The Department of Health said said 39,728 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK as of 5pm on Tuesday, compared to 39,369 the day before. In the 24-hour period to 9am on Wednesday, 171,829 tests were carried out or dispatched with 1,871 positive results. In total, 4,786,219 tests have been carried out and 279,856 cases have been confirmed positive. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the Government was extending the length of time between reviews of lockdown restrictions.
Mr Hancock said the maximum review period will change from every three weeks to every four weeks in a written ministerial statement on Tuesday.
He said: “To ensure that we are making future decisions about the lockdown at the right time, the maximum review period will change from 21 days to 28 days.
“This will allow decisions to align more closely with the period of time necessary to assess the impact of previous changes on key data feeds, including the R (infection) rate.
“The Government will also keep all the measures under continual review and will account to Parliament on an ongoing basis.”
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Lockdown restrictions will now be reviewed every four weeks under new Government plans
Saturday June 4
12am update: Hydroxochlorquine
The World Health Organisation is set to restart a trial into the antiviral drug hydroxychloroquine after concerns were raised about the data behind an article that said the drug increased death.
Dr Walid Gellad, a professor at University of Pittsburgh’s medical school said on the data: “This is not some sideshow or minor issue.
“We’re in an unprecedented pandemic. We’ve organised these enormous clinical trials to figure out if something works. And this study stopped or paused a couple of those trials, and changed the narrative around a drug that no one knows if it works or not.”
Friday June 3
11pm update: Xi meeting postponed
Chinese President Xi Jinping was due to travel to Germany in September for a historic meeting with EU leaders.
Due to coronavirus, this meeting has been postponed.
Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Angela Merkel said: “The three sides emphasised the importance of this plan.
“They agreed that, given the overall pandemic situation, the meeting cannot take place at the scheduled time, but should be rescheduled.
“The details should be agreed upon soon.”
Gursimran Hans has taken over live reporting from Paul Withers.
10pm update: Germany agrees €130bn coronavirus stimulus package
Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition partners have agreed a stimulus package worth €130 billion aimed at accelerating the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The political parties resolved differences on incentives to buy new cars and relief for highly indebted municipalities.
This paved the way for a mammoth fiscal programme that is much bigger than similar packages by Germany’s partners in the eurozone.
Fears Parliament may be contaminated with coronavirus have been sparked following reports Business Secretary Alok Sharma has gone into self-isolation after a worrying video emerged.
Eagle-viewers spotted the Tory MP showing COVID-19 symptoms while addressing the House of Commons.
He has since gone into self-isolation and taken a coronavirus test.
During his address in Parliament, Mr Sharma repeatedly appeared to wipe the sweat off his face and struggle through his speech.
7.20pm update: US reports more than 1,000 new deaths and nearly 25,000 fresh cases
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced 1,045 new deaths from coronavirus, with the total number of fatalities rising to 106,202 as of 4pm ET on Tuesday.
There were a further 24,955 new cases, with this tally increasing to 1,827,425.
Boris Johnson is leading today’s daily briefing from Downing Street
7pm update: US selects five coronavirus vaccine candidates as finalists – report
Donald Trump’s administration has chosen five companies as the most likely candidates to produce a vaccine for COVID-19, the New York Times has reported.
They are Moderna, the combination of Oxford University and AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson , Merck & Co Inc and Pfizer Inc, according to the US newspaper.
6.15pm update: Boris tells EU workers to return to UK but follow quarantine rules
The Prime Minister said workers from the EU who left the UK during the coronavirus lockdown should come back, but warned they will have to quarantine like other travellers.
Responding to a question from an Italian journalist during the daily briefing from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “What I’d say to our Italian friends, Italians who’ve been living and working in the UK who now want to come back, I say come back.
“You’ve got to quarantine… but we want you back.”
5.34pm update: Coronavirus alert level to remain at four
Professor Whitty says: “We’re trending downwards.
“The alert level is a clear four but with a direction of travel down – that was the unanimous view of the four chief medical officers on the advice, the independent advice, of the Joint Biosecurity Centre.”
5.30pm update: Track and trace programme ‘in early stages of development’
Professor Chris Whitty tells the briefing the test and trace programme is “in the early stages of development”.
England’s Chief Medical Officer says: “The new thing that has been brought in – and it is definitely, as you imply, in the early stages of its development, but it is definitely there, and definitely working, but it will work a lot better over time – is the new element of test and trace.”
