Week Ahead: Captain Tom Moore turns 100 as testing target deadline looms

The nation’s new hero Captain Tom Moore will celebrate turning 100 as the Government aims to reach its testing target promise. Chris Burn looks at the Week Ahead.

British World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore, 99, poses doing a lap of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine, 50 miles north of London, on April 16, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

CAPTAIN TOM’S BIG DAY

After his mission to raise money for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday was successfully completed by the extraordinary Captain Tom Moore, the proud Yorkshireman will mark his big day on Thursday.

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Originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire, Captain Moore trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the Army for the Second World War, rising to captain and serving in India and Burma.

His charity mission captured the hearts of the nation and has raised more than £28m for the NHS in the process.

He was invited to open the new Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate last week and has been personally thanked by the Duke of Cambridge, who described him as a “one-man fundraising machine”, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is looking at ways to recognise his “heroic efforts”.

A Spitfire flypast is also reportedly being organised to mark his centenary year, with the Daily Telegraph reporting a team of aircraft restorers are looking to run a Second World War-era display at the end of the month.

TESTING TIMES

Back on April 2, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the nation he was setting the goal of 100,000 tests for coronavirus being carried out in the UK each day by the end of the month. He added: “That is the goal and I am determined that we will get there.”

With May 1 on Friday, the Government has just a matter of days to reach the target - with fewer than 25,000 tests per day being carried out as of last week.

The Government has expanded its testing programme to all key workers and their households if they have symptoms.

Under the expansion of testing, NHS and social care staff, police officers, teachers, social workers, undertakers, journalists and those who work in supermarkets and food production are among those now eligible.

People can register for a test on the gov.uk website and will receive a text or email with an appointment at a drive-through centre.

Alternatively they can request a home test kit to be posted to them, although the latter are currently in limited supply.

RETAIL WOES REVEALED

Tuesday marks the publication of the latest CBI Monthly Distributive Trades Survey, which details trends in the retail, wholesaling and motor trades and are expected to make particularly grim reading following the events of the past few weeks.

Their last survey in March showed that even before the national lockdown had taken effect, the retail industry was facing its biggest sales fall for more than a decade despite the coronavirus outbreak leading to increased demand for groceries.

Supermarkets reported “exceptionally strong growth” in sales volumes in the year to March, as did specialist food and drink firms. However, most other sectors reported sharp falls in sales volumes, including clothing, furniture and ‘other normal goods’ - such as flowers and jewellery.

More bad news is expected this week, with retailers last month more pessimistic than at any time since April 2009 when the impact of the global financial crash was still unfolding.

ROYAL CELEBRATIONS

There is double cause for celebration for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this week. William and Kate will be marking their ninth wedding anniversary on Wednesday, while their daughter Princess Charlotte will be turning five on Saturday.

Don’t be surprised to see some new pictures of Charlotte taken by Kate published - the Duchess is a keen photographer and patron of the Royal Photographic Society.

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