Pages

Saturday, 28 March 2020

UK's coronavirus death toll leaps by 260 in a single day to hit 1,019: Britain suffers its worst day yet with huge spike in victims as more than 17,000 have now been infected

  • It is the biggest daily increase the UK has seen and a total of 17,089 people have tested positive for disease 
  • Government advisers warn even stricter social distancing measures could be under way if figures don't stop
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson is leading the response to pandemic from Downing Street as he was diagnosed 
Britain's coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 today as the UK suffered its worst day yet and saw a huge spike in victims.  
It is the biggest daily increase the UK has seen, the Department of Health and Social Care said today. A total of 120,776 coronavirus tests have taken place, and 17,089 have come back positive. 
The news comes as Governmental advisers warn that even stricter social distancing measures could be under way if the staggering increase in figures doesn't stop.    
The total number of deaths is 34 per cent higher than the equivalent figure on Friday and the largest day-on-day percentage increase since March 18, when the total rose from 71 to 104 (46 per cent).
Britain's coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 today as the UK suffers its worst day yet and sees a huge spike in victims. It is the biggest daily increase the UK has seen, the Department of Health and Social Care said today. A total of 120,776 coronavirus tests have taken place, and 17,089 have come back positive
Britain's coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 today as the UK suffers its worst day yet and sees a huge spike in victims. It is the biggest daily increase the UK has seen, the Department of Health and Social Care said today. A total of 120,776 coronavirus tests have taken place, and 17,089 have come back positive
The news comes as Governmental advisers warn that even stricter social distancing measures could be under way if the staggering increase in figures doesn't stop
Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London. The NHS is anticipating a Coronavirus 'tsunami' as the peak of infarction rates nears
Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London. The NHS is anticipating a Coronavirus 'tsunami' as the peak of infarction rates nears
It took 13 days for the number of deaths in the UK to go from one to more than 100. It has taken a further 10 days for the total to go from more than 100 more than 1,000.
Meanwhile, the number of people tested in the UK for coronavirus was 120,776 as of 9am today.
Some 47,958 tests were carried out in the seven days before today. In the previous seven days the number of tests was 35,072.
The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK now stands at 17,089. One week ago, on March 21, the total stood at 5,018.  
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is already having to lead the response to the pandemic from Downing Street after he was diagnosed with the disease.
He has been accused of failing to follow his own social distancing rules after Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive and England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty began self-isolating with symptoms. 
A statement from NHS England said: 'Patients were aged between 33 and 100 years old and all but 13 (aged between 63 and 99 years old) had underlying health conditions.' 
The latest figures come after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack revealed he had developed mild symptoms of coronavirus and was self-isolating. 
Government advisers said stricter social distancing policies may have to be rolled out next month if the grim figures continued to rise. The measures would be introduced in three weeks as the outbreak reached its peak to further reduce 'person-to-person interaction'.  
This week France announced that individuals could only exercise alone – unless with children – for a maximum of an hour and within 1,000 yards of their homes. Spain and Italy have banned exercise altogether, and there are concerns that Britons are deliberately misinterpreting the guidance by travelling to beauty spots miles from their homes. 
Ambulances are seen outside the Excel Centre, London today while it is being prepared to become the NHS Nightingale Hospital as the disease spreads
A senior government adviser suggested the figures would continue to rise for at least the next three weeks, meaning the peak is likely to hit at Easter. 
The adviser said hospitals 'should be OK', but admitted 'we can't guarantee it' and stressed some intensive care units may struggle to cope. 
And should the number of deaths rise significantly, 'greater enforcement' of social distancing policies would have to be introduced. This would include 'anything that can be done to push it (down) further' and prevent people catching the disease. 
The adviser added: 'I expect death numbers to increase over two, three or four weeks, and then to gradually decrease.' 
Officials were generally 'very happy' with the levels of compliance with social distancing guidance, despite some Britons travelling some distance to beauty spots in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales to exercise. 