5.23pm update: Vallance warns number of new deaths not coming down as fast as hoped
Sir Patrick Vallance says thqat while the latest figures show more than 1,800 people a day had tested positive, data from the Office for National Statistics suggested the true figure was significantly higher.
He added at the same time, the R value (rate of transmission) is still close to 1, which means the numbers aren’t coming down quickly.
Sir Patrick says: “We have relatively large numbers still not coming down fast. That gives relatively little room for manoeuvre. We have to tread very cautiously
He adds the number of deaths are falling “but it is not coming down as fast as we would like it to come down”.
Professor Chris Whitty said the coronavirus alert level remains at four
5.15pm update: Brits warns not to gather in other people’s homes
Boris Johnson says that with the weather in then UK forecast to worsen over the coming days, people should not gather in other people’s homes as a result.
He warns: “I want to stress one final point which may be relevant today as the weather threatens, I think to take a turn for the worse.
“Some of you may be tempted to move the gatherings you’ve been enjoying outdoors indoors out of the rain. I really urge you: don’t do that.
“We relaxed the rules on meeting outside for a very specific reason because the evidence shows the risks of transmission are much lower outdoors.
“And the risks of passing on the virus are significantly higher indoors which is why gatherings inside other people’s homes are still prohibited.
“Breaking these rules now could undermine and reverse all the progress that we’ve made together.
“I have no doubt that won’t happen.”
5.10pm update: UK will ‘explore the possibility’ of ‘travel corridors’
Boris Johnson tells the Downing Street briefing the Government will “explore the possibility” of “travel corridors” with countries who have low rates of coronavirus.
He says: “We will review how the policy’s working after three weeks and of course we will explore the possibility of international travel corridors with countries that have low rates of infection but only when the evidence shows it is safe to do so.”
5.07pm update: Johnson defends decision to impose quarantine on new entrants to UK
The Prime Minister says: “Once community transmission was widespread within the UK, cases from abroad made up a tiny proportion of the total.
“At the same time you will remember international travel plummeted as countries around the world went into lockdown.
“As a result measures at the border were halted because they made little difference at the time in our fight against the virus.
“Now that we’re getting the virus under control in the UK, there is a risk that cases from abroad begin once again to make up a greater proportion of overall cases.
“We therefore need to take steps now to manage that risk of these imported cases triggering a second peak.”
5.04pm update: PM arrives for daily briefing and provides update on figures
Boris Johnson says 171,829 tests were carried out on Tuesday.
There are 7,485 people in hospital, down 16 percent from this time last week.
The Prime Minister confirms a further 359 people have died from coronavirus, with the death toll now increasing to 39,728.
There have now been more than 6.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus throughout the world
4.39pm update: Boris Johnson to lead daily briefing from Downing Street
The Prime Minister will be joined from 5pm by Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser.
Earlier this week, Number 10 said Mr Johnson was committed to appearing at least once a week at daily briefings from now on.
4.18pm update: ‘Thousands’ of contacts of people testing positive ‘very pleased’ to isolate
Baroness Dido Harding, who is heading up the test and trace system, told the Health and Social Care Committee: “If you look at the latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) statistics that were published last week the ONS’ central estimates, is that there are roughly 8,000 people contracting Covid every day.
“And yesterday we had approximately 1,600 people having a positive test.
“Now, we have excess testing capacity, and we have excess tracing capacity, so the capacity in the system is not the issue. What we need to do together as a society is encourage everyone, if they feel ill and they have a cough and fever or lost their sense of taste or smell that they self-isolate and order a test.”
3.53pm update: Struggling businesses offered hope from coronavirus impact
Businesses that are struggling due to the coronavirus crisis will be provided with “breathing space” with a temporary easing of rules around insolvency.
Speaking during the second reading of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The Bill will allow business owners time and space to explore rescue options.
“It will allow directors of companies that are technically insolvent, but simply because of a temporary drop in demand to trade because of the Covid-19 crisis, to be able to proceed with the business without threat of personal liability.”
He added: “The whole point of these measures, both the permanent and the temporary ones, is… to give businesses breathing space to allow them the chance to see whether they can recover and ultimately bounce back, it’s what we all want to see.”
The Department of Health announced a further 359 deaths across all settings
3.43pm update: Downing Street provides update on track and trace figures
Number 10 has suggested figures on the test and trace scheme will only be made public once they have been verified and processes had been discussed with the statistics watchdog.
The UK Statistics Authority has criticised Health Secretary Matt Hancock over the way testing figures have been handled so far.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are encouraged by the progress so far and are working with the UK Statistics Authority to consider what information it would be useful to publish on the performance of the service and taking the time to ensure this is verified.”
