have been pointed at the government’s top health experts for holding back the use of wider testing facilities. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty has repeatedly stressed that ‘the only thing worse than no test is a bad test’. 

Prof Cosford said ‘everybody involved is frustrated’ about not reaching the required testing output.

‘We’ve played our part, which is to make absolutely certain that that test is spread throughout Public Health England’s laboratories, throughout NHS laboratories, is available to support the clinical treatment of patients who need it,’ he said. 

He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Our role has always been to – and I speak from Public Health England – make sure our labs are doing what they need to do and we’re rolling tests out to the NHS for clinical treatment of patients.

‘There is some capacity that is available within that in order to start testing NHS staff and that’s being done.

‘You’ve heard about the 2,000 yesterday – nowhere near where we need to get to but it’s a good start – and then there’s the drive-through systems that are beginning.’

Asked why other testing facilities were not being used, Prof Cosford said PHE is most closely involved in NHS testing before adding: ‘The second (strand) is how we can use all of those laboratories, all of that capacity, to boost up at least 100,000 tests a day, hopefully more.’ 

He was appointed to the role in October 2012 and is also the chairman of the WHO European Burden of Disease Network.

The former Regional Director of Public Health for NHS South Central, he was also Director of Research and Development in two large NHS teaching hospitals, Southampton and Oxford.

Professor Newton also served as the Chief Executive of the charity UK Biobank and led England’s contribution to the Global Burden of Disease project, a study into the impacts of diseases on the world. 

But his role in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic is sure to be his toughest yet. 

Speaking at today’s conference, he said swab tests were the most important priority for the NHS as antibody tests work best 28 days after an infection.

He said: ‘The initial priority of course is for the swab tests because those are tests which allow the NHS to manage critically ill patients to the best they possibly can and also to allow NHS staff and other key workers to come back to work when they can.

‘The antibody tests are ideally done 28 days after an infection, so in fact the requirement for the antibody test isn’t really with us yet.

‘So the urgent priority – both types of tests are important, both are urgent – but the most urgent is the swab tests so that we can treat patients better and get staff back to work.’

It comes after Downing Street said earlier: ‘We acknowledge that more needs to be done in relation to testing. We need to be testing more people and we need to be making progress very quickly.’ 

Emerging for the first time since being struck down by the disease himself, the Health Secretary told the press conference he ‘gets’ why there has been criticism as he abandoned the previous centralised approach and urged the wider science industry to help boost capacity.   

Defending the government’s response, a querulous and at times emotional Mr Hancock said that Public Health England had been ‘working round the clock’ and could be ‘proud’ of what it had done.

Taking the press briefing in No10 this evening after a week in isolation recovering from the virus, he listed five ‘pillars’ for the new strategy.

Swab tests at PHE labs will be increased dramatically to 25,000 a day; research institutions and private sector firms like Boots and Amazon will be brought into the screening system; antibody tests will be introduced if they can be proved effective; community testing will be bolstered; and the overall UK diagnostics industry will be enlarged.   

TESTING OUTRAGE SPARKS GOVERNMENT BLAME GAME 

A brutal blame game is under way within government today over the failure to scale up the testing regime.

Fingers have been pointed at the government’s top health experts for holding back the use of wider testing facilities. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty has repeatedly stressed that ‘the only thing worse than no test is a bad test’. 

Prof Cosford said ‘everybody involved is frustrated’ about not reaching the required testing output.

‘We’ve played our part, which is to make absolutely certain that that test is spread throughout Public Health England’s laboratories, throughout NHS laboratories, is available to support the clinical treatment of patients who need it,’ he said. 

He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Our role has always been to – and I speak from Public Health England – make sure our labs are doing what they need to do and we’re rolling tests out to the NHS for clinical treatment of patients.

‘There is some capacity that is available within that in order to start testing NHS staff and that’s being done.

‘You’ve heard about the 2,000 yesterday – nowhere near where we need to get to but it’s a good start – and then there’s the drive-through systems that are beginning.’

Asked why other testing facilities were not being used, Prof Cosford said PHE is most closely involved in NHS testing before adding: ‘The second (strand) is how we can use all of those laboratories, all of that capacity, to boost up at least 100,000 tests a day, hopefully more.’ 

Mr Hancock rejected comparisons with huge testing numbers in Germany, saying the UK was building from a ‘lower base’ when it came to biotech capacity.

He said some of the prototype tests he was being urged to buy had failed trials. One missed three out of four cases, he said.

But he admitted that even with his new ‘five point plan’ testing capacity will not hit 100,000 per day until the end of the month – by which point he guaranteed that all frontline NHS staff will have access to checks. 

He said the longer-term goal was to have capacity for 250,000 checks every day. 

