LiveCoronavirus in UK live blog: UK death toll rises to 26,097

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Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 5:59 pm

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A man holds a sign relating to the lack of PPE equipment for frontline NHS staff during a minute's silence outside Lewisham Hospital (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A man holds a sign relating to the lack of PPE equipment for frontline NHS staff during a minute's silence outside Lewisham Hospital (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 29

Last updated: Thursday, 30 April, 2020, 11:10

Jeremy Corbyn takes aim at Donald Trump

And finally ttwo questions from the public. 

One asks why the government has not yet introduced for people returning to the UK. 

Raab says that the government have repeatedly looked into this, but the evidence that it would make minimal difference. 

A second questions asks whether it would be feasible to move the elderly from care homes to Nightingale hospitals. 

Doyle says the hospitals are adaptable and can be used in different ways, including this one. 

She says that you would need to consider if this would be the right move for strained hospitals.

That concludes today's daily press briefing and today's live blog. Join us tomorrow at 8am for more live updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

Van-Tam is asked what social distancing might look like in schools once lockdown measures are loosened. 

The deputy CMO says he is not yet willing to go into this, because the science is still mixed. 

Van-Tam says that he thinks it would be difficult for children to remain two metres apart. 

The trio are asked if more testing early on could have made a difference for care homes. 

Raab says that the government is constantly learning and will always be guided on the best medical advice. 

Doyle says there have always been interventions at care homes when necessary. 

Van-Tam is asked about the difference in how the virus spreads indoors and outdoors.

He says there is “a definite truism” that ventilation is the most critical part of reducing transmission from respiratory viruses. 

He says when outdoors distancing is bigger and outdoor spaces with greater ventilation are less likely to be a breeding ground for viruses. 

Raab is asked how many of the government's 5 tests are currently being met. 

Raab says the NHS hasn't been overwhelmed, but the government need to wait for sage evidence in early May for all five tests.

Sky's Beth Rigby asks whether the UK is approaching a peak at care homes. 

Raab says Sage were very clear that the rate of infection r emained high in care homes and hospitals. 

He said its important to control the ebb and flow of people into care homes. 

Constantly refining guidance is vital to flattening the curve. 

Doyle says we can not yet say if care home deaths are rising.

The trio are taking questions now. 

They are asked whether hospices are being denied access to PPE.

Raab says that they've been guided by the NHS about where the shortfalls are. 

Doyle says it is important we ascertain where there are shortages. She says what may often be lacking is the local knowledge. 

Yvonne Doyle says there has been a rise in transport usage. 

She says that cases have remained “broadly stable”. Numbers in hospital have decreased by 16%.

Critical care bed use continues to remain well below capacity.

She says we are still coming through the peak of deaths in hospitals. She says the trend overall is “quite flat” and it may begin to decline but they are not yet convinced of that.

Raab says the UK government have assisted 1.3m citizens in returning to the UK. 

Reminds that there are no longer any UK citizens stranded on a cruise ship.

Today'd daily press briefing is underway. 

Dominic Raab issues congratulations to the PM and partner Carrie Symonds. 

52,000 tests took place yesterday and an additional 765 deaths have been recorded.

He says the governments five tests to exit lockdown remain key. 

Raab says that it is vital to limit the chance of a second peak. References Germany loosening their restrictions and seeing a rise in rate of infection. 

He says there “is light at the end of the tunnel”. 

He says the UK has become the international “buyer of choice”. 

Dominic Raab is due to take the daily press briefing at 5pm. 

He will be joined by Professor Yvonne Doyle and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

Antibody test could be available by end of May

A "good" antibody test could be available in a month, the Government's testing tsar has said.

Professor John Newton said those involved in developing such a test believe it could be ready by the end of May or early June.

Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that so far there is no antibody test that is "clinically valid".

Prof Newton told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday: "We're optimistic that we will have a good antibody test when we need it, which of course is a little later in the progress of the pandemic.

"Not many people would test positive for an antibody test if we had one now, so antibody tests come a little later."

21 million items of PPE distributed today

Downing Street said 21 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) were distributed to 196 health trusts and organisations on Tuesday.

Items included gloves, aprons, three types of masks, eye protectors and gowns.

Today's death toll figures will be published later this afternoon 

Here's a reminder of yesterday's figures. 

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