UK coronavirus LIVE: Brits applaud NHS heroes in latest clap for carers as official death toll passes 36,000

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  • May 21, 2020
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Brits have taken to their doorsteps to cheer healthcare workers for the latest Clap for our Carers after Boris Johnson made the U-turn decision to removed the NHS surcharge for foreign staff.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that a new coronavirus test that gives results in just 20 minutes is being trialled in the UK. The swab test does not need to be sent to the lab and would show if someone currently has Covid-19.

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland will start to ease its lockdown next week but schools won’t open till August.

In other news, the Government struck a major deal to roll out antibody tests on the NHS, ONS figures released today suggest more than 60,000 new virus infections are happening in England every week and the official UK death toll rose past 36,000 with an increase of 338.

Follow our live updates below…

Live Updates


Kate and Will virtually visit care home:

Will and Kate turn bingo hosts in surprise virtual visit to care home

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge turned bingo hosts for the first time in a surprise virtual visit to a care home.

The royal couple joined residents at the Shire Hall Care Home, in Cardiff, via a video call from Anmer Hall, Norfolk, as residents played bingo in the home’s cinema.  


Kate Garraway says her heart sinks “every day” as her husband struggles with coronavirus

Kate Garraway has said that her heart sinks “every day” as she learns “new and devastating ways” coronavirus is affecting her husband, who is in hospital being treated for the virus.

Sharing a video of the weekly clap for carers, she said on Instagram: “I didn’t even know Darcey had bought this t shirt on line ( with my card !) until she emerged tonight but I do know how grateful she is to the #nhs – I couldn’t be prouder of how she & Billy have coped with these past 2 horrific months for our family – always finding ways of lifting our spirits & staying strong even when they can see me wobbling.

“It’s so wonderful to see little green shoots of hope that this dreadful disease is easing and that hopefully soon we might all be able to see each other again and hug our nearest and dearest.

“But the journey for me and my family seems to be far from over as every day my heart sinks as I learn new & devastating ways this virus has more battles for Derek to fight. But he is still HERE & so there is still hope.”


A reminder that the Government says it is rolling out more than 10 million antibody tests across the UK.


Many of London’s leading homeless organisations have reiterated the Evening Standard’s call for action to be taken to stop the city’s rough sleepers being turned back onto the streets once lockdown is ended. 


The US Government says the number of Americans out of a job since the coronavirus crisis struck two months ago has climbed to nearly 39 million, even as states from coast to coast gradually reopen their economies and put people back to work.


An antibody surveillance study suggests 17 per cent of people in London and around 5 per cent of the rest of the nation have coronavirus antibodies, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. 


Half of Facebook’s workforce could shift to working from home in next 10 years

Half of Facebook’s workforce could shift to permanent home working by the end of the decade, founder Mark Zuckerberg has revealed.

The social network’s chief set out his vision to employees on Thursday, prompted by the current coronavirus crisis which has forced companies across the globe to embrace remote working in recent months.

Mr Zuckerberg said it is “quite possible” that over the next five to 10 years about 50% of staff at the company could be working from home, though he warned that those interested could see salaries cut if they decide to be located away from big cities where living expenses tend to be higher.

The tech giant also plans to “aggressively open up” remote hiring, though the process will be staggered, starting with experienced engineers living in the US and Canada.

“This is fundamentally about changing our culture, in the way that we all are going to work long-term, so I think I’m optimistic about this direction, but I want to make sure that we move forward in a measured way,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“At the same time, I also want to emphasise that I just think Covid is going to be with us for a while to come.”

The 36-year-old hopes that the move will help retain workers that want to live in areas further away from offices, while attracting new talent from further afield.


Celebrities urge Muslims to celebrate Eid at home

Great British Bake-Off winner Nadiya Hussain and Citizen Khan creator Adil Ray have urged Muslims celebrating Eid this weekend to follow the guidance on social distancing.

The religious festival marking the end of Ramadan is normally a time when families and friends get together but this year due to coronavirus people are being reminded not to gather.

In a video shared online and featuring others including former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq and comic Abdullah Afzal, Muslims are encouraged to stay at home, celebrate with families online and not to gather in large groups at mosques or in parks to pray.

Hussain says this “could not be a better time to put others first”, while Huq tells viewers: “By following the guidance we are helping to protect not just ourselves but also our families.”

At Thursday’s Downing Street press conference, a member of the public asked about advice for those preparing to celebrate this weekend.

Mehwish from Coventry asked: “With the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) coronavirus death rate being relatively high, will you be advising the Muslim community to stay at home or stay alert during the upcoming three-day celebration of Eid?

“If not, what is your advice for them? As a member I am concerned that some people may be finding ways to flout the rules like having garden parties or gatherings.”


An Irish dancer performs outside the Belfast City Hospital in south Belfast, during Thursday’s nationwide Clap for Carers initiative to recognise and support NHS workers and carers fighting the coronavirus pandemic​


Read all about the creative ways people marked Clap for our Carers this week

UK applauds NHS heroes as Government scraps immigration surcharge

Brits have taken to their doorsteps, windows and balconies to clap for key workers just hours after the Government agreed to remove foreign NHS and care workers from the immigration health surcharge.

Streets around the UK were filled with the sound of clapping, cheering, and pots clanging as people paid tribute to healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.


And here’s the weekly tweet from the PM: 


100-year-old Dabirul Choudhury, who’s raised over £177,000 for coronavirus relief, joins the applause:


Sunetra Gupta, a professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, at the University of Oxford, called for a “rapid exit” from the coronavirus lockdown:

‘Strong possibility’ pubs could safely reopen now, scientist says

Evening StandardThere is a “strong possibility” that pubs and restaurants could safely reopen now, an Oxford scientist has suggested.

Sunetra Gupta, a professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, at the University of Oxford, called for a “rapid exit” from the coronavirus lockdown, saying that the outbreak was already “on the way out”.


Firemen join the tribute from Newport:


Boris Johnson joins the applause:


A maritime salute from this captain…


Here’s one way to salute the NHS…


Brits getting creative with “We Will Rock You” rendition:


It’s that time of week…


Shout out to all our NHS heroes from the Evening Standard!!!