Published On: Sun, May 24th, 2020

Coronavirus latest: Boris Johnson to provide crucial lockdown update to public next week | UK | News


The Prime Minister will hold a Cabinet meeting of his senior ministers on Monday to discuss ways in which the UK can further ease lockdown restrictions. This will likely include an update on the reopening of schools and possibly non-essential retail. The Government will begin its test and trace system, and the Prime Minister will advise the public on what the data and research is indicating about the outbreak.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “A test and trace system allows us to isolate new infections so that we can control the spread of this virus, which will be vital while coronavirus remains present in the UK.”

Earlier today, the UK announced 1282 more deaths from coronavirus across all settings, including a 12-year-old child with undisclosed underlying health conditions.

The new fatalities takes the death toll in Britain to 36,675.

The 12-year-old victim was from England and is the fourth child under the age of 15 to die from the virus in the UK.

police uk lockdown

Coronavirus latest: Boris Johnson hhas issued a fresh warning over COVID-19 symptoms (Image: GETTY)

In the 24-hour period to 9am on Saturday, 116,585 tests were carried out or dispatched, with 2,959 positive results.

A total of 3,348,507 tests have so far been carried out and 257,154 cases have been confirmed positive.

There were 675 estimated hospital admissions in England on Thursday (May 21) – down from 736 a week earlier on May 14.

SEE BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES:

coronavirus uk lockdown

The Government has announced a plan to gradually lift lockdown restrictions across the UK (Image: EXPRESS)

Sunday May 24

3.00am update: David Guake 

Former Justice Secretary David Guake has called for regionalised plan for ending lockdown. 

Writing in Conservative Home, Mr Guake said: 

Easing the lockdown was never going to be straightforward. “The public was broadly united in supporting its introduction; we are divided on how we escape it. Our attitudes, shaped by circumstance and temperament, vary greatly. For some, the current restrictions are an unconscionable constraint on our liberties; for others, any relaxation is a reckless gamble with the lives of thousands. A third category is uncertain as to what is now allowed and confused as to the rationale for any particular changes.

“For my own part, I think the broad strategy of the Government is sensible. A wholesale abandonment of the lockdown would be reckless and ineffective in terms of reviving the economy.

“It is not the lockdown that is changing people’s behaviour; it is the fear of the virus. But nor should the Government simply maintain a lockdown which had elements that look to be largely irrelevant in terms of reducing the death toll, but which significantly diminished our prosperity or quality of life.

2.00am update: France voluntary quarantine 

France will from Monday introduce a voluntary two week quarantine for French citizens and permanent residents travelling from outside the European Economic Area. 

Travellers from countries within this area that have imposed quarantine restrictions, such as the UK and Spain, will be asked to quarantine. 

The interior ministry said:  “Travelers are called upon to show good citizenship and a sense of responsibility in order to implement this health precaution.” 

gavin newsom

Californians have marched in protest against Governor Gavin Newsom (Image: GETTY)

1.00am update: Californians march against Newsom 

According to Newsweek, 2,000 Califronians marched to the state capitol in Sacremento to protests Governor Gavin Newsom's stay at home order. 

Cosmetologist and hair stylist La Donna Christensen offered hair cuts to passersby and told The Sacramento Bee:  “We're going to do haircuts for donations, basically try to show that being in the cosmetology industry … is one of the most sanitary industries in the state.

“Why do they close down the salons but we can go to Home Depot, Walmart, Target? It's ridiculous.”

Mr Newsom has not respond to Newsweek's request for comment. 

12.00am update: Infection 

Research has suggested that patients are no longer infectious 11 days after getting sick. 

The paper was released on Saturday by Singapore's National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and Academy of Medicine's Chapter of Infectious Disease Physicians.

Professor Leo Yee Sin, executive director of the NCID, said: “Scientifically, I'm very confident that there is enough evidence that the person is no longer infectious after 11 days.”

Saturday May 23

11pm update: Chinese trial 

Chinese military scientists have seen positive results in a vaccine trial in which they say no patients showed adverse effects. 

Major General Chen Wei, the scientist leading the military researchers, said in statement: “These results represent an important milestone.