The advice says the public should leave their house only to shop for groceries, provide or receive medical care, travel to work or exercise, which is limited to once a day. The total number of confirmed cases in the UK now stands at 17,089. 
But this is a huge underestimate of the true figure as most patients with the virus are not being tested. 
Professor Jim Naismith, an expert in structural biology at Oxford University, said: 'Although Covid-19 is a mild disease for over 80 per cent of us, today's deaths will have come as a terrible blow to families. The increase in the deaths are following the exponential pattern predicted. 
This means we are likely to continue to see further increases in the numbers of daily deaths until social distancing measures have their effect. 'The deaths tomorrow and in the days ahead will be of people who were infected before the social distancing measures were implemented. 
I understand the temptation to live on each day's numbers, but what matters is what is ahead of us and what we can do to save lives.' Dr Mike Tildesley, of the University of Warwick, added: 'We may expect to see the number of daily confirmed cases continue to climb, before starting to decline once the current social distancing measures start to have an effect.' 
In other coronavirus developments: 
  • NHS workers began being tested for coronavirus at a temporary drive through testing station in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington
  • Photos revealed the inside of the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital with two wards, each for 2,000 people, to help tackle the coronavirus response
  • The British Red Cross said evictions of asylum seekers from Government accommodation are to be halted amid fears about the disease
  • Police urged motorcyclists to stay out of the countryside and told them they cannot claim it is part of their permitted daily exercise under lockdown rules
  • Police chiefs want Britons to snitch on any neighbours they suspect of breaching the coronavirus lockdown 
  • Humberside, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Avon and Somerset have created a mixture of 'hotlines' and 'online portals' where people can submit tip-offs if lockdown infractions occur
  • Images from inside ExCeL Centre show construction work to transform the exhibition centre into a  hospital
  • Andy Burnham has said that hundreds of firms in Manchester have remained open 'without good reason'
  • Workers who have not taken a holiday because of the crisis will be able to carry it over into the next two years
  • NHS staff to be tested for coronavirus from next week at places including Chessington World of Adventures
  • The coronavirus social distancing limit is four times too short, Massachusetts Institute of Technology warned 
The first NHS workers to be tested at the drive facility in Surrey NHS testing centre being built at Chessington world of adventures in Surrey
The first NHS workers to be tested at the drive facility in Surrey NHS testing centre being built at Chessington world of adventures in Surrey

Doctors and nurses have begged people to stay indoors during the coronavirus pandemic, pleading with people to stay at home and save lives.  
The Prime Minister has stressed that unless you are a key worker or helping someone vulnerable, the only reasons to go outside are to go shopping for essentials, exercise once a day or fulfil any medical needs.
This comes as police up and down the country exercise their new powers to enforce the coronavirus lockdown - stopping people having picnics and dog walkers in the Peak District by chasing them with drones. 
Police chiefs are encouraging Britons to snitch on neighbours suspected of breaching Boris Johnson's coronavirus lockdown.
Humberside Police have created a 'hotline' where people can submit tip-offs if they flout social distancing rules, including gatherings of more than two people.
West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Avon and Somerset have also established online forums for 'snoopers' keen to punish rule-breakers.
The portals have been made in response to an increase in the number of calls to the non-emergency 101 number since Monday.   
Despite this, forces yesterday were facing accusations of being overzealous as they use the sweeping new powers to crack down on people flouting the rules, using road blocks, drones and helicopters to enforce it. 
Officers began issuing fines less than 24 hours after new laws were brought into force, the National Police Chiefs' Council has said.  
Those who ignore the tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially - reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days - and another for £120 for a second offence. But fines could reach £1,000-plus for repeat offenders.
Elsewhere, the Met Police fined a bakery boss £80 for criminal damage after she put temporary lines outside her shop to keep her customers safe from coronavirus.