That numbers will include any antibody tests – to show who previously had the virus – if they can be shown to be effective. 

‘Our ultimate goal is that anyone who needs a test can have one,’ he said.

‘The new national effort for testing will ensure that we can get tests for everyone who needs them and I am delighted that the pharmaceutical industry is rising to this challenge, putting unprecedented resources into testing,’ he said.

‘We took the right decisions at the rights times on the very best scientific advice.’ 

It comes as another 569 coronavirus deaths were declared in the UK today, meaning Britain’s death toll has quadrupled in six days with 2,921 confirmed victims of the deadly infection.

The rise makes today the worst day so far in the outbreak – which has crippled Britain since it began spreading on British soil in February. 

It is the third day in a row that a new one-day high in deaths has been recorded.

A further 4,244 people were diagnosed with the life-threatening infection in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number of positive tests to 33,718 – but officials are clueless about the true size of the outbreak.

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Global coronavirus cases to hit 1 million as deaths reach 50k, WHO warns – The Sun

GLOBAL coronavirus cases will hit one million as deaths hit 50,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning. 

Currently, there are officially 981,428 people across the globe who have tested positive for coronavirus – and the death toll stands at 50,255.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

However with the rate of infection as high as it is, WHO says there is no doubt the figures will continue to surge in the coming days.

And the health body shared their concern at the "near exponential" growth in the number of confirmed cases across the world, with 183 countries affected.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday, Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pointed out that the number of deaths had doubled in the last week alone.

He said: "As we enter the fourth month since the start of the pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection.


"Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new Covid-19 cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area.

"The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week.

"In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 50,000 deaths."

The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week

On Friday, WHO announced a large global trial, called SOLIDARITY, to test four different drugs or combinations against the new coronavirus.

The drugs include remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat Ebola, and lopinavir-ritonavir, which is normally used to treat HIV.

Dr Ghebreyesus said 74 countries had now joined the groundbreaking global trial, or were in the process of joining the trial.

Countries involved include Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland.

More than 200 patients have been randomly assigned to undergo the trial in a bid to find a vaccine.

Dr Ghebreyesus said the WHO’s priority was for frontline health workers to be able to access personal protective equipment (PPE), including medical masks and respirators.

His comments come as the NHS is under increasing pressure due to a lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) to treat coronavirus patients.

Earlier this week, an NHS boss told how he is “losing the will to live” after struggling to source protective equipment for staff, pleading: “God help us all.”

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Alan Hoskins, chief officer of the Health Care Supply Association, spoke of his fears as more medics warned of life-threatening shortages.

New clinical guidelines tell staff to wear a face mask, apron and gloves when coming within 1metre (3ft) of a potentially infected patient.

The stark advice applies to those offering general care but also those taking X-rays or blood samples, doing home visits and physios.

Even cleaners have been ordered to put on a mask when cleaning areas where diseased patients may have been.

The near-blanket use has seen the health service churn through personal protective equipment (PPE) at record rates.

'Losing the will to live'

Mr Hoskins, whose organisation represents NHS procurement staff, wrote on Twitter: “What a day, no gowns NHS Supply Chain.

"Rang every number escalated to NHS England, just got message back — no stock, can’t help, can send you a PPE pack. Losing the will to live, god help us all.”

Gowns are proving particularly hard to come by because they were not included in the national pandemic stockpile of PPE.

They are instead coming from supplies built up for use in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Health Service Journal reports.

Health minister Helen Whately said last week 170million items of PPE have been delivered to frontline workers.

But Doctors Association UK insists staff are still not receiving the kit or it is not being restocked quickly enough.

Some members have resorted to buying scrubs on Amazon or have asked friends to knit them protective gear.

Others have sourced their own from local suppliers, who claim their offers to supply the government were ignored.

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Dad-of-seven NHS worker, 57, who died of coronavirus had complained of ‘flimsy apron and no mask’ – The Sun

A NHS worker who died from coronavirus after catching the bug while treating a London patient complained to his wife of being given "a flimsy apron and no mask". 

Dad-of-seven Thomas Harvey, 57, had expressed concern about the lack of protective equipment for frontline workers, according to his family.

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Thomas was an experienced nurse, who had dedicated more than 20 years of his life to the NHS before his tragic death on Sunday 29 March.

Harvey's daughter Tamira says that he was "let down" and his death could have been prevented.

She told ITV News: "My dad was definitely let down.

"I don't feel that they're [NHS staff] safe at the moment, I don't think that they would think that they're safe.

"The Government could have prevented this."

And Harvey's son, also named Thomas, expressed anger that his father was unable to receive a test despite parademics being alerted when his condition worsened a week before his death.

Thomas Harvey Jr said: "He was very weak and was complaining about pains but they had told us that his case was mild so he wouldn't be taken into hospital for treatment.

