UK coronavirus LIVE: True coronavirus death toll 56,100 as Cabinet meets for first time in person

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  • July 21, 2020
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Boris Johnson‘s Cabinet met in person on Tuesday for the first time in four months as the Government continues efforts to secure millions of doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Senior ministers attended the first in-person meeting since March 17 in Parliament’s larger Foreign and Commonwealth Office to allow for proper social distancing. Speaking during the meeting, Mr Johnson said: “Whatever the current difficulties, and they will go on – we will have bumpy months ahead and as Rishi (Sunak, Chancellor) has rightly said, there will be difficult months ahead for our people and our country but no one will be without hope.”

Figures published on Tuesday by the ONS show that 56,100 deaths involving Covid-19 have now been registered in the UK. It comes as the Government figures on the UK death toll were “paused” after Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered an “urgent review” into the data.

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock will be quizzed on the vaccines and the latest NHS Test and Trace results when he appears before the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

Follow our live updates HERE…

Live Updates


2020-07-21T10:45:24.193Z

Professor says world will live with coronavirus for ‘many, many years to come’

Welcome Trust director Professor Sir Jeremy Farrar told the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee that the world will be living with Covid-19 for “very many, many years to come”.

“Things will not be done by Christmas. This infection is not going away, it’s now a human endemic infection,” he told MPs.

“Even, actually, if we have a vaccine or very good treatments, humanity will still be living with this virus for very many, many years to come.

“We need to keep the urgency in place in June, July and August, but we need to move now to a consistent long-term approach to this.

“Because humanity will be living with this infection for decades to come.”


2020-07-21T10:35:00.000Z

Summer months a “crucial phase” to prevent second wave of coronavirus

Warning against complacency during the summer months, Wellcome Trust director Professor Sir Jeremy Farrar said June, July and August were a “crucial phase” to prevent a second wave of Covid-19.

He told the committee: “If we have any sense of complacency of ‘this is behind us’, then we will undoubtedly have a second wave, and we could easily be in the same situation again.

“The lockdowns have made an enormous difference to the community transmission –  they’ve done nothing to change the fundamentals of the virus.

“It remains as infectious as at the end of December, it has the same clinical syndrome, it kills the same number of people.

“And as soon as the lockdowns ease, if we don’t have mechanisms to change the fundamentals – that means diagnostics, testing, treatments and vaccines – then this will come back, and it’ll come back in winter when all the other respiratory (diseases do).”

He added: “If we don’t have things in place by the beginning of September when schools restart, we will face a very, very difficult winter.”


2020-07-21T10:25:00.000Z

Professor says one of the UK’s biggest failures was not being on the “front foot” in preparation for a pandemic

Professor Sir John Bell, of the University of Oxford, told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee that one of the UK’s biggest failures was not being on the “front foot” in preparation for a pandemic.

Asked about the biggest failures during the pandemic, he told MPs: “The fact that we were asleep to the concept that we were going to have a pandemic, I think, shame on us.

“Since the year 2000 we’ve had eight close calls of emerging infectious diseases, any one of which could have swept the globe as a pandemic.

“This is not new and I think we should not be proud of the fact that we ended up with a system which had no resilience to pandemics. I think the biggest single failure was not being on the front foot.

“Singapore started the first week of January preparing for trouble, where it took us very much to the end of February beginning of March to get going.

“I think that’s the single biggest failure and I think a lot of things fall out from that.”


2020-07-21T10:15:07.486Z

Prime Minister welcomes Government progress on plans for new hospitals

Boris Johnson speaking before the first face-to-face Cabinet meeting since the spring, continued: “I think the Health Secretary has identified the 40 new hospitals that we will build, or at least have spades in the ground, in the next four years.

“We are already recruiting record numbers of police officers – I think I’m right in saying more than 4,000 of the 20,000 promised police officers have already been recruited.

“We are going for 50,000 more nurses – we’ve already got 12,000 more nurses since a year ago, 6,000 more doctors since a year ago and we’ve delivered on our promise to increase the funding per pupil to £5,500 per head for every secondary, £4,000 for primary school pupils and we will get on with that agenda.”

(REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool)


2020-07-21T10:13:12.113Z

Prime Minister welcomes Government progress on plans for new hospitals

Boris Johnson speaking before the first face-to-face Cabinet meeting since the spring, continued: “I think the Health Secretary has identified the 40 new hospitals that we will build, or at least have spades in the ground, in the next four years.

“We are already recruiting record numbers of police officers – I think I’m right in saying more than 4,000 of the 20,000 promised police officers have already been recruited.

“We are going for 50,000 more nurses – we’ve already got 12,000 more nurses since a year ago, 6,000 more doctors since a year ago and we’ve delivered on our promise to increase the funding per pupil to £5,500 per head for every secondary, £4,000 for primary school pupils and we will get on with that agenda.”

(Photo by Simon Dawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images)


2020-07-21T10:00:16.573Z

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweets about ‘hugely promising’ data on falling coronavirus deaths

Following the latest ONS figures on coronavirus-related deaths, Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: “Whilst every death is a tragedy, this data is hugely promising. #Coronavirus deaths have fallen for the 12th consecutive week & for the 4th consecutive week, total deaths in Britain are lower than normal for this time of year.”


2020-07-21T09:50:00.000Z

‘Bumpy months ahead’ for UK amid coronavirus pandemic, says Prime Minister

Speaking at the first in-person Cabinet meeting since March 17, Boris Johnson said: “Whatever the current difficulties, and they will go on – we will have bumpy months ahead and as Rishi (Sunak, Chancellor) has rightly said, there will be difficult months ahead for our people and our country but no one will be without hope.” He added:

We will build back better and come through this crisis more strongly than ever before.

