COVID-19 UPDATE: Wednesday 25 March
On a day when an incredible 7.8bn people are locked down across the world, the UK’s Coronavirus Bill has cleared the House of Lords without amendment. In today’s press briefing, the PM reinforced a number of key messages regarding the importance of social distancing and made the following announcements:
Army of volunteers ‘join up’ to support the NHS
Around 405,000 people have volunteered to support NHS workers in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The volunteers will donate their time to carry out ‘absolutely crucial’ roles:
- deliver essential food and medicines to vulnerable people
- transport patients to and from hospital
- distribute medical supplies to NHS facilities
- keep in touch with people in isolation by telephone
These people will augment the retired and previously registered health and social care workers who have also offered their services to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.
Antibody tests intended for key workers including NHS
Yesterday the government announced that it has bought 3.5 million tests which will show whether an individual has contracted the virus. Today, Boris Johnson said that the first people to be tested will be NHS and other key workers.
Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance spoke of a global shortage of this new medical equipment and that the UK is suffering from a ‘bottleneck’ in its supply.
When evaluated and brought on-stream, these antibody tests will complement the antigen testing being carried out in hospitals to determine whether patients are infected with COVID-19.