An end in sight? Another 413 coronavirus deaths are recorded in UK today – the lowest figure this month
- A further 336 people who tested positive for the coronavirus died in England
- In Scotland another 18 deaths were recorded, bringing its total to 1,249
- A further 14 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Published: 09:22 EDT, 26 April 2020 | Updated: 11:15 EDT, 26 April 2020
Another 413 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the UK today – the lowest figure this month.
The numbers for England, Wales and Scotland are a significant drop on yesterday’s UK figures – and are lower than previous Sundays, which typically see a lower toll than weekdays.
Once confirmed, today’s toll would be the lowest since March 31, but figures for the UK as whole can differ from the totals of the union’s countries, due to how they are calculated.
The glimmer of hope from the apparent reduction in the rate of deaths comes after the country’s official death toll passed the grim 20,000 milestone.
A total of 20,732 patients had died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Saturday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said, up by 413 from 20,319 the day before.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has today insisted the UK is ‘on track’ to carry out 100,000 daily coronavirus tests by the end of April – but hit out at ‘irresponsible’ critics for demanding the government set out how it will ease lockdown.
Imperial College epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, whose previous death toll predictions prompted the PM to bring in restrictions, warned the number of deaths could reach 100,000 by the end of this year if a gradual lockdown is implemented just to shield the elderly.
Today’s figures from England, Scotland and Wales include those who die in hospital – but not care home deaths, which are believed to be a significant portion of the true numbers.
NHS England releases figures every day showing the dates of every coronavirus-related death in hospitals in England, and will often include previously uncounted deaths that took place several days or even weeks ago.
This is due to the time it takes for deaths to be confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 – along with processing post-mortem examinations and data from the tests to be validated.
Northern Ireland’s figures for today have not yet been revealed – nor have the official Department of Health statistics.
Another 368 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the UK today – indicating a possible new low for this month’s figures
Dominic Raab today insisted the UK is ‘on track’ to carry out 100,000 daily coronavirus tests by the end of April
Other revelations in lockdown Britain today include:
- Everyone entering Britain will now face a mandatory two-week quarantine under plans being drawn up by the Government
- Ministers have ordered up to 50 million new immunity tests to be produced in the fight against Covid-19
- Boris Johnson prepares to return to work in Downing Street tomorrow, having told aides that he is ‘raring to go’
- Dominic Raab admits a coronavirus vaccine is ‘unlikely to come this year’ despite human trials starting this week
- A tracker app shows coronavirus was spreading in Britain weeks before first case was spotted – and says we already passed peak of the bug on April 1
Today’s figures show a further 336 people who tested positive for the virus died in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in the country to 18,420.
A total of 1,249 patients have now died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19, a rise of 18 from 1,231 on Saturday, the Scottish Government confirmed.
The number of people who have tested positive for the virus north of the border is 10,324, up 273 from Saturday’s figure of 10,051.
The figures published on the Scottish Government’s website confirmed 1,735 patients are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, down 13 from 1,748 the previous day. Of these, 133 were in intensive care – a fall of seven.
A further 14 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales, taking the total number of deaths there to 788, health officials said.
And Public Health Wales said a further 178 people had tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 9,078.
A couple view the empty beach in Broadstairs, Kent today as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
NHS England releases figures every day showing the dates of every coronavirus-related death in hospitals in England, and will often include previously uncounted deaths that took place several days or even weeks ago
Key workers continued to struggle to secure a home testing kit again today after the UK government website stated there were ‘none available’ just twenty minutes after the tests were released
Why IS it taking so long for deaths and infections to come down? New cases decline by just a third in three weeks
The UK has taken three weeks to reduce daily coronavirus cases by around a third in a ‘disappointingly’ slow decline that may be due to ‘inadequate access to personal protective equipment’.
The daily number of infections has fallen from 5,903 at its peak on April 5 to 4,913 yesterday.
This rate of decline lags behind other countries in Europe – including Germany and heavily-hit Spain and Italy – when compared to the three weeks following each nation’s peak of infections.
Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia said one of the reasons could be due to greater access to personal protective equipment abroad.
It comes as leading British scientists poured cold water on hopes of ending the lockdown, warning the cases figure first needs to be in the hundreds, not thousands.