And for the next few months we have to strike a balance – we have to continue to push down on this virus and keep it under control in the heroic way the British people have managed so far

“But we must also cautiously, while observing the rules on social distancing, get our economy moving again and get our people back into work.

So I’m very glad that you’ve all decided to set an example this morning, come to meet face to face while observing social distancing, while being cautious, so thank you all very much. Now, let’s get on with our work.”


2020-07-21T09:43:28.260Z

Boris Johnson makes a joke about the large room required to facilitate a socially-distanced meeting at the Foreign Office as ministers resume in-person Cabinet meetings

The Prime Minister told his team of ministers: “Welcome to the Locarno Suite, which is the Foreign Office’s idea of a modest seminar room, conducted on such an opulent scale that we can both observe social distancing and meet as an entire Cabinet face to face, which I’m sure you’ll agree is the right thing to do because we need – every human being needs – the energy and the stimulation that comes from face-to-face meetings – nothing propinks like propinquity, as I think somebody once said.

“We have a huge amount of work to do and we have to get on with it.

“It is now a year or less since this radical and reforming One Nation Conservative Government was elected and I hope I speak for everyone in this room when I say we will not be blown off course by the coronavirus and we will get on with delivering our promises to the people, as indeed we are.”

(Simon Dawson/PA Wire)


2020-07-21T09:36:59.596Z

Leading scientist calls for more clarity from Governement during coronavirus pandemic

Francis Crick Institute director Sir Paul Nurse told the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee there had been “pass the parcel” during the coronavirus crisis.

“The issue I have is it’s not always been clear, at least to me and my colleagues, as to who is in charge exactly, and who has been making decisions,” he said.

“We have heard constantly that politicians say they are following the science, that’s good of course, but have they fully communicated that in a pandemic situation, especially at the beginning, science is tentative.”

Sir Paul told MPs:

My experience in talking to advisers and also politicians is that I have never found it too easy to find out who is actually responsible for the different parts of the strategy, and for that matter the tactics that are being put in place.

I have a sense there has been too much pass the parcel. That is, you talk to somebody and they say, ‘well, we are only responsible for part of the system, we’re not responsible for the other part of the system’.

I feel that we haven’t had a good Government system in place.”


2020-07-21T09:14:23.830Z

Just over 56,100 deaths involving Covid-19 have now been registered in the UK, according to latest ONS figures

Figures published on Tuesday by the ONS show that 51,096 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to July 10, and had been registered by July 18.

Figures published last week by the National Records for Scotland showed that 4,187 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to July 12, while 844 deaths had occurred in Northern Ireland up to July 10 (and had been registered up to July 15) according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Together these figures mean that so far 56,127 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.


2020-07-21T08:56:45.170Z

Latest ONS stats reveal 366 deaths mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate in England and Wales in the week ending July 10

Of the deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending July 10, 366 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

This is down from 532 in the previous week, and the lowest number of deaths involving Covid-19 since the week ending March 20 (103 deaths).

There were a total of 8,690 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to July 10, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 560 fewer than the five-year average of 9,250.

This is the fourth week in a row that deaths have been below the five-year average.

The number of deaths in care homes and hospitals in the week to July 10 was also below the five-year average (283 and 901 deaths lower respectively), while the number of deaths in private homes was 706 higher than the five-year average.


2020-07-21T08:45:36.053Z

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street for the Cabinet meeting

Today’s meeting will take place in a large ventilated room in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London.

The office is said to be large enough to allow ministers to sit at least one metre apart.

(Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire)


2020-07-21T08:39:12.183Z

Rishi Sunak joins ministers heading to Cabinet

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer was seen arriving for a cabinet meeting, the first since mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

(REUTERS/Simon Dawson)


2020-07-21T08:34:48.616Z

Michael Gove walks through Downing Street to participate in the first in person cabinet meeting since the coronavirus lockdown

(Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)


2020-07-21T08:25:07.336Z

Boris Johnson makes his way to the first in-person Cabinet meeting since March 17

For four months the Cabinet has met virtually to avoid spreading the coronavirus. But on Tuesday morning, in-person Cabinet meetings will resume in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

(Jeremy Selwyn)


2020-07-21T08:00:00.000Z

Regulators face tough decisions on whether to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, says professor

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said regulators would face a tough decision on whether to approve a vaccine.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Probably the toughest job of anybody will be the regulator who has to make the call on whether this is safe and effective in a way that it can be rolled out to the population. I would not want that job.”

If the regulators say “yes” then “there will be a queue of 3.5 billion people” around the world for the vaccine.

But he said there is no chance of totally eliminating coronavirus in the global population so any form of treatment would be valuable.

“We are never going to eliminate this virus from the global population, we can forget that, that’s never happening, so I think we have got to learn to live with this virus, and if we can stop it from progressing and making people really ill and killing them, that’s a pretty good result.”


2020-07-21T07:51:25.233Z

Killings rise in Mexico during coronavirus pandemic

The number of homicides in Mexico has grown during the new coronavirus pandemic, including a 9.2% spike in killings of women, government figures have revealed.

The data for the first half of 2020 showed homicides increased 1.9% to 17,982, as compared to 17,653 in the same period of 2019.

Activists have long feared that the increased confinement of families to their homes would increase killings of women, and they indeed grew from 448 in the first half of 2019 to 489 in the same period of 2020.

Some experts had hoped the lockdown caused by the coronavirus would limit the drug gang activity that is a major cause of the violence, but on Monday the Mexican defence department released an analysis saying that a disturbing video of massed drug cartel gunmen posted online last week was genuine and had received about 16 million views in a few days.