Facing the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Mr Hancock revealed there were early signs that hydroxychloroquine could be an effective treatment against the contagion. However, these are only early signs and are not definitive. Indeed, a new study stated the drug did not help hospitalised patients. Earlier today, Wuhan, the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak has today reported an additional 1,290 mortalities. China’s death toll has been level on 3,300 for weeks but due to fresh data, the city has increased its mortality total. Officials have stated this was caused due to updated reporting and from more deaths being counted from outside hospitals. This comes as Dominic Raab announced a three-week extension to the UK’s lockdown on Thursday. Mr Raab announced at the press briefing on Wednesday that relaxing the lockdown measures would put the public at risk. This three-week extension will be reviewed at the end of the period although it could be extended yet again.
Mr Raab said: “There is light at the end of the tunnel but we are now at both a delicate and a dangerous stage in this pandemic.
“If we rush to relax the measures that we have in place we would risk wasting all the sacrifices and all the progress that has been made.
“That would risk a quick return to another lockdown with all the threat to life that a second peak to the virus would bring and all the economic damage that a second lockdown would carry.”
Mr Raab’s announcement came as the UK death toll rose by 861 yesterday.
The overall number of mortalities now stands at 13,729, with a confirmed 103, 093 cases across the country at the time of writing.
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Coronavirus Map Live: China reports rise in deaths
Coronavirus Live: UK’s coronavirus map
11.32am update: UK carried out 18,000 tests
The Health Secretary also confirmed the UK had carried out 18,000 tests on Thursday.
The Government has set out a goal to reach 100,000 daily tests.
He added: “I can today expand the eligibility for testing to police, fire staff, prison staff, critical local authority staff, the judiciary and Department for Work and Patients staff.”
11.09am: New drug could be effective against COVID-19
Speaking to the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Mr Hancock stated the Government is buying up a new drug which could possibly have an effect on COVID-19.
He said: “Potential treatments as they are coming down the track.
“Everyone is buying up hydroxychloroquine in case the clinical trials demonstrate that it is a very effective treatment because that is what the early signs say.”
Despite the optimism, a recent study suggested the drug may not work on patients with COVID-19.
Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said: “This provides evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not apparently treat patients with COVID-19.
“Even worse, there were side effects caused by the drug – heart toxicities that required it be discontinued.”
10.59am update: Matt Hancock faces Health and Social Care Committee
The Health Secretary outlined the Government’s six-point battle plan.
Mr Hancock described the first stage of social distancing measures as “mission-critical” alongside the second part of the plan of building up NHS capacity.
He added: “As of this morning, we have the highest figure again of spare UK-wide critical care beds, of 2,769.
“And of course the NHS Nightingale project, which has seen unbelievable roll-out, is a critical part of making sure we have always got NHS capacity.”
Coronavirus LIVE: Matt Hancock faces select committee
10.49am update: UK could have 40,000 deaths
Anthony Costello, professor of International Child Health and Director of the UCL Institue for Global Health, told the Health and Social Care Committee there could be 40,000 deaths by the end of the pandemic’s first wave.
He added: “The recent estimates, even from the chief scientific officer, is that after this wave – we could see 40,000 deaths by the time it’s over – we could only have maybe 10%, 15% of the population infected or covered.
“So the idea of herd immunity would mean another five, six waves maybe in order to get to 60%.”
10.42am update: Clap for Carers video spark outrage
A video has emerged of the public paying tribute to the NHS on Westminster Bridge.
Although well-meaning, members of the public gathered in large groups in clear violation of social distancing measures.
The video was initially posted by junior doctor, Damir Rafi who told Storyful it had done more harm than good.
10.13pm update: Ian Blackford supports Nicola Sturgeon
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, the SNP’s Westminster leader admitted Scotland could take unilateral action.
He said: “All the Governments across the UK have worked very closely in the last few weeks – that is right and proper.
“But the administration in Edinburgh does have devolved powers and we have our own emergency legislation. We took action to close schools.