The UK yesterday passed the 20,000-death milestone in the outbreak as a further 813 deaths took the official total toll to 20,319, while cases hit 148,377.
Prof Hunter from Norwich School of Medicine at UEA told MailOnline: ‘If you look at most of the other countries, not all, but certainly most are showing a much steeper decline than we are.
‘We are definitely seeing a slower impact than most of our European neighbours.’
The academic said it was not immediately clear why other countries’ declines were steeper than ours, but said he had some theories.
He said: ‘I suspect that some of this is around issues potentially around inadequate PPE for health service and care workers.’
He added: ‘It would not surprise me if some of this number of deaths was driven largely because of the spread not necessarily in the general population but in the elderly and vulnerable and that would be related to inadequate infection prevention.’
Germany, which has been hailed as a pillar on how to deal with the virus, had a similar cases figure to Britain at its peak on April 5 at 5,936.
But the number has plummeted in the same three-week period, sitting on 2,055 cases as of yesterday.
Germany has also seen a comparably low daily death figure throughout the crisis, with yesterday’s 179 new fatalities being a fraction of the UK’s 813.
Foreign minister Andreas Michaelis said his government’s decision to hold excess capacity in ICUs has been one of the main reasons for the low death rate.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said the country had 40,000 intensive care beds, 30,000 of which can be used with ventilators.
‘This is really a heritage of our health system – it is almost the core factor of our health system.
‘A lot of experts were criticising us for having too much capacity, too much expenditure – I think the people of Germany can now say that’s an extra capacity they are very happy to have financed in the past.’
Germany, which went into lockdown on March 22, has started reopening shops and allowing people on public transport, but Chancellor Angela Merkel warned ‘we can’t return to life like it was before’.
Nations around the world have been taking different paths on when to reopen their economies after weeks at a standstill under coronavirus lockdowns.
The number of deaths officially attributed to coronavirus has topped 200,000 globally and at least 2.9million people have been infected.
Those figures are widely believed to understate the true toll of the pandemic due to limited testing, problems in counting the dead and some governments’ moves to underplay their outbreaks.
Even some of the Continent’s worst-affected nations have seen a steeper decline in coronavirus cases since their peak than the UK.
But figures revealed so far indicate a possible new low for deaths in the country.
Dr Giri Shankar, from Public Health Wales, said: ‘Based on the new case numbers there is emerging evidence suggesting a levelling-off in the number of new cases of Covid-19 in Wales, which may be an indication of the effectiveness of lockdown measures.
‘However, it is still too early to tell for sure, and it is too soon to end the current social distancing rules.
‘Public Health Wales fully supports the First Minister’s announcement on revised stay-at-home regulations.
‘The changes supplement the rules already in force but they respond to some challenges being faced in parts of the country and by families throughout Wales.
‘The message has not changed – anyone can get coronavirus, anyone can spread it. Stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.’
It comes as Dominic Raab today insisted the UK government is ‘on track’ to hit Matt Hancock’s 100,000 daily coronavirus tests target by the end of the month despite the number of checks continuing to lag far below capacity.
Mr Hancock set the target at the start of April and ministers now have just four days to get to the six-figure testing number.
The latest published statistics show daily capacity for tests is at about 51,000 but the number actually carried out is still below 30,000, leaving the government with a massive task if it is to deliver on the Health Secretary’s goal.
But Mr Raab said this morning he expected there to be a ‘big surge’ in tests carried out this week as extra capacity ‘comes on tap’.
His comments came as key workers again struggled to secure a home testing kit after the government’s website stated there were ‘non available’ just twenty minutes after the latest batch of the checks was released today.
The test site launched on Friday in an effort get key workers who are isolating checked so they can go back to work.
But so far it has struggled with high demand, with tests running out in a matter of minutes.
Mr Hancock has pledged 5,000 tests a day would be made available for key workers through the online portal, in an effort to ‘get Britain back on her feet’. Key workers can also book slots at drive-through testing centres across the country.
Mr Hancock is under huge political pressure to deliver on the target and he said on Friday he does believe 100,000 tests will be carried out every day as of the end of this month ‘but nothing is guaranteed in life’.
That pressure has only grown after England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty told MPs that the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had not signed off on the number.
