Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as 'UK set for further waves of coronavirus'

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Friday, 17th April 2020, 8:05 am
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 12:55 pm

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

An NHS staff member wipes her eyes as she holds a sign to thank British veteran Captain Tom Moore who raised over £13 million for the NHS (Photo: ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images)
An NHS staff member wipes her eyes as she holds a sign to thank British veteran Captain Tom Moore who raised over £13 million for the NHS (Photo: ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 16

Last updated: Friday, 17 April, 2020, 17:32

Scottish OAP raising money by climbing equivalent of Highland mountain

A 90-year-old woman who is climbing the equivalent of a Highland mountain on her staircase has exceeded her target to raise £10,000 for the NHS and a hospice.

Margaret Payne plans to climb the height of Suilven - 2,398ft - by making 282 trips upstairs.

She said 99-year-old veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised more than £18 million for the NHS through a charity garden walk, inspired her to take on the climb.

Head teacher should think about how to reopen schools

Head teachers should start making preparations on how schools could reopen their doors to children amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a union leader has said.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has suggested staggering the return of pupils, with Year 6s, Year 10s and Year 12s phased in first.

Mr Barton has urged heads to start thinking about how a return to school could be safely achieved once the health conditions permit it.

Head teacher should think about how to reopen schools

Head teachers should start making preparations on how schools could reopen their doors to children amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a union leader has said.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has suggested staggering the return of pupils, with Year 6s, Year 10s and Year 12s phased in first.

Mr Barton has urged heads to start thinking about how a return to school could be safely achieved once the health conditions permit it.

Furlough scheme extended by one month

The Government's furlough scheme has been extended by another month until the end of June, the Chancellor has confirmed.

Rishi Sunak said the decision had been made in light of the continued social distancing measures which were extended for a further three weeks on Thursday.

The scheme, which allows firms to furlough employees with the government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, was originally open for three months and backdated from March 1 to the end of May.

Alok Sharma is due to host today's daily press briefing at 5pm.

Stay tuned for live updates

Alok Sharma is speaking now. 

He is joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Doctor Yvonne Doyle

He confirms that over 400,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK. 

He reminds that social distancing measures will be in place for the next three weeks. 

Sharma reiterates that we mustn't relent and must stay vigilant. 

On the development of a new vaccine he says that he is announcing a vaccines taskforce to coordinate the efforts of government and academia to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine. 

The taskforce is led by Sir Patrick and Jonathan Van-Tam. 

He says the government have greenlit the development of 21 vaccine research projects. 

These projects will benefit from £14m of government funding. 

He thanks all those producing and developing vaccines. 

He says that there is still a long road ahead in developing a vaccine.

Sir Patrick is speaking now. 

He says we remain well placed due to the efforts in social distancing. 

He says there is "a little unevenness", particularly in areas where there haven't been so many cases.

Sir Patrick says that 5,500 have enrolled in clinical trials and we should get answers from these over the next weeks. 

He says there won't be a sudden drop in cases and deaths and it will take time for numbers to come down. 

The trio are taking questions now. 

On the target of 100,000 tests, Sharma says that the current capacity is 38,000 a day (just 21,000 were tested yesterday). 

He says "we are doing everything we can" to hit the target. 

Professor Doyle says we are on track and we have more capacity than demand. 

She says we are confident is there for those in social care. 

On the development of a vaccine Sir Patrick says the industry has stepped up and is looking at growing the capacity.

Sharma says he is speaking to businesses everyday and he knows how tough it is for many. 

He reminds that the furlough scheme has been extended. 

He said the key thing they wanted to achieve was to ensure that businesses could bounce back with employees in place to help do so.

Sir Patrick says that he has talked with the Edward Jenner Insitute who say they are confident that they will develop a workable vaccine. 

He tempers optimism saying that most vaccine trials do not work. 

He also says that we need to back projects abroad in order to stand a good chance of being front of the queue when a workable vaccine is developed. 

Doyle says there are investigations underway into the impact of the coronavirus on NHS workers. 

She says that not all deaths of NHS staff are workplace deaths. 

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