The extraordinary incident took place outside the Grodzinski bakery in Edgware, north-west London, this morning, when police spotted the owner using a can of non-permanent spray chalk to help maintain social distancing of two metres. 
The officer told the flabbergasted woman that she had graffitied the pavement and if police failed to punish crimes like these there would be 'anarchy', adding: 'I can't help the law. We're also fining people for congregating - is that wrong too?'.
The woman, who gives her name as Gemma, confronts the officer and says: 'This is not graffiti, it's chalk, it washes off. So you would rather all my customers don't stand two metres apart? I'm doing it for people's safety - to stop the spread of coronavirus', to which the officer replies: 'It doesn't matter. It's criminal damage. It's the law'.
The officer then tells her she needs to wash it off or she 'will be committing another offence', and she says to protect her customers she will happily 'get another ticket, and another ticket and another ticket. I don't care'. 
A witness who filmed the incident told the policeman: 'People are dying and this is what you care about, this is ridiculous, this is horrendous' and the officer replies: 'The law doesn't stop unfortunately. It's still a criminal offence. The law is the law and it doesn't change because of what is happening. There would be anarchy in the world'.  
And a council is facing a furious backlash today after targeting members of the public with drones, as lawyers warned that police are 'unlawfully' trying to restrict people travelling to isolated spots to exercise and walk their dogs. 
Officers have already issued fines to people breaching coronavirus lockdown rules, less than 24 hours after new laws were brought into force, the National Police Chiefs' Council has said.  
Those who ignore the tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially - reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days - and another for £120 for a second offence. But fines could reach £1,000-plus for repeat offenders.
But guidelines issued by the Cabinet Office do not prohibit driving somewhere for exercise or dog walking. 
Derbyshire Police is now embroiled in a heated row after tweeting 'menacing' drone footage chasing and 'shaming' ramblers and dog walkers in the Peak District. 
Neath Port Talbot council has also begun using drones equipped with speakers to shout at groups of people outside - though some targeted claim they had been 'waiting hours for prescriptions before they were ordered to go home.'
But members of the public have hit back at the extraordinary move, claiming they are being targeted while queuing outside for hours waiting for groceries and medication. 
Critics say the unprecedented powers handed to officers by ministers will see the country 'sliding into dystopia.' 
As the row intensified, Leading QC Matthew Ryder said there was an 'overwhelming consensus from lawyers that police trying to restrict people to 'emergency travel only' is unlawful.' 
Former MPs also claim police are 'showing an astounding lack of judgement' and needed to exercise 'common sense and respect' and use their powers elsewhere. 
But chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, Martin Hewitt, doubled down on the measures, telling the BBC: 'This is a national emergency, not a national holiday.'
As the row intensified today, Leading QC Matthew Ryder said there was an 'overwhelming consensus from lawyers that police trying to restrict people to 'emergency travel only' is unlawful'
In another frantic day of developments in the battle against coronavirus:
  • Michael Gove revealed a new alliance between businesses, research institutes and universities will boost testing capacity so NHS workers will know if they have coronavirus with testing starting next week;
  • NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said there are now 33,000 beds available nationwide for coronavirus patients 
  • He also revealed two new Nightingale hospitals will be set up in Birmingham and Manchester in addition to the one in London; 
  •  A council is facing a furious backlash after targeting members of the public with drones, as lawyers warned that police are 'unlawfully' trying to restrict people travelling to isolated spots to exercise and walk their dogs;
  • There are demands for the government to go further to help millions of self-employed after Mr Sunak admitted a bailout for income support will not be up and running until June; 
  • Buckingham Palace has said the Queen remains in 'good health' and has not seen the PM since March 11; 
  • UK supermarkets said they will use a government database of 1.5 million vulnerable shoppers to help prioritise delivery slots.
Among those responding to Derbyshire Police's drone footage was ex-Lord Chancellor, David Gauke. 