Mr Raab was told during an appearance on Sky News this morning that just 28,700 tests were carried out in 24 hours according to the latest available data.
Asked if he believes the government will get to 100,000 by the end of the month, he said: ‘You are right about that in terms of the latest figures for tests carried out although it is a bit old now because we have come through the weekend, we have got new data.
‘Our capacity for carrying out tests is now at 51,000 per day so we have passed the halfway line to our target.
‘There are two things in the last week that really matter and you always get the exponential increase in a project like this in the last week as the capacity comes on tap.’
He continued: ‘First of all, with the NHS portal we are making sure people can access the tests either through home kits, through any one of the 31 drive-through centres and increasingly with mobile testing labs and the military are helping spread those across the country.
‘The second thing is we focused initially on NHS workers, then on care workers, we have now brought it to include all essential workers.
‘So I think we are going to see a big surge in the last week and we are on track to hit that target.’
On the booking website’s first day in operation some 46,000 people attempted to secure a test with available home checks and drive-through slots gone in a matter of minutes.
The beach in Margate, Kent today as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
What lockdown? People flock to DIY stores in their droves despite rules banning all non-essential outings as new data shows driving is up 4 per cent and walking 5 per cent on week before
- Shoppers were seen buying products at B&Q in Swansea, York and Edinburgh
- They were seen with trolleys filled with products including rolls of carpet
- Data from Friday shows that driving is up 4 per cent and walking is up 5 per cent
Shoppers ignored repeated warnings to stay home as part of ongoing efforts to clamp down on coronavirus by heading to DIY stores.
People were seen heading to stores in parts of the country including Edinburgh, Swansea and York on Sunday as latest figures showed Britons are leaving home more and more amid hopes that lockdown restrictions could be lifted.
Data from Apple Maps showed that driving is up 4 per cent and walking has increased 5 per cent among Britons compared to last week.
The shoppers on Sunday were taking advantage of hot an dry conditions which has brought sunshine around the country this weekend, although wet weather is on the way.
Shoppers ignored repeated warnings to stay home as part of ongoing efforts to clamp down on coronavirus by heading to DIY stores
Shoppers were pictured carrying items including plant pots, buckets and even a lawn mower at one B&Q store in York
People looking to do home improvements were seen waiting in lengthy queues outside B&Q in Swansea and York.
Some pushed trolleys filled with rolls of carpet while others were seen lifting enormous products into their cars.
And in Derby at The Range, which sells essentials including food and toilet roll, as well as DIY items such as paint and furniture, shoppers were taking advantage of the lack of crowds.
Data from Apple Maps also showed that traffic congestion has surged from the start of the month and since the lockdown was announced.
Walking in London has picked up markedly in the last three days alone, according to Apple Map’s most recent ‘Covid-19 mobility trends’ data.
Dozens of others were seen in long queues as they held trolleys while waiting to go in a B&Q store in Swansea
Latest figures collected on Friday showed that driving is up 4 per cent and walking has increased 5 per cent among Britons compared to last week
Some pushed trolleys filled with rolls of carpet while others were seen lifting enormous products into their cars. Pictured: One shopper at B&Q in York
It appears there has been a sharp increase in human traffic as the number of people walking across the country rose by around 8 percentage points on April 23 from last Saturday.
The number of people walking, driving, and using public transport networks in the UK took a nosedive in early March, as concern about the spreading coronavirus outside of China – believed to be the country of its origin – intensified and gripped the nation. It plummeted on March 24 – the day after Boris Johnson declared a ‘stay-at-home’ order.
But newly released figures available on Apple Maps indicated the British public are growing restless of life under lockdown as many more take to the roads and the streets.
The shoppers at B&Q have taken no notice of please from politicians for them to stay home
They were seen in snaking queues at B&Q in Edinburgh, pictured above
Each weekend of April – between the 4th and the 18th – the number of people walking, driving, and ‘transiting’ steadily climbed, even as police forces across the country became tougher on rule-breakers.
Data from sat nav makers TomTom and the AA suggest there has been an increase in car trips around the UK this month.
Britain to be hit with weeks of rain from today as heatwave ends suddenly
Britain is facing a deluge of wet weather starting today as this week’s mini-heatwave – which saw many Britons flout the countrywide lockdown – comes to an abrupt end.
