Coronavirus live blog as it happened: latest as 405,000 volunteers sign up to help NHS

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

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 7:09 pm

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A motorway sign on the M8 advising on essential travel only (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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We will be providing live updates until 7pm this evening.

Coronavirus live blog, March 25

Last updated: Wednesday, 25 March, 2020, 16:43

  • Global cases exceed 400,000 as deaths approach 20,000
  • WHO warns that the pandemic is "accelerating", and the US could become the next hotspot
  • Parliament expected to adjourn early for Easter once emergency coronavirus legislation has been approved

SNP MSP questions why Prince Charles was tested

An SNP MSP has questioned how the Prince of Wales was able to receive a test for coronavirus.

Joan McAlpine, MSP for South Scotland, tweeted that she wished Charles a speedy recovery but added: "Given that his symptoms are said to be mild, like many I wonder how he was tested when many NHS and social care workers cannot get tested.

"My nephew, who has serious asthma and a chest infection was recently refused a test."

Antibody tests for frontline NHS staff initially

The deputy chief medical officer has said that antibody tests will "initially" be available for frontline healthcare staff.

Dr Jenny Harries told a Mumsnet webchat that this is "so we can manage patients and vulnerable people safely and keep our NHS and care systems running".

"But we will be able to roll out to other people after that," she added.

The antibody tests can help to establish whether someone has recovered from coronavirus.

Deputy CMO: peak in two or three weeks

When asked when she expected the peak of the virus to hit, Dr Jenny Harries said: "What we hope is that in about two to three weeks, if people have continued to do as we have asked and cut down their social interactions, we would start to see a change in the slope of the graph.

"That means the peak will be pushed forward but the height of it will be lower and we can manage all those who need hospital and healthcare safely through our NHS."

Five more deaths in Wales

There have been 150 new positive cases of coronavirus in Wales, with five further deaths reported, Public Health Wales said.

Dr Robin Howe, incident director for the novel coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: "150 new cases have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 628, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.

"Five further deaths have been reported to us of people who had tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), taking the number of deaths in Wales to 22.

"We offer our condolences to the family and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality."

Boris Johnson addressing the House of Commons

Boris Johnson said the current state of lockdown in the UK was designed to protect NHS staff on the front line of battling the coronavirus outbreak.

His comments came in answer to a question from Suzanne Webb MP (Stourbridge) in an hour-long session of Prime Minister's Questions.

The Prime Minister said: "I fully echo her tribute to our amazing NHS workers and it is in order to protect them and help them that we are taking the extraordinary measures that this country is.

"I repeat my advice to the nation which is to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives."

Jeremy Corbyn quizzes Johnson on plans to help care workers

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "There are reports that care home workers are being turned away from supermarkets in relation to priority shopping, not being allowed to buy more than certain items that they desperately need to feed their residents.

"What is the Prime Minister's plan for making sure that care workers can get the vital food and supplies they need for the people that they're caring for?"

Mr Johnson responded: "As the House can imagine, we've been in regular contact with all the retailers, all the supermarket chains. I had a conversation with all of them a couple of days ago and they were absolutely determined to ensure that key workers do get time in supermarkets.

"If there is a particular problem, I will raise it with them again."

Corbyn: Safety of cleaners forgotten

Mr Corbyn asked about the safety of cleaners, who he said were often a "forgotten group" in society.

He also called for clarity on why the Government had not sought to buy testing kits earlier, after a leaked letter showed the PM had written to UK laboratories on Sunday.

Mr Johnson said: "I agree with him very much on what he said about cleaners.

"They are doing an extraordinary job and they deserve all the protection and support we can give them in this difficult time.

"And on testing, he is quite right that testing is vital in our success at beating the coronavirus and, as the Health Secretary has said many times, we are massively increasing our testing campaign, going up from 5,000 to 10,000 to 25,000 a day.

"In answer directly to his question, this has been a priority for the Government ever since the crisis was obviously upon us - for weeks and weeks."

Scottish death toll up to 22

The Scottish First Minister is holding her daily press briefing. 

She says that the death toll in Scotland has risen to 22 and 51 patients are currently being treated in intensive care units.

Government will come down like a tonne of bricks on anyone profiteering

Limit microwave use to improve wifi

People should avoid using their microwave at the same time as their wifi in order to get better internet speeds, media regulator Ofcom has said.

New guidance on wifi has been published as millions live and work in lockdown at home because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Internet service providers have reported a surge in network traffic following school closures and workers being told to stay at home unless essential, but have maintained they can handle any increases.

Chancellor to outline support measures for self-employed on Thursday

The Chancellor will set out measures to support self-employed workers hit by the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, Downing Street has confirmed.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told journalists during an afternoon conference call: "We are expecting to be able to set out the details tomorrow."

Full details of the announcement will be revealed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who will be taking questions from the media.

The Number 10 spokesman re-iterated the Chancellor's words from Tuesday when he said the scheme would be "fair to the British workforce".

Home testing kits to be available in days

Home testing kits are to be made available to health workers and people self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus 'within day' according to Public Health England. 

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service, Public Health England (PHE) told the Science and Technology Committee that 3.5 million tests had been bought and would be available in the "near future".

She said the tests would also allow key workers - like doctors and nurses - to go back to work if they have developed antibodies.

Prof Peacock explained a small number of tests would be tested in a laboratory before being distributed via Amazon and in places like Boots.

Prince Charles fulfilled criteria to be tested

A Scottish Government spokesman has issued a brief statement on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland on the state of health of Prince Charles and wife Camilla, who use their titles the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland.

He said: "Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, has confirmed that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay fulfilled criteria to be tested for Covid-19 for clinical reasons.

"She is very pleased to confirm that both remain in good health."

Manchester and Liverpool homeless to be housed in hotels

Rough sleepers in Manchester and Liverpool are set to be provided with accommodation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Leaders in both cities announced plans on Wednesday to provide rooms for homeless people.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: "A package has been released today of £5 million that will pay for 1,000 rooms across Greater Manchester accommodating people who are in need of support.

"We currently have 625 rooms allocated and we have 375 that will be procured in the next 48 hours."

Radio 1 to cut number of presenters

BBC Radio One will make daytime shows longer to ensure fewer presenters are required in the studio throughout the course of the day during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new schedule will come into effect from March 30 and will remain under review for the foreseeable future, the BBC said.

Aled Haydn Jones, head of programmes at Radio One, said: "In these testing times I've made the decision to simplify our schedule to ensure the health of our teams, presenters and the network itself.

"I'm very proud of how the Radio One teams have been able to continue to entertain and inform our audience under such difficult conditions, and we'll be doing our best to carry on throughout the challenging weeks ahead."

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