During an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley, Mr Eustice admitted the UK is tracking Italy and France but could end up even higher. Away from the prediction, enforcing social distancing measures will be much harder once a second wave of the virus return as people begin to question the measures, a historian has warned this week. In an interview with Lapham’s Quarterly, historian Nancy K Bristow warned like the 1918 flu pandemic, social distancing measures may be harder to enforce as members of the public question its use if there multiple waves of the virus. Although she stated the measures are effective, she indicated support for social distancing measures may “wane” going forward. This comes as a further 586 people were reported to have died after in UK hospitals after contracting COVID-19 yesterday.
The total number of deaths now stands at 21,678, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed the Government will now include fatalities from those in care home and in the community. The Office for National Statistics has reported 4,343 deaths in care homes involving coronavirus reported by providers in England between April 10 to 24. Testing for the virus is set to become available for more people from today.
Testing was expanded for all key workers and their households last week in England.
From today, all care home residents and staff, those over 65 and who must leave home to work will be entitled to be tested for COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Mr Hancock had set a target of 100,000 per day by Thursday.
Approximately, 43,000 tests occurred on Monday.
Mr Hancock said: “From construction workers to emergency plumbers, from research scientists to those in manufacturing, the expansion of access to testing will protect the most vulnerable and help keep people safe.”
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Coronavirus UK: Public obedience for social distancing will wane
Coronavirus Live: UK coronavirus deaths as of April 28
Coronavirus: Mr Eustice said the UK was tracking Italy and France in terms of numbers
9.39am update: Testing slots run after an hour
Access to home test kist for essential workers in the Uk ran out in just over an hour on Wednesday morning.
Slots for millions of more people who have been included as of today were made available to book from 8am.
9.03am update: UK may well be on course for worst death toll in Europe
Speaking to Sky News today, Environment Secretary, George Eustice indicated the UK could well be on course to become the worst-hit country in Europe.
Although he indicated it was still unclear, it may be the case the UK surpasses Italy’s mortality figures.
He told Sky News: “We’ve been on similar trajectories to France and Italy.
“It may well be that we are, who knows, we don’t know that at the moment.
“For now we just need to focus on managing this pandemic.”
8.45am update: Germany may need to bring back lockdown
Angela Merkel may be forced to reintroduce some lockdown measures after the coronavirus rate spiked.
Certain shops were allowed to reopen but following a rise in cases, the Chancellor may need to revise plans.
Sky News’ Michelle Clifford said: “They eased restrictions last week, allowing shops up to 800sq m to open and also bigger bicycle shops and bookshops.
“Since then, the R number – that’s the rate of the virus reproduction – has gone up to 1.0. Earlier this month it was 0.7.
“That’s what health officials say it’s absolutely critical, it needs to stay below one. So we wonder if Germany will rethink lifting more restrictions.”
8.34am update: Boris Johnson to make minor changes to lockdown
Boris Johnson is expected to only make minor adjustments to the UK’s lockdown on May 7 according to The Sun.
Although the Prime Minister is not well enough to take part in PMQs, he is expected to lead the No 10 press briefing later this week.
A No 10 source said: “We will say a little more about what we need to do to stop a second peak.”
UK Coronavirus Live: New deaths as of April 28
8.08am update: 100,000 test still an aim
Environment Secretary George Eustice has said the aim of the Government is to meet the 100,000 tests a day target by the end of tomorrow.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Eustice said: “Aim to get 100,000 tests being done but I think the critical thing here is anybody there who needs a test that can’t get one which is why capacity also matters.
“That’s why the first thing is to build the capacity and the second thing is to make sure that everybody knows they can get access to that test and we’re now doing both of those things.”
8.06am update: Boris Johnson to miss PMQs
The Prime Minister will not attend PMQs today.
Dominic Raab is expected to deputise for the Prime Minister who is not well enough to attend.
7.35am update: Public obedience will begin to “wane”
Historian, Nancy K Bristow compared the current COVID-19 pandemic with the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak.
Much like the 1918 flu, she said people were willing to follow the rules during the initial stages of the outbreak.
However, when second and third waves begin to hit, she warned public obedience for the reules may wane.
She told Lapham’s Quarterly: “It’s only later, when another wave arrives, that people start to think, ‘If it worked, why is this back? So what’s the point?’
“When you’re in the midst it’s very hard to see the benefits of social distancing because you can’t make the comparison with what would happen if you weren’t doing those things.
“So in 1918 initially there’s a great deal of support for what public health people ask for; then it wanes as the third wave comes in, it wanes as business owners become frustrated with the loss of income.”