Forecaster say today will see cloudy skies and a risk of showers ‘breaking out almost anywhere’ and a likely high temperature of 73F (23C), dropping to 68F (20C) tomorrow and between 53-59F (12-15C) starting Tuesday.
More typical April weather will resume next week, with wet weather and much lower temperatures presenting a ‘marked change’ from the sunshine Britons have enjoyed in recent days, Met Office meteorologist Tom Morgan told MailOnline.
This weekend – the country’s fifth since lockdown started – saw hot, dry conditions encouraging housebound Britons to flout restrictions and enjoy the sunshine.
But the temptation to leave home will be considerably lower for many in the days to come, as bands of rain brought by the Atlantic lead to ‘cooler’ and more ‘unsettled’ weather.
A Met Office spokesperson said: ‘So far April has been a largely dry month. However, today we’ll have showers across parts of Scotland, then north and central England, Wales and possibly Northern Ireland.’
Meteorologist Marco Petagna said that ‘it might be welcome rain for some, after it’s been so dry’, but there would still be ‘some sunshine, even when things are unsettled’.
There are more motorists in London, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Manchester, and Reading out and about this weekend than last week, according to TomTom.
B&Q is following steps taken by supermarkets by limiting the number of customers in its stores at any one time.
It has also installed screens at checkouts and put markers on shop floors to help with social distancing.
The shopping scenes come after Home Secretary Priti Patel warned Britons it was ‘imperative’ that they follow lockdown rules.
She warned that the country is ‘not out of danger yet’ as she thanked people for their ‘spirit of national unity’.
Police have already issued thousands of fines to people who have flouted lockdown rules, and the penalties could be increased after Ms Patel spoke on Friday to the National Police Chief’s Council.
On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab blasted ‘irresponsible’ critics for demanding the UK government set out how it will ease the nation’s coronavirus lockdown.
Tory donors, Cabinet ministers and Sir Keir Starmer have all told Boris Johnson he must publish his strategy for loosening restrictions as the Prime Minister prepares to return to work tomorrow.
But Mr Raab slapped down those calls this morning as he said Britain is still at a ‘delicate and dangerous’ stage of the outbreak and the focus must remain on slowing the spread of the disease and reducing the number of deaths.
However, the Foreign Secretary, who has been standing in for Mr Johnson, did insist ministers are carrying out their ‘homework’ on how to lift rules in the future but he stressed ‘frankly it is not responsible to start speculating about the individual measures’.
Mr Johnson has been recuperating at Chequers since he was released from hospital on April 12 after his own intensive care battle with coronavirus but he has told allies he is now ‘raring to go’.
Shoppers filled trolleys with varying DIY items. One man, pictured above, pushed dozens of wooden planks to his car
The shoppers had to keep their distance from each other as they queued to get into B&Q in Edinburgh
The Government has issued new laws ordering people to stay at home and to only leave for exercise, to buy food, or to go to work, if they cannot work from home. Pictured: A shopper in York
Basket of goods: Shoppers pushed huge trolleys to put their DIY goods in
The PM will formally return to the frontline amid growing hostility over the government’s repeated refusal to publicly discuss how restrictions will be lifted.
Numerous Tory donors, including billionaires Peter Hargreaves and Michael Spencer, have today broken cover to tell the PM that the draconian measures must be loosened as soon as possible due to growing fears of lasting damage to the UK economy.
Three Cabinet ministers have briefed their own disquiet with some concerned that the British public have now had enough of the restrictions and cannot ‘take much more of this’.
Shoppers left their homes to take advantage of less busy stores amid the coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: Shoppers in Edinburgh
Some people wore protective clothing, including one couple who were wearing blue rubber gloves as they pulled a trolley holding various DIY items, as well as a potted plant
Meanwhile, Sir Keir, the Labour leader, has warned the premier the UK risks ‘falling behind the rest of the world’ in terms of setting out how life will be returned to something resembling normal.
Economists have also warned that a failure to get out of lockdown soon could result in Britain being the Western nation hardest hit by the virus.
The series of major interventions came after the UK’s coronavirus death toll hit 20,000.
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