Coronavirus in UK live blog: Rishi Sunak to stand in for Prime Minister at daily press briefing

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

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 7:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 3:39 pm

Scroll down and read our coronavirus live blog as it happens.

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An ambulance leaves St Thomas' Hospital in central London, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care with symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 (Photo: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
An ambulance leaves St Thomas' Hospital in central London, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care with symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 (Photo: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image: WHO)

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

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Coronavirus live blog, April 8

Last updated: Wednesday, 08 April, 2020, 15:48

London 'has the capacity to deal with our needs'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said London - a hotspot for coronavirus in the UK - has "got the capacity now to deal with our needs" in terms of critical care beds.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Khan said: "A few weeks ago we started planning for the worst, which is a peak where we would need in London around 8,000 intensive care unit beds.

"To give you a scale of the challenge, we normally have across the whole of London about 800 intensive care unit beds with ventilators, oxygen and those sort of things. Because of the brilliance of the NHS, Army planners, and many others we've opened the Nightingale Hospital.

"We've got the capacity now to deal with our needs. At the moment, thankfully, we're nowhere near reaching 8,000.

"At the moment we've still got 25%, about there, capacity within the NHS (in London) before we even go to Nightingale, so it demonstrates the can-do attitude of not just Londoners but those around the country who have helped us get ready for the peak of this virus."

Johnson remains 'in stable condition'

Health minister Edward Argar has said Boris Johnson remains in a "stable condition" in intensive care and has not needed mechanical ventilation.

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mr Argar said: "The latest information, as Downing Street set out, I understand the Prime Minister is in a stable condition.

"He's comfortable and in good spirits. Although he had oxygen when he was admitted, he hasn't needed mechanical ventilation.

"And I think, judging by the emails I'm getting from around the country and indeed right across the political spectrum, the message is everybody sends him and Carrie their very best wishes and wishes him a very full and very speedy recovery."

Tui cancels more beach and cruise holidays

Travel firm Tui has said beach holidays up to and including May 14 and Marella Cruise holidays up to and including May 31 will no longer operate.

A spokeswoman said: "We are constantly monitoring the situation and will start taking people on holiday again as soon as we are able to do so."

London 'nowhere near' being able to lift lockdown restrictions

Despite saying London has the capacity to deal with its needs in terms of critical care beds, Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the capital is "nowhere near" being able to lift the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "When the Prime Minister announced the lockdown just over two-and-a-half weeks ago he said he would review it in three weeks' time which is this Monday.

"I think we're nowhere near lifting the lockdown. We think the peak - which is the worst part of the virus - is still probably a week-and-a-half away."

Country legend John Prine dies with coronavirus

Easter not the time to loosen restrictions

Dr Hans Kluge, World Health Organisation regional director for Europe, has said the upcoming Easter weekend was "not the time" to relax restrictions, despite the promise of good weather across much of Europe.

He said: "This is not the time to lower our guard. We must soldier on.

"We are in this together and we will get through this together."

Labour MP criticises use of "fight" when describing coronavirus

Cat owners can let pets outside

Worried cat owners have been reassured their pets can still leave the house during lockdown.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has clarified its advice on looking after cats during the coronavirus pandemic after its website crashed due to high volumes of traffic following reports suggesting all cats should be kept inside.

A BVA spokesman said the association had responded to questions from the BBC about advice for pet owners and gave both general advice and specific guidance for infected households, but had not made the distinction clear.

Twitter founder pledges $1bn to coronavirus relief

ONS: Scottish deaths 354 as of April 5

Think tank The Resolution foundation have said that the government's plan to cover 80% of the salary of furloughed workers could cost up to £40 billion in just three month.

It suggests that between £30 billion and £40 billion could flow from Government coffers as at least a third of workers in the private sector are likely to be sent home.

Second NHS Nightingale hospital complete by Friday

Downing Street are saying that the second NHS Nightingale Hospital, which has been built at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, is to be opened on Friday.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said that it would initially have 500 beds to treat coronavirus patients, with the capacity to expand to 2,000.

"Huge credit should go to all those involved in getting the hospital set up so quickly," the spokesman said.

He added that the third Nightingale Hospital in Manchester was expected to open in "the next week or so".

14,000 tests carried out on Tuesday

Downing Street has said the most recent figures show 14,006 coronavirus tests were carried out on Tuesday in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Government has set a daily target of 100,000 tests to be achieved by the end of April.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the total number of tests conducted at drive-through sites for NHS staff has now reached 9,069.

In all, more than 20,000 NHS staff and their family members have been tested for the disease.

Welsh First Minister says lockdown to be extended

Sunak stands in for PM at daily press briefing

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will take today's daily press briefing at 5pm.

We will be providing live coverage

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