The former Work and Pensions Secretary and Justice Secretary said: 'This is badly misjudged. People should maintain social distancing, which is what these people are doing. We need to maintain public support for fundamental behaviour change which requires the authorities to focus on genuinely bad behaviour.'
Derbyshire Police took the extraordinary step of using one of its drones to film dog walkers, ramblers and a group posing for Instagram pictures on a cliff top at sunset last night - highlighting their movements and accusing them of making an 'unessential' trip. 
Using the unmanned aircraft they also gathered number plates from parked cars and traced their owners to their homes in Sheffield saying: 'Walking your dog in the Peak District: Not essential.' 
Appearing on BBC Breakfast yeasterday, Superintendent Steve Pont from Derbyshire Police hit back at allegations he was 'shaming' dog walkers, claiming people were 'looking for excuses and loopholes as to why they don't need to stay at home when everyone else does.' 
Supt Pont said his force was, 'here to apply the law the government makes.' 
Boris Johnson has stressed that unless you are a key worker or helping someone vulnerable, the only reasons to go outside are to go shopping for essentials, exercise once a day or fulfil any medical needs. 
Those flouting the rules face fines of up to £960, and police can now arrest anyone found outside without good reason. 
In addition, the Director of Public Prosecutions warned that anyone deliberately coughing at 999 workers to spread coronavirus faces up to two years in jail. 
But barrister Matthew Ryder argued: 'Seems to be overwhelming consensus from lawyers that police trying to restrict people to 'emergency travel only' is unlawful.
'They have no power to stop someone driving to an isolated scenic spot to exercise away from others (nor is there any logical reason why there should be).
'If you live in a densely packed city like London, the local park now feels like a crowded gym much of the day: people exercising, walking dogs, letting kids run about. 
'Stopping people going out to isolated spots for exercise in order to ease that crowding is counterproductive.'
Former West Midlands MEP Roger Helmer tweeted: 'For heaven's sake, Derbyshire police, get a sense of proportion. These people were taking exercise (permitted) and maintaining social separation (mandated). There are much more important matters which you should be pursuing.' 
Supt Pont told the BBC: 'We've received the legislation which is easy for people to understand. If people continue to flout this then we will resort to giving out fines.
'We wanted to reinforce the message of, 'stay home' because a number of people aren't staying home; they're finding excuses and loopholes to go out. 
'We wanted to illustrate that this is the wrong thing to do - last weekend the Peak District was overflowing with tourists.' 
But presenter Charlie Stayt argued there was little chance of infecting other people if people travel in their own car to a remote location and walk away from other people, exercising their rights in a safe manner. 
He added: 'It's not really up to you to stop them.' 
Supt Pont added: 'If people drive in their cars and go walking along the clifftops, there's a potential for accidents. Mountain rescue have said they don't want people doing it. 
'If the NHS are responding to a road traffic collisions, that is taking up their time. 
Police Scotland were using their own helicopter to catch people and issue fines in Pollok Park, Glasgow yesterday
Police Scotland were using their own helicopter to catch people and issue fines in Pollok Park, Glasgow yesterday

'The point is, government legislation says you should make your time away from home as short as possible. 
'It is not as short as possible if you feel like going for a drive in the Peak District.' 
He added: 'We are hoping to appeal to the better judgement of these people. 
'The NHS are heroes - they are asking, begging us, to stay at home. And 93-4 per cent of the public are doing that but some people are trying to find excuses not to.'
The apparent need for the new police powers to break up gatherings has been illustrated by reports of officers being called to friends having barbecues, house parties and games of football. 
Neath Port Talbot council and South Wales Police are also using drones equipped with speakers to disperse groups of people congregating outside. 
The council has teamed up with South Wales Police to identify popular hotspots. 
The council says it hopes the use of drones, 'will help to remind people not following the rules about what their responsibilities are.'
A spokesman from Neath Port Talbot council said: 'Drones are now being used to distribute public information messages across Neath Port Talbot during the coronavirus outbreak.
