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Queen Elizabeth II calls for self-discipline and good-humoured resolve after record daily death rate of 708 including a 5 year-old child

Queen Elizabeth II. Image: Buckingham Palace.

Britain’s coronavirus fatalities figure has reached 4,313 including a five year old child.

Queen Elizabeth II will urge people to rise to the challenge posed by the coronavirus outbreak, in a rare special address to Britain and Commonwealth nations on Sunday.

Her broadcast today will be only her fourth special televised address outside her annual Christmas message.

Royal sources say her ‘deeply personal speech’ will say she has faith that people will respond, despite the difficulties.

The Queen’s broadcast is scheduled for 1900 GMT this evening.

She is 93 years old in the 68th year of her reign and has been in self-isolation at Windsor Castle while her eldest son, Prince Charles, has recovered from COVID-19 at Balmoral in Scotland.

The latest daily statistic of deaths record marked a high of 708 yesterday, but does not include those people who have died from the virus at home and in care homes.

Buckingham Palace says the queen will personally thank frontline healthcare staff and other key workers for their efforts during the crisis.

In a pre-recorded speech she will say:

I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time…A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.

I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has tested positive for COVID-19, has put his government on a war footing, calling for a collective response to the outbreak.

Some 750,000 people responded to his call for volunteers to support the state-run National Health Service (NHS), the elderly and vulnerable currently in self-isolation.

 

The Queen’s message has dominated the front pages of the United Kingdom’s national newspapers.

Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the new leader of the Labour Party, the official opposition.

The new Labour leader said failure to provide enough protective equipment for frontline workers and delays over testing have been ‘serious mistakes’ in tackling coronavirus.

Sir Keir Starmer said in an article in the Sunday Times, that ministers took too long to explain why they were ‘so far behind’ on testing.

He also called for a “national vaccine programme” against the virus, and said ministers should publish an “exit strategy” to end the lockdown.

 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was ‘absolutely devastated’ as five London bus workers died after testing positive for Covid-19.

Mr Khan tweeted that ‘lives depended’ on people following Government rules to stay at home unless travel was essential.

Meanwhile, the trade union Unite said the deaths were a ‘terrible tragedy.’

 

Oxygen incident forces hospital to block patients

The pressure on London and Home Counties hospital trusts has been amplified by the news that a Hertfordshire hospital declared a critical incident and told people not to attend after a technical issue with oxygen equipment.

Watford General hospital asked people to stay away following the incident, which they said did not pose any risk to patients.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the problem was resolved by 10.30pm on Saturday.

Gin tasting and running to work

While millions of people in Britain, Europe and the rest of the world have been adapting to living and working at home, gin tasters in Germany have found a way of continuing what they do online.

Journalists and broadcasters have been continuing to report the emergency some from home and some still continuing to travel to their studios and newsrooms.

The BBC’s news presenter, Sophie Rayworth, is a charity marathon runner and this is how she goes to work, though now her route in central London is through much quieter streets.

The UK lockdown has resulted in motorways and major trunk-routes throughout the country becoming free of traffic apart from essential vehicles and commercial lorries.

Empty dual carriage-way on normally busy English road. Image: Marja Giejgo.

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