Coronavirus UK latest news as new test and trace plan begins

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock reveal the government's flagship policy is now test, track and trace as they prepare to launch a new mobile app.

The app will be to help provide a much better indication of who may or may not have the virus.

This was announced at new coronavirus deaths in UK hospitals increased by its lowest total in seven weeks.

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In the latest NHS update, there were just five deaths recorded across the region on Monday.

A total of 859 people who tested positive for the condition have sadly died in the city region.

The current total death figures for each Liverpool Trust are as follows:

  • Liverpool University Hospitals Teaching Trust – 325
  • Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Trust – 16
  • The Walton Centre NHS Trust – 6
  • Alder Hey Children's Hospital – 4 (all adults)
  • Mersey Care Mental Health NHS Trust – 3

The total number of coronavirus cases rose by 3,985 – taking the total to 190,584.

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Key Events

  • Coronavirus furlough scheme to be 'wound down' as costs are 'not sustainable'
  • US death toll 'could reach 3,000 a day'
  • New coronavirus testing site opens in Skelmersdale

Charlotte Hadfield

New car market suffers "worst performance in living memory"

The new car market suffered its "worst performance in living memory" with a 97% fall in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, the motor industry has said.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that only 4,321 new cars were registered last month, some 156,743 fewer than in April 2019.

The coronavirus lockdown has led to car showrooms being closed and many potential customers being housebound.

Charlotte Hadfield

Headteachers say low staff numbers and lack of PPE could make it hard to reopen schools

The majority of headteachers say reduced staff numbers, an inability to implement social distancing measures and a lack of PPE could make it hard for schools to reopen to more pupils.

Heads say the government should improve its guidance on social distancing, and provide the scientific evidence for pupils returning to class, as "prerequisites" to schools reopening.

Parents will not have the confidence to send their children back to class if schools are not given enough time to prepare, the leader of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has warned.

More than one in four (29%) of heads do not believe it will be possible to achieve some form of social distancing in primary schools, according to a survey shared with the PA news agency.

The poll by NAHT suggests that fewer than one in 10 (9%) think it will be achievable with children aged seven and under.

The survey, of more than 7,300 school leaders, comes amid speculation that schools could be asked to reopen their doors to more pupils before the summer holidays.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to deliver a "comprehensive plan" this week on how the UK lockdown may be eased and suggested that he would set out efforts to get children back to school.

On Sunday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said schools in Wales could be allowed to reopen their doors from the start of June in a phased approach.

The survey found that 82% of school leaders said they could prepare for a reopening within three weeks, but 11% said they would need longer.

One in four headteachers, questioned last week, said that fewer than 50% of their staff were currently available to attend school as they were at risk, shielding or had caring responsibilities.

Schools, colleges and nurseries closed more than six weeks ago due to the coronavirus outbreak, remaining open only for vulnerable youngsters and the children of key workers.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said schools across England are set to reopen to children in a "phased manner" after the lockdown but he has yet to set a date.

Asked what issues would prevent schools from reopening to more pupils by a date set by the Government, the top answers among heads were an inability to implement appropriate social distancing measures (83%), a lack of available staff (63%), and a lack of PPE (57%).


Coronavirus furlough scheme to be 'wound down' as costs are 'not sustainable'

The coronavirus furlough scheme will be "wound down" as the government says the cost of it is no longer sustainable.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told ITV News, that the scheme has cost £8billion so far as millions of workers have been given the majority of their pay.

But Mr Sunak said that the government couldn't continue the process in the long term.

For the full story click here.


US death toll 'could reach 3,000 a day'

The daily death toll in the US could reach 3,000 people a day by June, according to an internal Trump administration report obtained by the New York Times.

This is around a 70% increase from the current figure of 1,750.

The projections are based on government modelling by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The data also forecasts about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month – up from around 25,000 cases a day currently.


New coronavirus testing site opens in Skelmersdale

A temporary testing facility for coronavirus has been set up in Skelmersdale.

The new facility at the Nye Bevan Swimming Pool car park, has been organised by the Department of Health and Social Care, working with the armed forces and the NHS.

The Lancashire Resilience Forum wants people to be aware that appointments are required to attend and people must not just turn up.

Testing will be taking place until Wednesday, May 6.

They can be arranged through the Government's coronavirus testing webpage.

The government have updated their eligibility for testing. As well as key workers, it now includes anyone showing symptoms, who is also aged over 65 or working at a different place to their home.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire, said: "We know that this situation is a difficult time for people.

"Through testing we can understand more about the scale of this situation and help us to bring normal life back again, once it's appropriate to do so.

"Mobile testing sites helps us to prioritise certain areas, by adding additional capacity for a short time where it will have the most benefit.

"By testing key workers and their families if they're showing symptoms, we can keep vital services running at this time and protect the key workers themselves."

Other testing sites are already in operation at Preston College and Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The Lancashire Resilience Forum are working closely with partner organisations to create additional mobile and satellite testing sites in the county. This includes mobile testing for care home staff.

Charlotte Hadfield

Matt Hancock said "the more people" who have the contact-tracing app "the better"

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there is "high privacy" in the coronavirus contact-tracing app.

He said a user's phone will store anonymously the information about all the phones it has been within two metres of for more than 15 minutes in the previous few days.

He said one of the aspects being tested in the trial on the Isle of Wight is whether the best thing is for someone who gets a message saying they have been in contact with someone with symptoms should self-isolate "in case you develop the symptoms".

He told BBC Breakfast: "This is one of the reasons that we want to test it to ensure that we get the rules right around what we advise people to do as soon as the contact tracing pings you."

Mr Hancock said the app would allow the Government to have a picture of where there might be virus hotspots.

He added: "The more people who have the app the better."

Charlotte Hadfield

Keir Starmer says UK needs 'consensus' to end lockdown

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that just as there was a consensus going into lockdown, there should be consensus coming out.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain this morning, he said: “I sense that people are really worried about lifting of lockdown. They’re really worried about going back to work.

“They need a high level of reassurance.

Sir Keir said a national consensus would give “a degree of confidence."

He added: “The point that trade unions have raised is safety at work and there was a consultation document the government put out last weekend which was pretty vague, and it needs strengthening.

“That’s why one of the principles I’ve set out today is a national safety standard.

“I think people will want to know if I’m going back to work, is it a safe environment, what’s being done about social distancing, what are the hand-washing facilities, if I need protective equipment am I going to get it?

“It’s that degree of reassurance.”

Charlotte Hadfield

Ryanair expects to carry "minimal" passengers in May and June

Low-cost airline Ryanair have warned it will continue to carry out "minimal" passengers throughout May and June.

In a new announcement the airline said it ran just 600 scheduled flights during lockdown last month, as the foreign office advised against all but essential travel..

The Dublin-based carrier saw the number of passengers flown plunge 99.6% to 40,000 in April as flights were grounded to help slow the spread of the pandemic.

The group said it operated a number of rescue and medical flights on behalf of various EU governments last month.

They added: "Due to multiple EU government flight bans and restrictions, Ryanair expects to carry minimal traffic during the months of May and June as well."