A ‘road map’ with a number of options for a phased moving of ‘various parts of the UK’ out of lockdown will be revealed next week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today (April 30).
At the daily government briefing Mr Johnson said the country was ‘past the peak’ of the coronavirus pandemic but any move out of the current restrictions had to guided by science so as not to create a second wave of infections.
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty said the R rate – the number of people a carrier would pass the infection to – was reduced from around 3 to between 0.6 and 0.9. He said: “The total number of cases is on the way down, hospital admissions are down.”
He added that the number of people in critical care and on ventilators was also reducing and that the country was at a ‘plateau’ stage.
The PM said: “I will be setting out a comprehensive plan next week to explain how we can get our economy moving. One -how we can get our children back to school, back into childcare, second, and third how we can travel to work and how we can make life in the workplace safer
“And in short how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time re-start the economy. A huge amount of work has been going on, on that plan and as we produce it we are being guided by the science, and we will try to build the maximum political consensus as we produce it across all parties and across the UK
“But there will be five key tests that we must satisfy before we can put that plan into action.
“We must be sure that we can continue to protect the NHS and its ability to cope. We must see a sustained fall in deaths. We must be sure that the infection rate is falling. We must overcome the operational and logistical challenges on testing and PPE.
“Fifth, and this is the most important, we must all make sure that the measures we take do not risk a second spike that would overwhelm the NHS.
“We have come through the peak, or rather we’ve come under what could have been a vast peak as though we’ve been going through some huge alpine tunnel and we can now see the sunlight and pasture ahead of us.
“And so it is vital that we do not now lose control and run slap into a second and even bigger mountain. So to avoid that disaster our fifth and final test is that nothing we do should lift the R or the reproduction rate of that disease back above one.”
During questions the PM said face masks may be advised for the public and that those may help people feel more confident of mitigating risk in the workplace.
Nationally 171,253 people, of those tested, have been positive for the virus and 15,043 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus.
Of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 26,711 people have now died.
Kent and Medway
In Kent and Medway 3941 positive covid tests have been confirmed. Across the same area there have been 529 deaths in hospitals and 71 in community settings attributed to Covid-19.
In East Kent Hospitals, including Margate, Ashford and Canterbury, there have been 173 deaths attributed to coronavirus. In Thanet data from ONS shows 51 deaths registered where Covid-19 is a factor up to April 25. Of those, 33 people died in hospital, 14 in care homes, two in the hospice and two at home.
As of April 17, 129 people have been discharged from the Trust’s hospitals having sufficiently recovered from Covid-19.
Critical care demand lowering
Approximately 11% of all Kent and Medway hospital beds are currently being used for Covid-19 patients (down from 15%) and across all Kent and Medway hospitals there are 300 critical care beds with roughly 200 being ventilators and 100 for the next level down called Oxygen Plus. Currently 68 patients are on ventilators and 22 on Oxygen Plus. This is down from 145 patients just over a week ago.
During a meeting today (April 30) Wilf Williams, the Accountable Officer for Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Activity has come down and our system is still very much able to cope.”
He also said the CCG was managing the issue of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) adding: “A couple of weeks ago things were very tight but that situation is now much better. We have three plus days of supply and it is much more stable and a much better situation than where we were some time ago,”
He said around six percent of Trust staff are off with covid related symptoms or are self-isolating.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days