Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as UK vaccine to be trialled on patients from Thursday

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

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 9:09 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 5:14 pm

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

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Homemade pompoms showing support for the NHS (Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 21

Last updated: Tuesday, 21 April, 2020, 17:48

Boris Johnson to speak with US president

Boris Johnson will speak to US President Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon, Number 10 has said.

The Prime Minister will also have a telephone audience with the Queen later this week.

His spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "(Mr Johnson) is continuing his recovery at Chequers and isn't formally doing Government work.

"As we discussed yesterday, he has been receiving updates from Number 10 on the coronavirus response and has spoken with the First Secretary of State and senior members of his team.

"Yesterday he sent a message of condolence to Justin Trudeau after the very sad loss of life in the shooting in Canada.

"Later today, at around about 2pm, he will be speaking with President Trump."

778 more deaths in England

NHS England has announced 778 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 15,607.

Face mask usage discussed by Sage

Number 10 have confirmed that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) would discuss the public use of face masks at its meeting on Tuesday.

The PM's spokesman said: "Face masks are being discussed by Sage today. They have been looking at further evidence relating to the effectiveness of masks in preventing transmission of the disease.

"Once Sage outlines the scientific evidence, advice will be given to ministers."

Matt Hancock will take today's daily press briefing at 5pm. 

He will be joined by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam and Professor John Newton.

UK death toll up by 828

Government stand by 100,000 tests a month claim

The Government is doing its "very best" to hit the 100,000-a-day coronavirus testing target set by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a minister has said.

Local government minister Simon Clarke admitted reaching the target - set for the end of this month - was a huge challenge but suggested the Government was still on track.

A gulf has opened up between the number of frontline workers being tested to see whether they have Covid-19 and testing capacity within the system.

Latest official figures show just 19,316 tests were carried out in the 24 hours to 9am on Monday, while the most recent total testing capacity is 36,000.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Clarke said the UK was seeing "exponential growth" in terms of testing capabilities.

Testing in Europe breakdown

Matt Hancock is hosting the daily press briefing. 

He says there are close to 3,000 spare beds for coronavirus patients. 

On PPE he says the UK have delivered a billion items of PPE. 

He says the government have a diverse range of suppliers and thanks companies who have come forward offering to produce PPE. Can't work with everyone for scale reasons.

He says the UK are working with 159 manufacturers. 

On vaccines Hancock says the UK is at the forefront of the global effort. 

Two of the leading vaccine developments are taking place at Oxford and Imperial College. 

£22.5m being made available to Imperial project. 

£20m being made available to Oxford for clinical trials. 

The vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from Thursday.

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