“The trial demonstrates that a single dose produces virus-specific antibodies and T cells in 14 days, making it a potential candidate for further investigation.

“However, these results should be interpreted cautiously. The challenges in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine are unprecedented, and the ability to trigger these immune responses does not necessarily indicate that the vaccine will protect humans from Covid-19.”

Gursimran Hans has taken over live reporting from Paul Withers. 

9pm update: Dominic Cummings made SECOND 250-mile trip during lockdown as row escalates – report

Boris Johnson's senior adviser was spotted with his wife in Houghall Woods near the family's home in Durham on April 19 – two weeks after he was first spotted there.

Mr Cummings on Saturday refused to resign and said he acted legally and responsibly.

A joint investigation by the Sunday Mirror and Observer claims Mr Cummings was spotted for a second time after he had recovered himself from COVID-19.

7.30pm update: US reports nearly 2,000 new deaths from COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the number of deaths from coronavirus has increased by 1,852 to 96,002.

There was fresh 24,268 cases as of 4pm ET on Friday, with this overall total climbing to 1,595,885.

6.50pm update: Cummings has made policing lockdown ‘much harder'

Former Labour MP David Jamieson, who is now the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said in a statement: “The police's job of enforcing the lockdown has been made much harder after both the actions of Dominic Cummings travelling over 260 miles and the flexibility with which the Government now seem to interpret the guidance.

“People will now say there is one rule for them and one rule for the Prime Minister's political advisers.

“Across the country, millions of people are making sacrifices, including scores of police officers and staff who have separated from their families to protect their health and the health of the nation.

“It seems beyond belief that to justify the breach of guidance they appear to now be questioning the honesty and credibility of Durham Police.

“The Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, should sack Dominic Cummings forthwith, to restore public confidence and some credibility to his handling of this dreadful Covid-19 crisis.”

RISHI SUNAK

Rishi Sunak is expected to announce changes to the furlough scheme next week (Image: GETTY)

6.30pm update: Spain reports less than 50 new deaths

Spain's overnight death toll from coronavirus increased by 48 on Saturday, with the total now standing at 28,678.

The health ministry said the number of confirmed cases jumped from 234,824 from the previous day to 235,290.

6pm update: Labour calls for ‘urgent inquiry’ into Dominic Cummings' actions as lockdown row escalates

Labour has become the latest opposition political party to write to the head of the civil service to call for an urgent inquiry into the actions of Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings as a coronavirus lockdown row intensifies.

In a letter to Sir Mark Sedwill, Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: “The British people have made important and painful sacrifices to support the national effort, including being away from family in times of need.

“It is therefore vital that the Government can reassure the public that its most senior figures have been adhering to the same rules as everyone else.”

Labour also claim the explanation from Number 10 for Mr Cummings' behaviour “raised more questions than they answer”.

This includes when the Prime Minister was made aware of the decision from Mr Cummings to travel from London to Durham during lockdown.

4.38pm update: Boris gives Cummings his ‘full support'

The Prime Minister has given his “full support” to Dominic Cummings after he travelled 250 miles to northern England while his wife was displaying coronavirus symptoms.

Grant Shapps tells the daily briefing: “I can tell you that the PM provides Mr Cummings with his full support

4.32pm update: Shapps adds more on controversy surround Cummings

The Transport Secretary says steps were taken only to prevent Dominic Cummings' child being without “the necessary support”.

He tells the briefing: “Mr Cummings is in the public eye, but the reality of the matter is that a four-year-old child's welfare was the important thing.

“Parents ask themselves what they would do if they had if they no one else around and eventually you would have to turn to external support or try and be close enough to your family to provide that care, which is what happened in this case here.”

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Dominic Cummings is facing calls to resign from his role (Image: GETTY)

4.25pm update: Shapps responds to question over Cummings' 260-mile trip

The Transport Secretary is asked if Boris Johnson knew about about Dominic Cummings' actions and had approved them.

He says: “The important thing is that everyone remains in the same place whilst they are on lockdown which is exactly what happened in I think the case you're referring to with Mr Cummings.

“The Prime Minister will have known he was staying put and he didn't come out again until he was feeling better.”