3.34pm update: France to reciprocate UK quarantine plans
An official at the French foreign ministry has told the BBC the country has not opened bilateral talks with the UK over a possible lifting of the upcoming quarantine between the two nations.
The source said: “For the moment, we are applying the principle of reciprocity. If the UK imposes a quarantine period, we will apply it too.”
From June 15, Germany is removing its general warning against travel to European countries but will continue to advise against travel to Britain for as long as its Government enforces a 14-day quarantine for new arrivals.
Italy has also not held conversations “at this point” with the UK about establishing “air bridges” between the two countries.
This would mean British tourists not having to self-isolate after visiting Italy.
3.20pm update: A further 36 deaths in hospitals in remainder of UK
In Scotland, an 11 additional people have died in hospitals after testing positive from coronavirus – bringing the total to 2,375.
A further 17 have died in Wales, with this total increasing to 1,371.
In Northern Ireland, eight more people have died, taking the total figure to 534.
Unlike England, the death numbers reported in the three remaining UK nations do not include those who had positive test results from commercial labs.
Coronavirus map LIVE: Matt Hancock has been criticised over the way track and trace testing figures have been handled
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Katie Harris.
2.50pm update: Patel defends quarantine plans for arrivals to the UK
Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended plans to require most people arriving in the UK to quarantine for 14 days.
Speaking in the Commons, she said: “These measures are backed by the science, supported by the public, and essential to save lives.
“We know they will present difficulties for the tourism industry, but that’s why we have an unprecedented package of support, the most comprehensive in the world, for both employees and businesses.
“But we will all suffer if we get this wrong. That’s why it’s crucial that we introduce these measures now.”
2.25pm update: 179 further coronavirus deaths in England
NHS England has announced 179 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19.
It brings the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 27,044.
1.55pm update: Three Met Police staff die of coronavirus
Three Metropolitan Police staff have died after testing positive for Covid-19, the force’s commissioner has said.
Dame Cressida Dick told the London Assembly police and crime committee: “Very sadly, we have lost three police staff colleagues, apparently to Covid, in this time period.”
She also said there were more than 900 assaults on police staff and officers between March 20 and May 31, including 100 attacks involving spitting or coughing where coronavirus was used as a threat.
Of those 100 incidents, 83 people were charged, with 13 of the 14 dealt with by the courts so far handed a custodial sentence.
1.30pm update: May suggests Government should take lead in developing international aviation health screening standard
Speaking in the Commons, Conservative former prime minister Theresa May said: “Aviation supports a million jobs in the UK – 114,000 in aerospace, 1,700 for my constituents. International air travel is necessary for trade, without it there is no global Britain.
“So instead of bringing in measures to close Britain off from the rest of the world, why is the Government not taking a lead in developing an international aviation health screening standard to save jobs and ensure Britain is open for business?”
Transport minister Kelly Tolhurst replied: “We have set up the restart and recovery unit within the department which is very much working across Government, with the sector, with the airlines, airports and the ground handlers and trade bodies looking at how we are able to get exactly that, some international agreed-standard health measures.”
Three Metropolitan Police staff have died after testing positive for Covid-19, the force’s commissioner has said
12.45pm update: Johnson says quarantine on travellers ‘vital to avoid reinfection from elsewhere’
Labour MP for Southampton Test Alan Whitehead asked: “Will the Prime Minister address himself to the question of quarantine arrangements?
“Most European countries have had quarantine arrangements for quite a while now and are beginning to reduce them. This country has had no quarantine arrangements to date and is only now introducing them. Why is that?”
The Prime Minister replied: “For the simple reason that as we get the rate of infection down with the efforts that we are making as a country it is vital that we avoid reinfection from elsewhere. And that is why we’re doing it.”
12.40pm update: Labour leader accuses PM of damaging public trust in Government with statistics
Sir Keir Starmer said: “The problem when the Prime Minister uses statistics is that the Statistics Authority has had concerns on more than one occasion.
“Yesterday, in a strongly worded letter to the Health Secretary, the chair of the UK Statistics Authority said that the statistics ‘still fall well short of expectations’.
“He went on to say ‘it is not surprising given that their inadequacy data on testing are so widely criticised and so often mistrusted’.
“Can the Prime Minister see how damaging this is to public trust and confidence in his Government?”
Boris Johnson replied: “I really do not see the purpose in his endless attacks on public trust and confidence.”
