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Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledges improved testing programme on day death toll rises to another 569

Matt Hancock at Downing Street media conference 2nd April 2020. Image: LMMNews screen grab.

After suffering from COVID-19 himself, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock emerged to lead a Ten Downing Street media conference in which he promised to deliver 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.

The UK death toll rose to 569 for the day. One million infection cases have now been reported around the world.

He said Britain could roll out coronavirus ‘immunity certificates’ for people who have already fought off the the virus under the antibody testing scheme.

He explained evaluation of the kits – which rely on a finger-prick of blood and can give results in ten minutes – was still ongoing.

Some kits had failed:

In one case, a test that I am being urged to buy missed three out of four positive cases of coronavirus.That means in three-quarters of cases that test would have given the false comfort of sending someone with coronavirus back on the wards.

The Health Secretary also announced that more than £13 billion of historic NHS debt would be written off to place trusts in a ‘stronger position’ to respond to the crisis.

This media conference was significantly different to the ones held previously.

Matt Hancock answering questions during the live daily media conference 2nd April 2020. Image: LMMNews screen grab.

Mr Hancock took follow-up questions from journalists.

It also lasted 83 minutes and can be viewed in full by clicking on the link embedded in this line.

For the second week running hospital, paramedic front-line and care workers received national applause across the country at 8 p.m.

The salute ranged from families in ‘lockdown’ leaning over balconies in apartment blocks clapping to people standing in suburban streets banging trash-can lids.

The Metropolitan police and London Fire Brigade in London put on special parades of thanks.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, emerged to applaud key workers in the doorway of Number 11 Downing Street where he is in self-isolation having contracted he virus.

 

Daily fatalities in Spain continue to be high reaching 961 Thursday April 2nd making a total of 10,348 people who have died in the country so far.

The pandemic has also devastated Europe’s fourth economy.

Millions are out of work and thousands of businesses crippled through lack of demand.

 

Switzerland is another European country badly affected by the emergency.

The country’s famous Matterhorn mountain has been illuminated to send messages of hope to its population.

Every night from sunset, the 4,478-metre (14,692-foot) high national symbol is splashed with words and images to inspire solidarity.

The light projections are nearly 800 metres high and have been beamed for more than a week from four kilometres away onto the north and east faces of the mountain.

The words ‘hope’, and ‘stay home’ have been projected onto the peak, along with a giant red heart on a white background which are the Swiss national colours.

 

Pharmacists in Britain facing abuse and violence during lockdown

Police patrols have been deployed to some pharmacies and at least one customer has threatened to kill staff.

Stratford Pharmacist, Claude Pereira, described a customer smashing a glass door and making threats: ‘We’re doing our best, the NHS is doing its best and this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable.’

Chemists report mounting day-to-day tensions and scuffles in queues outside premises, which are limiting the number of entrants.

In the Midlands masked raiders stole a pharmacy’s stock.

 

The NHS Nightingale Hospital, built in less than two weeks in the Olympic ExCel centre in Docklands, expected to open today.

It’s due to admit its first patients sometime today while two other temporary hospitals have also been announced for Bristol and Harrogate.

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) is reporting that leaked documents show bosses are worried about the number of ambulances and trained crew needed to bring cases to the London Nightingale site.

Communication is also said to be a problem due to the building’s poor acoustics and because all staff will be working in an unfamiliar setting.

The documents said “communications within the intensive care will require particular attention.”

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