“The guidance says if you're living with children keep following this advice to the best of your ability.

“However, we are aware that not all these measures will be possible depending therefore on circumstances.”

Mr Shapps continues: “In other words if you are in a position where you've got a young child in this case, four-years-old and you are worried about the welfare of that child and your ability to throw around them the wider network of support then clearly being somewhere where other members of the family can assist, by which I mean in this case younger other members of the family, then that might be the best place for you to settle and stay throughout the time that you're ill.

“And I think that's all that's happened in this case.”

4.15pm update: Hospital admissions continue to fall

People in hospital with coronavirus continues to fall

There are 9,331 people in hospital with COVID-19, which is down from 10,525 this time last week.

4.10pm update: UK mobility data for May 14-17

The data shows 86 percent of people left their homes, with the most common reasons being shopping for basis necessities and outdoor exercise.

Just over four in 10 (41 percent) of employed adults worked from home.

4.05pm update: Government reveals £283 million transport investment

Grant Shapps announces the Government is investing a further £283 million into roads, railways, buses and trams.

The £254 million for buses and £29 million for trams and light rail is aimed at increasing both frequency and capacity of services.

This will also ensure there is enough space on these transport vehicles to allow for social distancing.

The money is being spent on making changes to these vehicles, signage, deep cleaning and the provision of hand sanitiser.

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Grant Shapps defended Dominic Cummings during the Downing Street briefing (Image: SKY NEWS)

4pm update: Further 282 people die from coronavirus

Grant Shapps begins today's briefing from Downing Street by announcing an additional 282 people have died from coronavirus across all settings in the UK.

This increases the death toll to 36,675 people.

In the 24-hour period to 9am on Saturday, 116,585 tests were carried out or dispatched, with 2,959 positive results.

A total of 3,348,507 tests have so far been carried out and 257,154 cases have been confirmed positive.

There were 675 estimated hospital admissions in England on Thursday (May 21) – down from 736 on May 14.

3.45pm update: Labour MP attacks Cabinet support for Dominic Cummings

Yvette Cooper, chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, wrote on Twitter: “The truly awful thing is that Cabinet Ministers know that in a public health crisis, unclear messages, lack of trust, or credibility cost lives.

“They know this, yet they've chosen – CHOSEN – to rip up all their public health messages to push their party political lines instead.”

3.30pm update: Downing Street briefing to be hosted by Grant Shapps

Today's daily briefing from Downing Street will begin at 4pm and be led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. 

He will be joined by  England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries.  

3pm update: UK announces 180 new deaths – including 12-year-old child

Britain has announced a further 180 people have died from coronavirus – a 12-year-old child with undisclosed underlying health conditions – with the death toll increasing to 35,573.

The youngster from England is the fourth child under the age of 15 to die from COVID-19 in the UK.

Today's figure is the lowest Saturday total since March 21 – two days before lockdown measures were enforced throughout the country.

This number is calculated using individual reporting from each of the UK's four nations and does not include deaths in care homes.

Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Laura O'Callaghan.

2.45pm update: Sixteen more die of coronavirus in Scotland

The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in Scotland has risen to 2,261, according to the latest figures.

It marks an increase of 16 on the previous day when the figure was 2,245.

The Health Protection Scotland statistics also indicate 15,041 people have now tested positive for the virus north of the border, up by 72 from 14,969 on Friday.

2.41pm update: Northern Ireland death toll rises to 505

The number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland has risen to 505 after one more death was reported by the Department of Health.

The department also reported a further 41 cases of confirmed Covid-19, bringing the total number of positive cases in Northern Ireland to 4,545.

The number of people tested for the virus over the last 24 hours was 1,183.

IAN BLACKFORD

The SNP's leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, has called for an investigation into Mr Cummings (Image: GETTY)

2.07pm update: NHS England says 157 people have died of COVID-19

NHS England has announced 157 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 25,545.

Of the 157 new deaths announced on Saturday, 30 occurred on May 22, 81 occurred on May 21 and 19 occurred on May 20.

The figures also show 24 of the new deaths took place between May 1 and May 19, and the remaining three deaths took place in April with the earliest new death on April 22.

