LiveCoronavirus in UK live blog: Boris Johnson says UK are past the peak of the virus

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

Thursday, 30th April 2020, 7:59 am
Updated Thursday, 30th April 2020, 5:55 pm

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

A soldier from 2nd Scots Royal Regiment of Scotland takes a test sample at a Covid-19 testing centre at Glasgow Airport (Photo: Andrew Milligan-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
A soldier from 2nd Scots Royal Regiment of Scotland takes a test sample at a Covid-19 testing centre at Glasgow Airport (Photo: Andrew Milligan-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 29

Last updated: Thursday, 30 April, 2020, 17:07

He talks through today's data: 901,000 tests have been carried out in the uk now, including 81,000 tests yesterday. 

26,711 have now died, an increase of 674 since yesterday across all settings.

He says “we grieve for them and with them". 

Says the government are going to tackle the challenges which have been “knotty and infuriating” - references PPE, care homes and testing. 

Says “we are throwing everything at it” and says “we will get it right”. 

“Entire country”'s effort and sacrifice is working and has been proved to work. 

“So far succeeded” in avoiding the tragedy that has engulfed other parts of the world, as NHS has never been overwhelmed. 

Avoided an uncontrollable and catastrophic epidemic. 

Boris Johnson is speaking now. 

He's joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty.

He starts by apologising that he hasn't been apart of “this trio” for some time 

What to expect at today's daily press briefing

There will be no easy first day back at the press briefing for the Prime Minister who welcomed a new son to the world yesterday.

Boris Johnson should expect scrutiny on a number of issues, in particular the government's likely failure to reach 100,000 tests a day. 

There had been speculation that the PM may updated the public on a prospective exit strategy from the lockdown, though cabinet ministers have already said that a strategy will not be provided until after a SAGE meeting in early May. 

In recent days, cabinet ministers have been accused of neglecting to prepare care homes for the pandemic, and the PM should expect further pressure today from journalists. 

The recurring themes of PPE shortages, face mask usage and quarantining new arrivals to the country could also come up. 

PM to host daily press briefing at 5pm

A reminder that Boris Johnson is set to hold today's daily press briefing at 5pm.

As ever we will be providing live updates. 

Sir Keir Starmer says government slow on exit strategy

Boris Johnson has been urged to publish the UK's exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown, to give clarity to businesses and communities across the country.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that, while there is an understanding of the need for lockdown, transparency is needed for what comes next.

In an interview with ITV News, Sir Keir also said he believes an inquiry into the UK's response to the pandemic is "inevitable".

"I think the Government were slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment, and may now be slow on our exit strategy," he said.

Boris Johnson shares letter to Captain Tom Moore

60 more deaths in Scotland

Government "working hard" to meet 100,000 tests a day target

Downing Street has insisted the Government is "working hard" to hit its target of testing 100,000 for coronavirus by the end of the day.

The PM's spokesman said that as of April 28, testing capacity had been increased to 77,365 and told a Westminster briefing: "The target is for 100,000 tests today and the Health Secretary and all of his team are working hard to hit it."

He added: "You can chart the progress that we've made towards hitting that target and that we are working hard today to ensure that people who need tests get them."

Earlier on Thursday, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland acknowledged the 100,000 target may not be met.

The PM's spokesman said 42 drive-through test sites are now open and 17 mobile sites are operational.

Time for Captain Tom Moore to rest

Captain Tom Moore needs a rest after uniting people across society and across nationalities, his proud daughter has said.

As her father's fundraising hit £30 million, Hannah Ingram-Moore said that for the family the last few weeks will be "embedded in our hearts forever".

She said the 100-year-old has "touched the hearts of many people around the world" and brought hope at a difficult time.

"We've said, 'look, take a little rest now'. But I think we know that he has touched the hearts of many people around the world.

"He's definitely engaged us all and given us hope and unity.

"So, there will be legacy. We, as a family, have come a long way in these last few weeks, and we are working hard to look at what is the future, what's the future legacy, but he needs to have a little rest now."

Jeremy Corbyn takes aim at Donald Trump

WHO: evidence that Europe is passing the peak

Dr Hans Kluge, World Health Organisation regional director for Europe, said there were positive signs the continent was passing the peak of the virus.

He told a virtual press briefing: "We're now seeing evidence of a plateau or reduction in new cases.

"We must monitor this development very closely."

But he added: "Covid-19 is not going away any time soon."

NHS signs daubed with swastikas

Police have revealed how they were "horrified" to find swastikas sprayed on signs urging people to stay at home and protect the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of yellow "car park closed" signs along the coast between Seaton Sluice and Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, were attacked overnight by vandals.

At least five locations over two miles were attacked, including a sign saying "Car park closed, stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives".

Council teams were sent out to clean off the swastikas.

Nicola Sturgeon "right" to warn that measures likely won't be eased on May 7

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said Nicola Sturgeon was "right to be cautious" in her warning that measures are unlikely to be eased on the next review date of 7 May.

“I think the common thread between the Governments is one of extreme caution following the evidence of the Sage committee,” he said, "making sure that we don't do anything in a premature way that could risk a second spike.

"That would be a disaster."

Captain Tom's donations page to close at midnight on 100th birthday

The donations page for Captain Tom Moore's fundraising efforts will close at midnight this evening, as he celebrates his 100th birthday.

Moore confirmed the news in a message to supporters, but added: “NHS Charities Together still have their urgent appeal, so people can donate to them that way.”

"Reaching 100 is quite something. Reaching 100 with such interest in me and huge generosity from the public is very overwhelming.

"I am going to spend my birthday with my family, both here in person and with my daughter remotely, and then I am going to have a few days' rest. My legs may be tired, but my mind is racing and I'm hoping to be back very soon with other ways in which I can help people, help others.

"Please always remember, 'Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day'. With my sincerest gratitude, Captain Tom Moore."

Antiviral drug 'cutting recovery times for coronavirus patients'

An antiviral drug previously used to treat ebola has shown "very encouraging results" in the fight against coronavirus.

Abdel Babiker, professor of epidemiology and medical statistics at UCL, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there are  “very encouraging” results from the first large-scale randomised trial to report on any treatment of Covid-19."

He said the group of hospitalised adults with advanced coronavirus who received Remdesivir recovered "much faster" than the group that received a placebo.

Page 2 of 3