LiveCoronavirus live blog: latest updates as British national with Covid-19 dies on cruise ship

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Almost-empty shelves where pasta would normally be stocked are pictured inside a supermarket store in north London (Photo: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image: WHO)

We will be providing live updates until 6pm this evening.

Coronavirus live blog, April 1

Last updated: Wednesday, 01 April, 2020, 17:45

And that concludes today's press conference and today's live blog. 

We'll be back from 8am tomorrow. 

'Dangerous second peak if social distancing measures lifted too early'

Mr Sharma warned a "dangerous" second peak of cases could develop if the social distancing measures imposed by the Government were lifted too early.

He said: "People will understand across the country why we have put these restrictions in place and the Prime Minister was very clear they were for an initial three-week period and we would review them.

"But what's also really important is that if we stop these too quickly, there is a possibility that that massive effort people have made across the country is wasted and we could potentially see a dangerous second peak.

"We absolutely want to avoid that."

Prof Doyle added: "I think it is important to say we are looking at this through the scientific lens, as well as through modelling and through the information we are getting through clinical cases as to how this epidemic is progressing.

"We will be guided by that. We obviously want to make the right call at the right time on this and it is something that we have to keep reviewing every week."

'Government isn't dragging its feet on testing'

Yvonne Doyle is now being quizzed on the antibody test. 

She says it's important that"the test is valid" and rejects claims that the government is "dragging it's feet". 

Professor Doyle has now stated that the aim is to rapidly scale up the testing of NHS staff. 

She says that the intention is to go from thousands to hundreds of thousands of tests in the coming days. 

25,000 tests a day the new target

"Increasing testing capacity is absolutely the government's top priority," according to Alok Sharma.

He says we are now at 10,000 tests a day and Public Health England (PHE) has distributed 390m items of PPE.

Professor Doyle says PHE are looking to expand their capacity of 10,000 tests a day to 25,000 a day. 

'Slightly concerning trend in motor vehicle usage and rise in cases'

Yvonne Doyle is speaking now. 

She is highlighting the "slightly concerning" trend that motor vehicle traffic use has increased in the past day. 

She says that "People do need to stay at home... Everyone needs to do this.

Again, Doyle describes the rise in cases as "slightly concerning". 

The UK has seen three days of increases in cases in a row. 

She reiterates that the best way to protect the NHS is to stay at home. 

Alok Sharma: 'Together we will pull through'

The Chancellor is set to outlay further help for businesses in the coming days according to Alok Sharma. 

He finishes his opening statement by saying "times our tough, but together we will pull through."

Alok Sharma: 'Banks must repay favour for 2008 bailout'

Alok Sharma is speaking now, he is joined by Professor Yvonne Doyle from public Health England. 

Sharma says "we're taking unprecedented" action to increase capacity. 

He describes the death of a 13-year-old as tragic and says that this shows the virus "does not discriminate".

As has become tradition in these briefings the minister gives thanks to frontline workers and the millions for staying at home. 

He also thanks businesses for willingness to adapt and contribute to the effort. 

He insists government will do all they can to support all of our businesses and highlights that they have already taken unprecedented action. 

Sharma now says that from today businesses will benefit from business rate relief and grants up to £25,000. 

Local authorities have so far received £12bn in the form of grants for small businesses. He says that this money must reach businesses as soon as possible. 

He adds that banks must not unfairly refuse funds to good businesses in financial difficulty.

He says as the taxpayer stepped into bailout the banks in 2008, the banks will no repay the favour. 

Daily press briefing imminent

The  daily press briefing will get under way shortly.

Stay tuned.

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two. 

Ian Hewitt, All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman said: "This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen."

"It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of the Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year's Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon's resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.

"Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times."

Alok Sharma to head daily press briefing

Business Secretary Alok Sharma will chair today's daily press briefing in the place of the Prime Minister who is currently self-isolating.

2,000 NHS staff tested

Just 2,000 frontline NHS England staff have been tested for coronavirus out of around 1.2 million people who work for NHS England.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "In terms of NHS frontline staff who have been tested overall, it's now over 2,000 and staff will be getting the results fed back to them over the next few days."

He later added: "We're very clear that we want more testing to be carried out, and that we are working with NHS England, Public Health England and others to ensure that happens."

Some more on those numbers from the Department of Health.

The jump in coronavirus-related deaths in the UK from 1,789 to 2,352 is an increase of 563, the highest day-on-day rise since the outbreak began.

The total is 31% higher than yesterday.

UK death toll rises by over 500

Number 10: death of 13-year-old a tragedy

Downing Street has described the death of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab from the coronavirus as a "tragedy".

The teenager from Brixton, south London, died in King's College Hospital in the early hours of Monday, after having tested positive for Covid-19.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The case is obviously a tragedy and the Prime Minister's thoughts are with the family."

The spokesman declined to comment on reports that his family were not allowed to be at his hospital bedside.

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