The figures published today by NHS England show April 8 continues to have the highest number for the most hospital deaths occurring on a single day, with a current total of 891.

2.01pm update: SNP seeks ‘immediate investigation' into Cummings' lockdown movements

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party's (SNP) leader in Westminster has demanded an investigation into the Dominic Cummings' “rule-breaking” as he accused Boris Johnson's Government of covering-up the No10 adviser's actions. 

In a statement, Mr Blackford said: “I have written to Sir Mark Sedwill seeking an immediate investigation into the rule-breaking and the Tory Government's cover-up – and to call for Dominic Cummings to resign or be sacked.

“Boris Johnson must answer serious questions about his role in this incident and the cover-up – including when he found out, when he heard about the police action, why Mr Cummings wasn't sacked immediately, and why he kept the public in the dark for eight weeks until a newspaper broke the story.

“Dominic Cummings' position is completely untenable. This is a matter of leadership and judgment for the Prime Minister who must prevent lasting damage to his Government and his own reputation.

“Millions of us have made huge sacrifices over the months to obey the rules, while Boris Johnson's most senior adviser was breaking them. There cannot be one rule for the Tory Government and another for the rest of us.

“The excuses are not credible. There was absolutely nothing in the list of reasons under the law for leaving the house that allowed someone to travel the length of the country to stay with their parents, particularly not someone who was known to have the virus.”

1.18pm update: Hancock defends Cummings in lockdown row

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has jumped to Dominic Cummings defence in the row over his decision to travel to Durham during the height of the lockdown. 

Mr Hancock, who has recovered from coronavirus, tweeted: “I know how ill coronavirus makes you.

“It was entirely right for Dom Cummings to find childcare for his toddler, when both he and his wife were getting ill.”

12.38pm update: Vatican Museums, Holy See's cash cow, to reopen from June 1

The Vatican Museums will reopen on June 1, the Vatican said on Saturday, ending a closure caused by the coronavirus lockdown that has drained the Holy See's coffers.

A statement said the Museums, which house some of the world's greatest Renaissance masterpieces as well as ancient Roman and Egyptian artefacts, can be visited from the beginning of June, though only by making on-line reservations in order to control the number of people.

Visitors will have their temperatures checked and will have to wear masks and use hand sanitizer. Staff will wear masks and gloves and health workers will be on hand.

Similar conditions will apply to visitors to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.

Italian museums began reopening on May 18 as part of a staged easing of lockdown measures in the country where nearly 33,000 people have died from the virus.

bournemouth beach

Thousands of sun seekers headed to Bournemouth beach this week to enjoy the weather (Image: PA)

11.54am update: Cumming's journey up north was ‘most unwise' – police chief

Dominic Cummings' lockdown journey from London to County Durham was “most unwise”, the county's acting police and crime commissioner said.

In a statement, Steve White said: “Given the whole ethos of the guidance and regulations issued from the Government was to reduce the spread, regardless of reason, by travelling to County Durham when known to be infected was most unwise.

“To beat this crisis we need to be selfless as millions have been. The response by the people of County Durham and Darlington have been exemplary, which makes this most frustrating and concerning.”

Mr White, a former head of the Police Federation in England and Wales, added: “Incidents such as this do not help, and I can appreciate that the longer this goes on the harder it gets, but I encourage the people of County Durham and Darlington to keep up the outstanding effort seen so far by using common sense when following the guidance to stay alert and continue to social distance.”

11.29am update: Do you think Dominic Cummings should resign – Vote in our Express.co.uk poll

Dominic Cummings is facing growing calls to resign as the Prime Minister's chief strategist after allegedly being caught flouting the Government's strict lockdown rules by travelling to his parents' home in Durham.

Do you think he should step down?

10.40am update: Public slam Cummings over alleged lockdown breach

Britons abiding by the Government's lockdown measures have slammed the “hypocrisy” of the Prime Minister's chief adviser following reports he travelled to his parents' home despite coronavirus travel restrictions.

Police have confirmed they attended a property in County Durham after it emerged that Dominic Cummings travelled more than 260 miles from his London home during the lockdown Boris Johnson had just announced.

