Britain comes together to clap for carers on Covid frontline – as it happened

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  • May 21, 2020
  • Comments Off on Britain comes together to clap for carers on Covid frontline – as it happened

That’s the end of our UK live coverage for tonight, please follow worldwide developments on our global blog. Thanks for reading and writing in.

According to the BBC, “millions of people” were clapping across the country tonight, among them 100-year-old Dabirul Choudhury, from St Albans, who’s raised over £177,000 for coronavirus relief.

BBC News (UK)
(@BBCNews)

People across the UK again take to their doorsteps to “clap for carers”

Including 100-year-old Dabirul Choudhury, who’s raised over £177,000 for coronavirus reliefhttps://t.co/WzvNjqTQp6 pic.twitter.com/oRTZIkmdlC

May 21, 2020

On my street in central Brixton, London, only two parties came to their windows to clap for about 15 seconds tonight. In previous weeks, people could be seen in most windows clapping and cheering.

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Boris Johnson came out of No 10 for a solo clap tonight, without his fiancée Carrie Symonds, who had accompanied him last week.


Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

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This just in from Forces News, showing military staff in Bosnia, Turks and Caicos and Cornwall clapping for carers.

Forces News
(@ForcesNews)

Military personnel have again shown their appreciation for NHS staff and key workers in the latest #clapforcarers.? pic.twitter.com/NVUdP71Uu8

May 21, 2020

This from Rosena Allin-Khan, the Labour MP for Tooting.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan
(@DrRosena)

Tonight, we clap for carers.

Tonight, we remember those who have sadly passed.

Tonight, we pay tribute to their families and friends.

Tonight, we cheer that they won’t have to pay the NHS surcharge.

Tonight, we thank Tom Moore.

Tomorrow, we continue to hold the Govt to account.

May 21, 2020

People across the UK will pay tribute to coronavirus key workers tonight at 8pm BST.

Every Thursday for the past nine weeks, people have been clapping from their doorsteps, windows and streets for NHS staff, bus drivers, retail staff and other key workers who have been risking their lives by going to work during the pandemic.

Tonight’s Clap for Carers will go ahead against the backdrop of the government’s scrapping of the NHS surcharge for migrant health and care workers, a U-turn that came on Thursday after pressure from opposition and Conservative backbenchers.

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Daily summary

Here are the main points from today.

  • Migrant health and care workers to be exempt from NHS surcharge after U-turn

Downing Street has bowed to concerted pressure from the opposition and Conservative backbenchers to scrap the NHS surcharge for migrant health and care workers.

After backbenchers including the former health secretary Jeremy Hunt criticised the government’s position, a No 10 spokesman said Boris Johnson had asked the Home Office and the Department for Health and Social Care to remove NHS and care workers from the scheme as soon as possible.

  • Hancock, the health secretary, confirmed the government will roll out antibody testing next week, having signed contracts for 10m tests

Antibody tests show whether or not people have had coronavirus.Hancock said: “We’ve signed contracts to supply in the coming months over 10 million tests from Roche and Abbott. From next week we will begin rolling these out in a phased way, at first to health and care staff, patients and residents.

“The UK government has arranged supplies of these tests on behalf of the devolved administrations and each devolved nation is deciding how to use its test allocation and how testing will be prioritised and managed locally.

“This is an important milestone and it represents further progress in our national testing programme.”

  • Hancock says 17% of Londoners may have had coronavirus

He says antibody tests suggest that 17% of people in London may have had coronavirus. In the rest of the country the figure is 5%, he says.

  • UK records a further 338 coronavirus deaths, taking total to 36,042.

The latest UK figures reveal that 36,042 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus as of 5pm on Wednesday, up by 338 from 35,704 the day before.

In the 24-hour period up to 9am on Thursday, 128,340 tests were carried out or dispatched, with a total of 67,681 people tested and 2,615 positive results.

A total of 3,090,566 tests have been carried out, and 250,908 cases have been confirmed positive.

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Excess deaths in care homes during the coronavirus pandemic have peaked and “come down a long way”, England’s chief medical officer has confirmed.

Prof Chris Whitty said there was a clear peak in excess deaths in hospitals in early April in England and Wales, followed by care homes.

The government adviser told the Downing Street press conference: “If you look at care homes, the other thing which people are rightly very concerned about… the care home deaths have peaked and come down a long way.

“But that peak was slightly later – one to two weeks after the peak in hospitals.”


Chris Whitty speaking during the daily Covid-19 press conference. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/Downing Street/EPA

Whitty said figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the excess deaths in care homes compared to the five-year average fell from 4,331 to 2,247 in the week ending 8 May.

Earlier this week, Prof Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, told the health and social care committee he thought care homes were “probably at the top of the curve” in Covid-19 cases.

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One of the new coronavirus antibody tests to be rolled out across the UK is being produced in south Wales.

It is understood that Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, which has a factory in Pencoed, Bridgend, is the only firm producing the blood tests in the UK.

On Thursday, Wales’ health minister, Vaughan Gething, welcomed news of the test, which will be available from Ortho and other suppliers across the UK, saying it was an “important step forward” in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

He said: “This test will tell us if people have already had coronavirus. But it is important to say, although the test can tell if someone has had the virus, it’s not certain as to how much immunity they’ll have to the virus.”


Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething.


Photograph: Simon Dawson/Reuters

Gething said work was being done in Wales to develop another type of antibody test involving taking a pinprick of blood and testing it with a device to give a result in just minutes, which would help to make antibody testing more widely available.

The US firm Ortho has had a site in Pencoed for 40 years and employs more than 500 people. It produces millions of tests each week for a range of diseases and medical conditions which are distributed around the world.

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