"We were like 'If that's a mild case, then what's the worst case?'"

PAYING TRIBUTE

Mr. Harvey's friend and colleague Margaret Barron revealed on Tuesday that the police had to break down his door after he stopped responding while in self-isolation.

The NHS phlebotomist set up a GoFundMe fundraiser for Thomas's family as the Goodmayes Hospital worker was remembered as "devoted" to his NHS job.

She said: "Thomas was a devoted member of the NHS for over 20 years and loved his job to the fullest.

"He was a cherished colleague, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a best friend."

The page has already received thousands of donations for Thomas.

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'A HUGE LOSS'

North East London NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Professor Oliver Shanley OBE, said: “It is with deep regret that we share with you that we have sadly lost a dear and valued colleague who had COVID 19.

"Thomas Harvey, a healthcare assistant, sadly passed away at home on Sunday 29 March.

"This is a huge loss to both NELFT and the wider NHS. I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Thomas’s family, friends and work colleagues.

"We are ensuring they are supported through this difficult time and I would like to thank colleagues for the professionalism and compassion they have shown.”

The news comes after it was revealed today that just 2,000 of the NHS's 550,000 staff have been tested for coronavirus, with the government under increasing pressure to protect frontline health workers.

Thousands of doctors, GPs, nurses and paramedics are stuck in quarantine because they, or someone at at home, has symptoms.

Around 85 per cent could return to work if they knew they weren't carrying the virus.

The death toll due to the coronavirus rose to 2,961 today, with over 33,000 cases confirmed. 

And Boris Johnson has warned things will “get worse before they get better”.

The PM is also expected to write to Brits, telling them that further lockdown measures could be enforced if needed.


 

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'Healthy' mother of six-year-old twins dies of coronavirus

Mother, 48, of six-year-old twin boys dies of coronavirus three days after first showing symptoms despite having no underlying health conditions

  • A healthy mum of six-year-old twin boys has tragically lost her life to coronavirus
  • Caroline Saunby died on March 29 at the age of 48, three days after symptoms 
  • After collapsing at home she was rushed to a Middlesbrough hospital by air
  • Family members have paid tribute and warned of the severity of coronavirus 

A mother of six-year-old twin boys has tragically lost her life to coronavirus, succumbing to the deadly illness despite showing no underlying health conditions.

Caroline Saunby died on Sunday, March 29, at the age of 48, after initially falling ill and collapsing at home before being rushed to James Cook University hospital in Middlesborough by air.

The family of the victim have outlined how the symptoms worsened and Caroline soon struggled to breathe before later losing her battle with the sickness. 

Caroline Saunby, mother of six-year-old twin boys, has tragically lost her life to coronavirus, succumbing to the deadly illness after struggling to breath and being rushed to hospital

The 48-year-old tragically lost her life at James Cook University hospital in Middlesborough leaves behind her two twin sons Joseph and Elliot and grieving husband Vic (pictured)

She leaves behind her two twin sons Joseph and Elliot and grieving husband Vic.

Now her devastated twin sister Sarah Jarvis has spoken out in a bid to encourage others to take the coronavirus threat seriously and take all the precautions necessary as laid down by the government.

The message of Sarah and the family of ‘healthy’ mum who died days falling ill states Caroline ‘was full of life; the most amazing mum and wife.’ 

It is believed the 48-year-old, who had no prior health problems, noticed discomfort and fell ill on Thursday with suspected tonsillitis.

However her symptoms worsened over the weekend and she found herself battling sickness and struggling to breathe, before then collapsing at her family home. 

In a Facebook post, Caroline’s sister added: ‘Our lives have been ripped apart forever by this horrendous virus that people still are not taking seriously enough.

‘Caroline was 48, fit and healthy with no existing conditions and she was taken from us in four days. When will people start to take this as seriously as it needs to be?’

‘She was just the most kind, selfless generous loyal person you would ever meet.

‘Nothing was ever too much trouble; she couldn’t help being kind to all creatures and was loved by so many. 

‘My only solace is knowing that she achieved her biggest goals in life meeting the love of her life and getting married and having her beautiful boys.’

Sarah outlined the additional heartache now being suffered by the Saunby family, as they have to remain in isolation due to safety measures around virus are unable to mourn together as a result.

She added: ‘Every part of our family in lockdown and we can’t console Caroline’s boys or our parents or each other.

‘We can’t have a funeral to celebrate her life. This is our reality waiting to see if her husband will get ill.

‘Please listen to this and take this as a warning to us all what is happening right now.’

To ease the Saunby family of any financial worries during this difficult time, a fundraising page has been set up. So far, a staggering £14,000 has been raised in just two days.

Donations can be made on JustGiving, via this link. 

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