Members of the public took to social media to pile pressure on Downing Street to sack the 48-year-old strategist.

Some users said they had not left their home to see their family since February, while others said the reports were making their “blood boil”.

One user, who gave his name as Tony, tweeted that he was unable to hug his father at his mother's funeral, saying he was “frankly appalled”.

He said: “The lack of care or thought for other people in not following the necessary guidelines to ‘flatten the curve' by someone who was self-proclaiming their infection with the virus.

“The hypocrisy is unbelievable.”

bournemouth beach

An influx of travellers descended on Bournemouth beach this week (Image: PA)

9.53am update: UK to require employers to pay 20-30 percent of furloughed wage cost

The Treasury has drawn up plans to require employers to cover 20-30 percent of furloughed employees' wages from August to reduce the vast burden of the coronavirus crisis on government finances, The Times newspaper reported.

The Government extended its job retention scheme – the centrepiece of its attempts to cushion the coronavirus hit to the economy – by four months on May 12, but told employers they would have to help to meet its cost from August.

The Times said: “The Treasury has drawn up plans that would require employers to cover between 20 and 30 per cent of people's wages.

“They would also be required to cover the cost of employer's national insurance contributions, on average 5 per cent of wages.”

A spokesman for Rishi Sunak declined to comment on the report.

Mr Sunak is expected to announce the changes next week, The Times said.

The Chancellor said on Friday that Britain was facing a “very serious economic crisis” and jobs would be lost in the “days, weeks and months to come”.

8.44am update: Expert says schools should be allowed to reopen

Professor Russell Viner, senior author of a report for University College London which stated that children have half the chance of catching coronavirus compared to adults, said schools should be allowed to reopen.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: “Children are the safest group to be out of lockdown, to be out in the wild.

“Covid-19 generally barely affects children and young people and actually we've shown that they are about half as susceptible.

“For children themselves, we need to balance the risk of not opening our schools for children's health and wellbeing, particularly their mental health, is high. I think there is no doubt in my mind for children themselves, the balances are clearly in favour of going back to school.”

He said the risks to the wider community could be managed with an effective track-and-trace system, a phased restart of schools by age group, putting in place good hygiene and social distancing for pupils and teachers, and monitoring what happens with transmission as a result.

He added: “We need to prepare to step back for a minute if there are issues.”

8.39am update: Russia reports 9,434 new coronavirus cases

Russia’s total number of cases now stands at 335,882.

dominic cummings

Boris Johnson's adviser Dominic Cummings is facing calls to resign over an alleged breach of the lockdown rules (Image: GETTY)

8.30am update: Police warn about fines for beach-goers staying overnight

Police have issued a warning to people planning on travelling to the beach ahead of a scorching bank holiday weekend, saying anyone suspected of staying overnight risks being fined.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Underwood said officers would not hesitate to “use enforcement” if the need arises when dealing with an influx of travellers.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said Friday was the busiest day in nine weeks for police in Bournemouth.

Thousands flocked to the strand, voted Britain’s best beach, to soak up the sun two months into the lockdown. And even bigger crowds are expected this weekend as temperatures soar to beyond 20C.

When asked if the numbers arriving in Bournemouth were becoming a problem, he said: “Yes, they are.

“And, of course, there is the obvious dilemma of the lockdown reducing and normal policing picking up starting to realise itself.

“For example, yesterday was the busiest day for Bournemouth police for nine weeks – it was a normal Friday but yet the police were the busiest they have ever been because things are starting to pick up and numbers are increasing.”

He said officers are worried about people travelling to the South West for overnight stays – something which is not permitted under Boris Johnson’s lockdown rules.

Mr Underwood warned anyone planning to stay in the region for a night or two runs the risk of being slapped with a fine.

He added: “The main issue we are worried about is the influx of people coming into Dorset and of course there are two issues – one is travelling to the South West and the other is people attempting to stay in the South West.

“If you are stopped on an arterial road in the South West the five forces could stop you and question you, and if they think you are planning on staying overnight, they can then go to the next level.

“They will use enforcement if they have to.”



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