UK coronvirus LIVE: Death toll jumps by 324 as weekend press conferences in Downing Street to be scrapped

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  • June 2, 2020
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The weekend Downing Street press conferences are being scrapped due to “significantly lower” viewing figures, amid growing questions over the Government’s handling of the epidemic.

The news comes as the number of people who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 jumped by 324.

Meanwhile, ministers have been accused of falling “well short” of expectations by publishing inadequate figures on coronavirus tests.

Britain’s statistics watchdog said the Government was fuelling public “mistrust” by using figures that were “still far from complete and comprehensible” when it came to testing.

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Anne Graham, chief executive officer at the National Transport Authority, said the Covid-19 restrictions had had a “profound and ongoing impact on the demand for public transport”.

Ms Graham said daily demand is now typically between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of what it was prior to mid-March.

She added:

Weekly demand in early March (prior to pandemic-related restrictions) was approximately 5.6 million passengers.

By mid-April this had declined to 500,000 passengers – less than 9 per cent of normal demand levels.

Although demand remains very low, some recovery in passenger numbers have been apparent in recent weeks, increasing from 500,000 weekly passengers in mid-April to approximately 700,000 in mid-May prior to the easing of restrictions.”


Here’s today’s figures added to our graphs. The broken blue line is the rolling seven-day average to illustrate the current trend


The secretary general of the Department of Health told the special Covid-19 Oireachtas committee  that passenger numbers are at around 1 per cent of their usual volumes.

Jim Breslin told the committee that now was the right time to put special conditions on people who are proposing to travel.

He added:

We need to maintain awareness that the danger has not passed, and that people are taking a risk of spreading the virus by engaging in non-essential travel.

The advice of NPHET (National Public Health and Emergency Team) to the Minister for Health on April 3 was that both the passenger locator form and a self-isolation for 14 days should become mandatory, and the Government has asked the Minister for Health to examine the issue of a 14-day self-isolation period for people arriving in the State.

This is being considered by several Government departments and will be subject to further Government consideration.”


324 people have died after contracting coronavirus in the past 24 hours, says Department of Health

The Department of Health said 39,369 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Monday, up by 324 from 39,045 the day before.

In the 24-hour period up to 9am on Tuesday, 135,643 tests were carried out or dispatched with 1,613 positive results.


MPs have defeated an amendment to restore remote voting in the House of Commons during the Covid-19 pandemic by 185 votes to 242, majority 57.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons leader, had tabled a motion to prevent the resumption of virtual voting, which has allowed MPs to legislate from home during the coronavirus pandemic.


MPs continue to share pictures and videos of long queues outside Commons on social media

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth tweeted: “Surely we can find a better way to vote in the Commons that this and one that allows those MPs shielding to take part as well??”

Labour Co-operative Lloyd Russell-Moyle joined several MPs who have shared pictures of long queues as the politicians wait to vote.


Several MPs shared their frustration at having to stand in a queue of hundreds to enter Parliament.

Labour’s Alex Sobel tweeted: “Absolutely ludicrous we’re queued all the way back in Portcullis House. MPs still coming! Real difficulty in social distancing.”

He shared a photo of House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, adding: “The man himself thinks it’s hilarious.”

Joanna Cherry of the SNP wrote: “Ludicrous scenes at Westminster in the conga voting queue which we are not allowed to photograph no doubt to avoid making a mockery of the place.”


The governor of Tokyo has issued a coronavirus alert for the Japanese capital amid worries of a resurgence of infections only a week after a state of emergency ended.

Governor Yuriko Koike issued a Tokyo alert on Tuesday after 34 new cases were confirmed in the city, where confirmed infections had slowed to a few per day in late May.

Ms Koike said: “The alert is to precisely inform the people of the status of infections and to advise caution.”

Lighting on Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge will be changed from rainbow-coloured to red as a sign of alert. However, the alert does not mean restrictions that just got eased will be reimposed immediately.

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)


At least 169 care workers and home carers have now died with coronavirus, according to data from Public Health England

Deaths among those in the care sector were 1.7 times higher during the pandemic compared to previous years, according to figures published on Tuesday.

The review by PHE found that, between March 21 and May 8, there were 548 deaths of all causes among care workers and home carers.

This is an increase of 232 from the same period in 2014 to 2018, while some 169 (73 per cent) of those excess deaths were due to Covid-19.

