LiveCoronavirus in UK live blog as it happened: lockdown measures likely to be extended according to cabinet minister

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

Thursday, 9th April 2020, 5:52 pm
Officials say that lockdown measures are likely to stay in place for a number of weeks (Photo: Shutterstock)
Officials say that lockdown measures are likely to stay in place for a number of weeks (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Coronavirus live blog, 9 April

Last updated: Thursday, 09 April, 2020, 14:52

Border force prioritising medical equipment

NHS has 10,000 ventilators available to patients

The NHS now has 10,000 ventilators available to NHS patients and another 1,500 on order, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

The Nightingale Hospital in Birmingham will open for patients on Friday, as expected, but will be formally opened next week, he added.

660 house parties reported by Greater Manchester police last weekend

Parties with DJs and bouncy castles were among the 660 house and street gatherings disrupted in Greater Manchester at the weekend. 

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins has warned that legislative measures will be used on those who break the rules over the Easter weekend.

Culture Secretary: lockdown extension 'likely'

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that an extension of lockdown measures is likely. 

He told BBC News “I don’t think it’s very likely these measures are going to be changed given they’re just starting to have an effect but, as we said, we would review them,” 

 “It’s only prudent that on an ongoing basis we review them after three weeks.”

Cobra meeting taking place today

The UK government is to hold an emergency Cobra meeting today to review lockdown measures.

First secretary of state Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will chair the meeting with key ministers and scientific advisers joining.

Those present will look at evidence from scientists on lockdown measures and the impact they’ve had on stemming the spread of coronavirus.

Public encouraged to show support for NHS with colour in posters

British artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin has designed a poster for adults and children to colour in a show of support for the NHS. 

You can downoad your copy of the poster here.

Spain records 683 more deaths

Spain's death toll has gone over 15,000 after 683 more deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours. 

The day before the country recorded 757 deaths.

Emily Maitlis' powerful opening monologue to BBC Newsnight

In case you missed it, Emily Maitlis received widespread praise for her frank assessment of the potential social impact of the coronavirus pandemic last night.

Watch it in full below.

BBC Proms still hoping to go ahead

The BBC has said it is “still hoping the Proms will be a part of the summer this year”, although the festival will be adapted from what was originally planned.

An announcement of the event has been delayed due to the current situation, and publication of the Official Proms Guide and tickets now will not be going on sale on 16 May.

The BBC said it is closely following the government and public health guidance, and will issue an update on its plans for the 125th anniversary season by the end of May.

UK could get 100,000 tests per day by May

US-based firm Thermo Fisher Scientific said it could get the UK its target of 100,000 tests per day by the end of this month.

The company will initially produce antigen tests, which include a swab that tells people whether they currently have the virus.

Mark Stevenson, chief operating officer at the firm, said the 100,000 target was possible and that production was not affected by any global shortage of reagents.

He said: "This is actually our expertise, so we're bringing both the reagents, the chemicals and also our scientific expertise to help the UK.

"The challenge has really been making sure we have the lab capacity built up.

"And so that's what the UK Government has been building out, these three new centres and hubs. But we have the capacity to supply those labs with the necessary reagents, and tests for those kits."

‘Not the time to give up lockdown measures’

Culture Secretary Oliver Downden has warned that now is not the time to give up the lockdown measures, as the public are urged not to venture out over the Easter bank holiday.

Mr Downden said progress is now beginning to be made and the infection curve is starting to flatten, thanks to the social distancing measures put in place.

He told Sky News: “This is the moment we need to stick to the path we’ve chosen.

"The British people have really come behind this, we shouldn't be giving up this Easter weekend, that is the number one thing."

John Lewis to deliver care packages for NHS staff

John Lewis has teamed up with the British Medical Association (BMA) to deliver care packages to frontline NHS staff at some of the UK’s busiest hospitals.

The ‘refuel and refresh’ boxes are intended for staff working in high pressure clinical areas, such as intensive care, and include 60,000 items in total.

The care packages have been put together based on advice from the BMA and comprise deodorant, shaving foam, hand cream antibacterial hand gel and lip balm, along with snack food, tea, coffee and socks.

The packages will first be delivered to the Nightingale London and major London NHS trusts, followed by distribution to other acute hospitals across the UK.

PM doing “reasonably well”

The Prime Minister is said to be doing “reasonably well” after spending a third night in intensive care.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden gave an update on Boris Johnson’s health on BBC Radio 4’s Today programmes, stating he is now in a stable condition, and was sat up and engaging with medical staff.

Asked whether Mr Johnson will be able to make a decision himself on the lockdown next week, he said: "We have a well-established mechanism for the first minister Dominic Raab to take the Prime Minister's place in chairing such meetings, he will chair Cobra and he will chair the relevant decisions.  

“This is just about going through a proper process, that's why we're waiting for next week."

Officials expect lockdown measures to remain in place for 'a number of weeks'

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, and Wales' health minister, Vaughan Gething, have both said that they believe the UK's current lockdown measures will stay in place for some time.

Mr Dowden told Sky News, "We are beginning to make progress on this, we've not seen the acceleration you would have expected had we not introduced this, the curve is beginning to flatten. This is the moment that we need to stick to the path we've chosen.

"The British people have really come behind this, we shouldn't be giving up this Easter weekend, that is the number one thing."

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Gething agreed, "With the scientific group on emergency advising all four governments across the UK, there is virtually zero prospect of their advice being that it is safe and appropriate to remove lockdown measures now."

Raab to chair Cobra meeting this afternoon

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, will deputise for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently hospitalised, this afternoon (Thu 9 Apr). Mr Raab will chair an emergency Cobra committee to discuss the lockdown measures with leaders of the devolved nations.

However, no decision is expected to be made in the Prime Minister's absence. Instead, those present are likely to discuss whether to ease or strengthen the lockdown measures currently in place.

With Wednesday seeing a rise of 938 in the number of deaths in hospitals of patients who tested positive for Covid-19, the highest new total so far - and the Prime Minister still in hospital - there seems little chance of the lockdown being lifted

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