'We have teamed up with South Wales Police to survey hotspots where people are not following government measures on social distancing.' 
The council added: 'The drones are equipped with speakers that will transmit messages directly to the public.
'We are reminding residents to stay at home except for (reasons outlined by the Government).'
But while some praised the measures, others claimed they were unnecessary.
Writing on Facebook, Carly Murray said: 'This upset a lot of people today at Neath boots. 
'People were waiting for prescriptions and people were very orderly and staying two metres apart. This drone turned up and changed the mood.
'As people were perplexed where it's had come from and what they could do as they were waiting for Boots. 
'People were annoyed to be told to go home when they were already stressed and fed up waiting hours for medications.' 
The head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Max Hill QC, warned that offenders coughing and spitting at key workers would be charged with common assault, punishable by up to two years in prison. 
His intervention came after Darren Rafferty, 45, from Dagenham, east London, admitted three counts of assaulting an emergency worker after claiming to have coronavirus and deliberately coughing at officers arresting him for grievous bodily harm. 
David Mott, 40, from Blackburn, was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison after threatening to spit at officers when they asked him why he was outdoors with two others on Monday night.  
In response to new police powers being brought into force to make sure coronavirus lockdown restrictions are followed, Clare Collier, advocacy director at Liberty, said: 'We're extremely concerned by the extent of these coercive powers.
'This is a pandemic and so it should be treated as a public health issue. Instead, the Government is treating it as a criminal justice issue, putting resources into detaining and criminalising.
'What's concerning is what this heavy-handed approach will do to the public's relationship with the police in the long-term.
'While some people will feel reassured by a firmer police response to the pandemic, others will feel fear, especially groups who are already over-policed.
'We've seen an amazing response from communities to the pandemic, with neighourhoods rallying together, but trust and goodwill may break down in the face of authoritarianism and harsh policing.' 
Police forces this week have reported a surge of mindless violence by bored yobs. 
In Merseyside, a hospital worker was attacked with a bike saddle by a group of teenagers as he went to buy groceries. 
The radiographer at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral needed seven stitches after he was targeted by four youths outside an Asda supermarket in Birkenhead.
Elsewhere in Merseyside, a group of children became involved in a standoff with police after climbing onto a leisure centre roof for an hour and refusing to come down.
Derbyshire Police revealed they were investigating a vicious assault on a farmer who was punched 15 times and kicked in the ribs when he asked a Peak District walker to 'go home'. 
The victim, from Edale, was 'left shaken and bruised' after he was assaulted while disinfecting his gates on Sunday due to hundreds of people walking past.  
New powers were announced on Thursday to allow police to enforce lockdown rules brought in to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Home Office said people who continue to flout tougher restrictions on movement will be breaking the law and could be arrested by police.
Those who ignore the rules could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another for £120 for a second offence, with the penalty doubling for additional breaches.
Officers in England were given the power to enforce rules on staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel as of 1pm on Thursday.
They can order members of the public to go home, leave an area, and have the power to disperse a group, using 'reasonable force, if necessary'.
Police can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the powers were designed to 'protect the public and keep people safe'.
According to the guidance, the cost of initial fixed penalty notices will be cut to £30 if paid within 14 days and those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing costs for unlimited fines.
Refusing to provide a name and address to avoid being given a fine is an arrestable offence. 
Known as the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, similar rules will be in place across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The regulations state they are made 'in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health' posed by Covid-19 and the Government considers the 'restrictions and requirements imposed by these regulations are proportionate to what they seek to achieve'.



1 comment:

  1. There are a lot of virus statistics being mentioned in the press, but everyone I know who has felt ill- from anything at all- has refused to go to hospital. They say it's the last place they would go if sick. So how can these infection numbers possibly be accurate? How many people are simply waiting it out at home- as everyone has been ordered to do?

    ReplyDelete