Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as UK ministers expected to back three-week lockdown extension

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Thursday, 16th April 2020, 8:05 am
Updated Thursday, 16th April 2020, 8:06 am

We will be providing live updates until 6pm this evening.

A sign in a bus shelter shows support for the NHS in Penarth, Wales (Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 16

Last updated: Thursday, 16 April, 2020, 17:18

Adivce for staying at home

It looks like we're on the brink of a lockdown extension. With that in mind here are some tips on staying at the home from the NHS:

Rishi Sunak celebrates Captain Tom Moore

UK have capacity to carry out 35,000 tests a day

Downing Street has said the UK now has the capacity to conduct 35,000 coronavirus tests a day - although fewer than half that number are currently being carried out.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said that in the 24 hours up to 9am on Wednesday, 15,994 tests were carried out across England, Scotland and Wales.

Of those, 13,950 were carried out by NHS England, Public Health England and the devolved administrations.

A further 2,040 were conducted at drive-through sites for NHS staff and their families.

Total testing capacity includes 20,771 in public facilities and a further 14,300 through commercial testing facilities.

"We have been very clear that where there is spare capacity available that should be used on NHS staff, on their families, and in social care," the spokesman said.

740 new deaths in England

NHS England has announced 740 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 12,396.

Of the 740 new deaths announced today:

- 151 occurred on April 15

- 314 occurred on April 14

- 122 occurred on April 13

861 new deaths in the UK

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty revealed that a rise was expected today due to a delay in retrieving data over the Easter weekend.

Scottish poet laureate pays tribute to NHS workers

WHO Director Genral praises Captain Tom Moore

5,000 volunteers for treatment trial

Professor Chris Whitty has provided an update on recruitment for the government's treatment Recovery trial. 

He said: "So far, more than 5,000 people have been recruited to the RECOVERY trial, researching COVID-19 treatments. Thank you to all those who have volunteered, it will make a major difference to the treatment of future patients. "

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to speak at 5pm

Dominic Raab is to hold today's daily press briefing at 5pm. 

It is expected that the First Secretary of State, who is currently deputising for the Prime Minister, will extend the country's lockdown measures.

He will be joined by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

Lockdown extended for three weeks

Dominic Raab is to holding today's daily press briefing. 

He says that we don't have the rate of infection low enough. 

He says the lifting of lockdown now would risk a second peak. 

"Early relaxation would do greater damage to the economy over a longer period". 

He says the current measures must remain in place for "at least the next three weeks". 

He says we need to see a sustained fall in deaths and greater evidence that the rate of infection is falling. 

He says there also needs to be better access to PPE. 

He reiterates that we can not risk a second peak. 

He is now saying that over time the government could loosen restrictions in some respect but strengthen them in others. 

He says it would be wrong to predict how this will look in the next few weeks. 

Raab: 'Light at the end of the tunnel'

He says that he understands the difficulties of lockdown. 

He says: "we get it it, we know it's tough going at this time." This struggle makes the government focus harder. 

He adds we've sacrificed too much to ease up now. 

He says there is light at he end of the tunnel, but we are at a delicate and dangerous stage of the pandemic. 

Sir Patrick Vallance is speaking now. 

He says that it is highly likely that 'r' is below 1, meaning on average an infected person will be infecting less than one other person on average. 

He says that in some areas we are seeing the number of people in hospital beds decreasing, or at least flattening. 

He add at the moment "we're in a good space" but any changes could lead to the 'r' going above one and lead to the growth of cases. 

Sir Patrick says that the deaths will remain at a plateau for a while yet.

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