Sir Keir Starmer accused the PM of damaging public trust in the Government with coronavirus statistics
12.30pm update: Johnson rejects Starmer’s claim that test, track and trace system is not fully operational
Boris Johnson has rejected Sir Keir Starmer’s claim that the Government’s test, track and trace system is not yet fully operational.
The Labour leader said: “Two weeks ago today at the despatch box the Prime Minister promised that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be ‘world-beating and yes it will be in place by June 1’.
“But it isn’t. And a critical element, the ability of local authorities to respond to local spikes is missing.”
The Prime Minister replied replied: “I’m afraid he’s casting aspersions on the efforts of tens of thousands of people who have set up a test, track and trace system in this country from a standing start. We now have 40,000 people engaged in this.”
12.10pm update: PM takes ‘full responsibility’ for Government’s handling of coronavirus crisis
Boris Johnson said he takes full responsibility for the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The Telegraph is reporting this morning that the Prime Minister has decided to take direct control of the Government’s response to the virus. So an obvious question for the Prime Minister, who’s been in direct control up until now?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I take full responsibility for everything this Government has been doing in tackling coronavirus and I’m very proud of our record.”
Boris Johnson said he takes full responsibility for the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis
11.50am update: Fifth of Britons following lockdown rules less strictly – poll
A fifth of Britons are following the lockdown rules less strictly than before, a survey has indicated.
The YouGov poll suggested that 73 percent struck to the lockdown rules last week as strictly as they had the previous week.
But 21 percent said they followed the rules less strictly.
Of these, 32 percent mentioned the Dominic Cummings row as one of the reasons for their breaches.
Boris Johnson has been urged to back a global wildlife trade ban to prevent future pandemics following the coronavirus crisis.
Campaign to End Wildlife Trade is demanding the Prime Minister calls for a global ban on the wildlife trade at the G20 summit in November.
Sonul Badiani-Hamment, from World Animal Protection, said: “COVID-19 is a wakeup call for the world and the case for a global wildlife trade ban has never been more urgent.
“SARS, Ebola and now COVID-19 are all believed to have passed from wildlife to humans.
“Boris Johnson and the UK Government must provide global leadership in this public health and wildlife crisis and call for a wildlife trade ban at the G20 meeting of global leaders in November to help prevent future pandemics.”
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has said that in hindsight they should have done more to combat coronavirus
1.30am update: Sweden should have done more to combat coronavirus – health chief
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has said that in hindsight they should have done more to combat coronavirus.
Nearly 4,500 people have died in Sweden and the country has been criticised over its decision not to impose stricter lockdown measures.
Mr Tegnell said: “If we were to run into the same disease, knowing exactly what we know about it today, I think we would end up doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done.
“Yes, I think we could have done better in what we did in Sweden, clearly.”
9.50am update: Portugal seeking air bridge with UK to avoid quarantine
Portugal’s foreign minister has said his country is in discussions with the UK about “air bridges” so tourists can avoid being quarantined.
Augusto Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “quarantine is an enemy of tourism”.
He added: “During these weeks our diplomats will work together in order to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected on their return to England to any kind of quarantine.”
9.15am: Health minister says he hopes people will be able to go on holiday this year
Health minister Edward Argar told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m not going to say a particular date on when that might happen because we will have to be guided by how the disease behaves, controlling any risk of a second wave and controlling the disease.
“I hope that people will be able to go on holiday at some point this year, but I can’t make that promise and because I have to be cautious and go with the science and I don’t have that forward view yet of how a second wave or otherwise might behave.”
Boris Johnson will face Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time since the Dominic Cummings controversy
8.30am update: Shadow Cabinet Office minister urges Government to get effective test and trace system in place
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves has urged the Government to get an effective test and trace system in place.
Echoing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s call for Boris Johnson to “get a grip” on the crisis, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Government have said that we’re going to have a world beating test and trace mechanism.
“Frankly we’d just like an effective one and we don’t have that today.
“And so there are practical things that Government can do to make the easing of these lockdown restrictions actually work and we’re urging Government to get a grip and put those things in place.”
7.50am update: India coronavirus cases hit 200,000
India has reported a further 8,909 coronavirus cases taking the total to 207,615 while the death toll has reached 5,815 amid warnings the peak is still weeks away.
Dr Nivedita Gupta of the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research said: “We are very far away for the peak.”
7.30am update: Johnson to face Starmer at PMQs for first time since Cummings row
Boris Johnson will face Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time since the Dominic Cummings controversy.
Mr Johnson is likely to be grilled by the Labour leader over his support for his senior adviser after it emerged he took his family to Durham in March to self isolate.