COVID-19 UPDATE: Monday 30 March
At Downing Street today, Foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, reinforced the government’s primary objective: to break and slow transmission of COVID-19 in order to reduce patient need for ventilation in ICU.
Stay at home message leads to dramatic reduction of contact
The Chief Scientific Adviser used travel data to illustrate the “dramatic” reduction of movement since the introduction of social distancing measures on 23 March.
He expects this action to lead to a decline in hospital admissions within “two to three weeks” which should feed through and reduce the number of fatalities.
Daily numbers of admissions and coronavirus deaths are expected to fluctuate over the next few weeks and Patrick Vallance is “very cautious” about predicting when measures could be eased.
New scheme to repatriate Britons stranded across the world
Dominic Raab said government has set aside £75 million to repatriate the “hundreds of thousands” of UK citizens who are currently stranded abroad.
He announced a deal with commercial airlines, with the support of the Foreign Office, to bring people home.
Testing regimes right for the UK
The Foreign Secretary and the Chief Scientific Adviser were asked about the testing regime in the UK. They stated that antigen tests were being increased at levels that are right for the UK at this stage in the outbreak, and that these numbers will continue to increase in order to ensure that frontline workers get the tests they need.
More coronavirus beds available across the country
NHS CEO, Sir Simon Stevens confirmed that there are currently in excess of 9,000 coronavirus patients in hospital beds across the UK. More NHS beds, staff and equipment on stream to help with an expected increase in numbers.
20,000 former NHS staff have stepped up across the country. The new NHS Nightingale Hospital in east London will open its doors later this week. The NHS will welcome workers from the airline industry to support medics in the new facility based at London’s ExCel conference centre.
Staff furloughed from Virgin Atlantic, with workers from EasyJet, will be paid through the government retention scheme.
Similar temporary facilities will be available, if required, in Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland.