LiveCoronavirus in UK live blog: latest as Boris Johnson make first speech since hospitalisation

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A jogger passes Buckingham Palace; the 40th London Marathon was due to take place this weekend, but has been postponed until October due to coronavirus (Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 27

Last updated: Monday, 27 April, 2020, 18:20

Government looking into reports of coronavirus-related syndrome affecting children

Matt Hancock concludes the press briefing by saying that if you'd told him at the start of the pandemic the NHS wouldn't be overwhelmed he would have been pleased. 

That concludes today's daily press briefing and today's live blog. 

Government looking into reports of coronavirus-related syndrome affecting children

Prof Powis said he had asked experts to look into reports that a coronavirus-related syndrome among children may be emerging in the UK.

"We have become aware in the last few days of reports of severe illness in children which might be a Kawasaki-like disease.

"Both Chris (Whitty) and I are aware of that, and we have asked our experts, I have asked the National Clinical Director for Children and Young People to look into this as a matter of urgency."

He said PHE was also looking into it, adding: "We're not sure at the moment - it is really too early to say whether there is a link."

Prof Powis urged parents who are worried about a child who is sick and not recovering to seek medical help.

Government looking into reports of coronavirus-related syndrome affecting children

Prof Powis said he had asked experts to look into reports that a coronavirus-related syndrome among children may be emerging in the UK.

"We have become aware in the last few days of reports of severe illness in children which might be a Kawasaki-like disease.

"Both Chris (Whitty) and I are aware of that, and we have asked our experts, I have asked the National Clinical Director for Children and Young People to look into this as a matter of urgency."

He said PHE was also looking into it, adding: "We're not sure at the moment - it is really too early to say whether there is a link."

Prof Powis urged parents who are worried about a child who is sick and not recovering to seek medical help.

The trio are now taking a question on whether schools being reopened is an option in the coming weeks. 

Whitty says that there is room to manoeuvre while R (rate of infection) is below 1. He says this will ultimately be a decision made by ministers. 

Referring to the new life assurance scheme for the families of NHS staff who die with coronavirus, Mr Hancock said: "This is for frontline staff working in the NHS and in social care who die and are employees within the NHS and social care. 

"We are also looking at which other groups of key workers that applies to who don't have a scheme already in place.

Asked about UK testing compared to the rest of the world Mr Hancock says: "It is important to note that we have already gone past the number of tests, per day, for instance, that they carry out in South Korea.

"We are approaching the levels that Germany undertakes."

The trio are now asked whether reports that those arriving in the UK will be asked to quarantine for 14 days. 

Hancock says that as ever the government will be guided by science. 

He says as factor changes, the advice will change.

Hancock is asked whether the government is on target to meet the 100,000 tests a month goal.

He says that broadly speaking they are on target. 

Chris Whitty now says that the pandemic has a “very long way to run”.  The CMO says he's unwilling to put a number on a potential final death toll after the UK's death toll passed 20,000 this weekend

Member of public asks if it will be possible to hug loved ones soon

Professor Chris Whitty talks through today's slides. 

He says that he expects an increase in the death toll tomorrow, but says that the overall trend is a decline

The are now taking questions. 

First up is a member of the public who asks if it will be possible to hug loved ones once lockdown is loosened. 

Whitty says this depends on the situation that an individual finds themselves in. 

He says if an individual has a significant medical problem and who is older that it “might well be prudent… not to". 

He says that it's important hat those who are vulnerable continue to be protected. 

Hancock adds we understand the impact of not being able to hug close family. 

Hancock says there have been 360 new hospital deaths in the UK. 

He reveals that cancer treatments will now resume.

The Health Secretary starts by introducing the briefing's new format. 

From today members of the public will be allowed to ask questions at the daily press conference. 

He says that over 15,000 questions have been asked by the public.

Prime Minister to take part in minute's silence for frontline workers

Boris Johnson will observe the minute's silence for frontline workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We will be supporting the minute's silence.

"We will be asking everybody who works in the Government to take part and we would hope that others will take part nationwide as well."

Just 29,058 tests a day being carried out

The latest testing statistics showed the Government still appears to be way off meeting its 100,000 daily target by the end of the month.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said that 29,058 tests had been carried out in England, Scotland and Wales in the 24 hours up to 9am on Saturday.

But he cautioned that the numbers do have the "significant time lag" often seen on Monday, not reflecting the change over the weekend or the boost from the new testing portal.

War language could stop people seeking mental health help

Referring to the coronavirus outbreak as a war to be fought may deter people in a mental health crisis from seeking help, a charity has warned.

Suicide Crisis said the Covid-19 lockdown is causing "extreme mental suffering", but chief executive Joy Hibbins said those the charity is supporting "don't want to burden the NHS" at this time.

The charity has seen a "marked increase" in levels of distress and those seeking support, with a 40% rise in people getting in touch after it was announced that the lockdown would be extended.

Ms Hibbins said: "There is a sense in which we are all trying to pull together in the national interest and in particular to defeat the virus.

"For some people, that will help create a feeling of unity and shared purpose. However, some people may feel that they are 'letting the side down' if they acknowledge that they are struggling and need help.

"There are lots of references to being 'strong'. If we are all feeling that we need to be strong, then it can make it harder to seek help - or show vulnerability. People can start to have feelings of guilt and shame about being in crisis."

Riz Ahmed reveals he has lost wo family members to coronavirus

Riz Ahmed has said he has lost two family members to coronavirus, adding the pandemic crisis is "reflecting and revealing the faultlines in our society".

The Venom actor and rapper said he hopes the surge of appreciation for the NHS draws attention to prejudice against the ethnic minorities that keep it running.

He told GQ Hype: "I'm seeing reports of India, where the government are calling it 'corona-jihad' and they're trying to blame it on the spread of Muslims and they are segregating hospitals between Muslims and non-Muslims.

"Trump is using it as an excuse to try to ban immigration and the Hungarian government is centralising power off the back of this.

"I'm looking at the fact it's hitting African-Americans twice as hard; I'm looking at the fact that 50% of NHS frontline workers - is it 50%? - are ethnic minorities."

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