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Daily Covid-19 Brief: Saturday, April 4

Daily Covid-19 Brief: Saturday, April 4

Each day, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest news in the evolving situation. To view the previous day’s summary, please click here.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has given the daily Government press conference

  • Gove said that the death toll from Covid-19 in the UK is now 4,313 – up by 708 in the past 24 hours, a grim new daily record.
  • Gove reiterated the Government’s warning that people should stick to current lockdown guidance and not venture outside in the warm weather this weekend.
  • Gove wouldn’t be drawn on when current restrictions will end, saying that it “depended on compliance”.
  • He pointed to rising hospital admissions in Yorkshire and the Midlands in particular, and said that the NEC near Birmingham was being turned into a hospital in the coming days.
  • Gove said that ventilator capacity has been secured with the help of UK manufacturers, and that a team from UCL working with Mercedes-Benz have produced a new clinically approved device.
  • Michael Gove thanked the Chinese Government for 300 new ventilators which arrived in the UK today, and added that the Government has also purchased ventilators from Germany and Switzerland.

The Government’s chief pandemic modeller has said that the UK needs an exit strategy to the lockdown measures

  • Graham Medley said the Government has “painted itself into a corner” over its response to Covid-19, and called for the reconsidering of herd immunity.
  • Medley warned that a period of prolonged lockdown risks causing more damage than the virus itself.
  • Medley said his modelling shows that no way has yet been found of easing the lockdown while controlling the virus, and so the Government must consider allowing the reopening of business and schools, and so allowing people to catch the virus, rather than risking large unemployment from a longer lockdown.

The newly elected leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer has spoken with the Prime Minister and agreed to meet next week to discuss the Covid-19 crisis

  • Starmer will attend cross-party talks with the Prime Minister and the Government’s top scientific advisers next week to “work together” on the crisis.
  • Starmer promised to work “constructively” with the Government, pledging not to engage in “opposition for opposition’s sake”.
  • He has already spoken to England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England.

Other UK COVID 19 news 

  • Watford General Hospital has declared a critical incident, saying it is running out of oxygen. The hospital has asked emergency patients not to come to the hospital’s A&E unit until further notice.
  • The lockdown in Spain will be extended; the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will ask Parliament to extend lockdown measures by 15 more days until April 26, though the number of cases in the country shows more signs of gradually slowing.
  • The United Arab Emirates has requested a delay to the start of the Expo 2020 Dubai until October 2021.

Company updates

  • Retailer Cath Kidston has become the latest high street store to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators as it seeks to find a buyer.
  • Footfall on UK high streets has fallen by as much as 85% over the past two months, based on Google data from a number of towns and cities.
  • British Steel will pause production at one of its Teeside plants for at least three weeks, given falling demand during the crisis.

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