Cllr Liam Walker
Testing, Treatment, and Tackling This Together
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has again been at the podium leading the Government's daily news conference to update the public and the media on the country's continued response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Matt Hancock paid tribute to the 85 NHS hospital workers and 10 social care workers who have lost their lives to Coronavirus since last month - they are the nation's fallen heroes and we will remember them, as we did during the minute's silence at 11am this morning.
There have been over 4,000 deaths in care homes since Easter - about 1/6th of the total number of deaths. This is clearly immensely sad for all those affected by this. From tomorrow, the Government will publish figures of all deaths in care homes, as well as in the community, in addition to the continued publication of hospital death figures. This has not been possible up to now, however, I'm pleased this is now going to be happening.
Behind every single death there is a family's heartbreak. Let's not let all those deaths we have seen so far be in vain. We must save as many lives as possible - and that starts by us all following the Government's social distancing guidance; as well as staying at home and staying safe.
Regarding testing, the Health Secretary confirmed more drive-thru testing centres are being opened up across the country. Home testing capability is also increasing and Matt Hancock paid tribute to the military who were on hand over the weekend to man these testing centres.
Our daily testing capacity now stands at around 73,000 tests - the Government are targeting 100,000 tests by the end of the week.
There will also be a big push on the rolling out of testing asymptomatic residents and workers in care homes - everyone will be able to get access to a test whether they have symptoms or not.
The Government also confirmed that they will be making tests available to all 65+ residents who have symptoms, as well as anyone who have to leave home to go to work.
Regarding the testing of drugs to treat COVID-19, the Health Secretary confirmed that a new early phase clinical trial platform is ready to test a new drug. The Government are also updating the guidelines for the use of medicines in care homes.
Right across Government, ministers and civil servants are working day and night to defeat this virus.
The risk of a second peak is very real; but together we're holding it at bay.
Let's keep going, stick together and save lives.