The Coronavirus death toll in the UK has now risen to 104 after fatalities jumped 33 in one day. This comes as a large mortuary extension was built in Westminster to prepare for an influx of bodies. The number of confirmed cases in the UK rose today from 1,950 to 2,626 with a dramatic worsening of the pandemic. Boris Johnson has vowed for a more dramatic testing policy to come into force with UK’s coronavirus testing capacity rising from 5,000 to an astounding 25,000 tests a day. Government has urged medical companies to help “rapidly” develop swab tests which can be used in the community for quicker diagnosis.
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Boris Johnson said: “We have been following the advice on how best for people to protect themselves but more importantly protecting others.
“We have and will continue to do the right things at the right time. We come today with the key issues around school closures.
“So far we’ve been told closing schools will do little to contain the virus. This is because children and young people are much less at risk. We were advised to keep schools open to help reduce the pressure on the NHS, however, it has been on constant review.
“We think we must apply further downward pressure and have made the decision to close schools.
“I can announce now that schools will shut their gates on Friday afternoon and will remain closed until further notice. The objective is to slow the spread of the virus and keep the NHS going.”
Sir Patrick Vallance said: “Children are least at risk of the virus. The reason for the closure is to knock down further transmission and to put delays and brakes on the system to bring it down and protect those with much more serious risk.
“Now is an important time to close schools. We all have our part to play to try and drive this right down.”
Education secretary, Gavin Williamson announced in the Houses or Parliament: “A small number of children will keep attending school but asking others to stay away and help us to slow the spread of the virus.
“Vulnerable children including those with health plans and carers will continue to go to school and we are asking boarding schools follow the same approach of closing schools.
“Free school meals will be incorporated with a voucher system. I know that all of this will not be easy.”
Schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have previously announced all schools will close by the end of this week.
The Welsh government announced today that all schools will close for an early Easter break by Friday at the latest.
Meanwhile, Scotland will be following suit with Ms Sturgeon said she can not ‘promise that they will reopen before the summer holidays.
It was announced merely minutes ago that Northern Ireland will being joining Scotland and Wales in closing of schools in order to contain this virus.
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Is there any hope for new treatments to help combat this deadly virus?
NHS hospitals are coming under an immense amount of pressure to start to use experimental drugs to try and treat patients who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Pharmaceutical firms and doctors around the world are in a bid to find a drug which can help stop the deadly virus and medicines are already being used for conditions such as HIV, malaria, Ebola and rheumatoid arthritis.
These drugs are being hailed as ‘serious contenders’ and are being tested to see how they could help curb the infection amongst Covid-19 patients. The government has refused to confirm if any are being tested currently on the 2,626 patients in the UK.
Public Health England strongly advises the importance of self-isolating from those most at risk of developing symptoms.
The most at risk include:
- Aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions
- Under 70 with an underlying health condition
- Chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or bronchitis
- Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Chronic neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or a learning disability
- Problems with the spleen such as sickle cell disease
- A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS
- Being overweight
- Pregnant women
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