Six senior care workers were reported to have died with coronavirus, in addition to the 169 care workers and home carers.

Some 81 nurses, 51 nursing auxiliaries and assistants and 20 social workers have died with the virus according to PHE figures, which are of deaths registered of 20 to 64-year-olds in England.


The equality watchdog has called on the Government to deliver a “comprehensive race equality strategy” following the Public Health England report on coronavirus.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “This is further evidence that ethnic minorities are at greater risk of dying from coronavirus.

“But people are more than statistics, and we cannot afford to ignore the broader context of entrenched race inequality across all areas of life.

“Only a comprehensive race equality strategy will address these issues.

“Now is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Government to deliver one.”


Liberal Democrat MP shares picture of ‘ridiculous’ long queue of MPs waiting to vote

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West & Abingdon shared a picture on her Twitter page of politicians queuing to vote.

She said: “Each vote is going to take at least 30mins and we have 3 today. What a shower.”


Former whip Iain Stewart has been made a junior minister in the Scotland Office following the resignation of Douglas Ross

Mr Ross quit last week in protest at Dominic Cummings remaining in his Number 10 post amid allegations he broke lockdown rules.

Downing Street announced Mr Stewart would replace him as parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid will jointly be an unpaid parliamentary under-secretary of state in the Scotland Office and an unpaid Government whip.


Hundreds of ‘bed-blocking’ patients discharged in Scotland, figures show

Hundreds of elderly people were discharged from hospital into care homes and the community in the early days of the coronavirus crisis, new figures have shown.

Data from the NHS in Scotland showed there were 1,108 delayed discharge – also known as “bed blocking” – patients in hospitals aged over 75 in February.

This fell to 331 in April, though routine testing for Covid-19 of new admissions to care homes only began on April 21.

The Scottish Conservatives said it showed care homes were not protected from the virus.

Party leader Jackson Carlaw said:

These figures show very starkly how the over 75s were rushed out of hospital, either to care homes or back to the community. As we now know, they weren’t routinely tested for coronavirus.

These were the most vulnerable people in our society and they were sent out of hospital to places where they would mingle with equally vulnerable individuals.

It’s no wonder Covid-19 has spread like wildfire in our care homes.”


Gangs using lockdown as ‘recruitment drive’ for young people, charity warns

Gangs are using the coronavirus lockdown as a “recruitment drive” for vulnerable young people who can travel easier under the restrictions, a leading youth work charity has warned.

In a report published on Tuesday, the National Youth Agency (NYA) said the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has exposed more young people to gang-related activities and exploitation.

Gangs have adapted their activity rather than reducing overall, the charity said.

Leigh Middleton, chief executive officer of the NYA, said: “Because they’re not being seen by other trusted adults, young people are easier to get access to without being spotted that they’re having that dialogue.

“Gangs are adapting to that and are using this as an opportunity to engage with young people they’re not normally able to readily engage with because they’ve not got that support network around them that they might normally do.”


‘We could start to see no deaths by the end of this month’

Asked during a Science Media Centre briefing whether he expects deaths from Covid-19 to stop or plateau, Prof Carl Heneghan said: “There’s been a continued reduction in hospital deaths, care home outbreaks are coming down so the ‘all deaths’ by (week) 22 I’m expecting will be back to where we should be.

“The trend in the data suggests by the end of this month we should be in a period where we’re starting to see no deaths. But it also depends on what happens next, within sporadic outbreaks.”

He warned that there will be spikes in deaths with further outbreaks in care homes, adding:

This is an emergency to make sure they are protected and have the right level of testing to ensure none of the staff go in and transmit the disease to care homes that don’t have outbreaks at the moment.”


Labour’s Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, shadow minister for mental health, has tweeted:


Ibuprofen to be tested as treatment to reduce Covid-19 symptoms

A new trial has been launched to assess whether ibuprofen may hold the key to preventing severe breathing problems in Covid-19 patients.

Experts are assessing whether a special formulation of the cheap drug could help reduce the serious side effect seen among patients infected with the coronavirus.

It is hoped that the special formulation of the cheap anti-inflammatory drug, to be delivered at a certain point in illness among hospital patients, will reduce severe respiratory illness.

This could potentially lead to shorter hospital stays and fewer patients needing help in intensive care units (ICU).

The trial is for hospitalised patients, not those who have mild or suspected Covid-19, and participants will be drawn from those who are hospitalised, but not so ill they are in need of intensive care.