“We have those powers and we will use those in the interest for the people of Scotland. We want to work with the UK collectively.”
World coronavirus statistics as of April 16
10.06am update: China death toll much higher
Wuhan resident, Liu Pei’en, whose father died from the virus said he believed the death total to be much higher than reported.
He told ITV: “The real number should be 10 times higher than the reported number.”
10.03am update: Scotland could deviate from rest of the UK
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has admitted Scotland may deviate from the rest of the UK on lockdown measures if advised.
Speaking BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “If I was being advised, and if the judgment I was applying to that advice told me that I had to do something different to the rest of the UK because it was right and necessary to continue to control the virus in Scotland, of course I would do that.
“I think people would find it astounding if I said anything different to that.”
9.32am update: Exit strategy to be presented in two weeks
Transport Secretary, grant Shapp has revealed experts will present an exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown in two weeks.
He revealed Cabinet will be presented with the data before making a decision.
He said: “When we get more detail, when the scientists have looked at it and we come out of the lockdown in the future, they’ll be in a better position, we’ll all be in a better position to say whether that is an adequate sense of distance or not.”
9.28am update: Prince William admits concern over father
The Duke of Cambridge revealed he was worried over his father’s health after the Prince Wales contracted COVID-19.
Although Charles has now recovered, the Duke of Cambridge told the BBC of his concern due to his father’s age.
He said: “I have to admit at first I was quite concerned, he fits the profile of somebody, at the age he’s at, which is, you know, fairly risky, and so I was a little bit worried.
“But my father has had many chest infections, colds and things like that over the years and so I thought to myself (if) anybody’s going to be able to beat this it’s going to be him.”
8.27am update: Sadiq Khan lobbies for non-medical face masks
The Mayor of London is lobbying the Government to bring in measures to force Britons to wear non-medical facemasks.
Mr Khan told BBC Breakfast: “What I don’t want to do is people to be mistaken to think it’s ok to interact with each other if they are wearing a scarf.
“What I’m lobbying for is to wear non-medical face coverings when you can’t keep your distance.”
WHO guidance states masks are only effective when used in conjunction with thorough handwashing, if you are coughing or sneezing, or if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.
8.15am update: Emmanuel Macron claims praise for China is “naive”
The French President insisted a comparison between the West and China should not be made.
Mr Macron told the Financial Times: “Given these differences, the choices made and what China is today, which I respect, let’s not be so naive as to say it’s been much better at handling this.
“We don’t know. There are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about.”
8.06am update: Out of PPE in 24 hours
The head of a large NHS trusts has declared a severe shortage of Personal Protective Equipment.
Although the name of the man or the trust, he revealed his concern for his staff over the next few days.
8.02am update: UK repatriation flights to Pakistan
The UK Government has arranged chartered flights to bring back citizens in Pakistan.
The British High Commissioner in Pakistan said flights would begin next week.
The Government has pledged £75million to charter flights to repatriate citizens from abroad where commercial flights are unavailable.
Coronavirus Live: UK daily death rate as of April 16
7.56am update: China’s GDP shrinks
China’s GDP has shrunk by almost seven percent according to official figures.
This is the first fall in economic output since records began in China almost 30 years ago.
7.46am update: Veteran Captain Tom Moore hits £17million
Veteran army captain, Tom Moore has raised £17million for NHS Charities Together by completing laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
Mr Moore had initially intended to raise £,1000 but almost 800,000 people have now made donations.
With that in mind, Express.co.uk has launched a petition for Mr Moore to receive a knighthood for his efforts.
7.26am update: China deaths rise
China’s mortality rate has been steady over the last few weeks.
With the deaths levelling out, the country has begun to ease lockdown measures, however, today Wuhan officials have reported a sharp rise in deaths in the city.
Officials have stated the rise has been down to a delay in reporting and additional reporting of deaths from outside hospital.
Wuhan’s death total now stands at 3,869 with a total of 50,333 cases.