COVID-19 UPDATE: Friday 3 April
Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care opened today’s press briefing from Downing Street. Jonathan Van Tam, deputy chief medical officer and Ruth May, chief nurse, also took questions.
“We rule nothing out” to enforce social distancing
Matt Hancock thanks those who are staying at home but warns that we should all resist the temptation to get out and about this weekend.
If we relax social distancing measures, “people will die”.
The secretary of state emphasised that this is an instruction, not advice: stay at home.
Results from clinical trials could be months away
Research will be central to the plan to treat and tackle the virus.
Jonathan van Tam says this is "complicated stuff and the only way to unpick signals and get it right is clinical trials". There are three trials which have been established quickly and efficiently and the recruitment rate is "astonishing".
The date of the peak is still unknown
Speakers would not be drawn on a predicted date for the peak of the outbreak.
Jonathan Van Tam said, "we don't know the answer - we will know if our social distancing measures are working a few weeks after they were introduced." He was confident, however, that we are no where near at capacity in terms of ventilator use.
Increased NHS capacity
Matt Hancock confirmed an earlier announcement that there will be two more Nightingale Hospitals.
One will be in Bristol, with the capacity of up to 1,000 beds, and one in Harrogate, with 500 beds.
Masks are not necessary for healthy people
Professor Van Tam stated that healthy people wearing masks would not reduce the spread of the disease. "What matters now is social distancing," he said.
He added: "In terms of hard evidence and the UK government, we do not recommend face masks for general wearing."