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  • good afternoon as off 9 a.m. On the 28th of March.

  • A total of 120,776 people have been tested off which 103,687 were confirmed negative and 17,000 and 89 were confirmed positive as a 5 p.m. On the 27th of March.

  • 1000 and 19 patients in the UK who tested positive for Corona virus have sadly died.

  • As with our population for businesses large and small, Corona Virus represents an unprecedented challenge.

  • Speaking with business leaders and represented organisations every day.

  • I appreciate just how tough the situation is when we tell people to stay at home to protect the N hs and save lives.

  • We know it has a really cost to your families and to your firm's.

  • And I want to thank the many businesses and workers right across the UK who are playing a vital role in keeping the British economy going.

  • You are delivering for our nation through this difficult time and we said we would deliver for you doing whatever it takes.

  • That is why we have taken unprecedented action to support our economy to say jobs and secure livelihoods to help businesses pull through at this difficult time, we have set out income support schemes for both the employed on self employed as well as a package of grants, loans, business rate holidays and theeighty deferrals.

  • Businesses and trade unions have welcomed our interventions and I want to reassure them that we're working around the clock to get the funding as quickly as possible to where it is needed.

  • On Monday, we launch the Corona Virus Business Interruption Learned scheme.

  • This scheme is designed to make it easier for businesses with a turnover of up to £45 million toe access vital financial support.

  • So far, the schemes 40 accredited lenders, including all of the high street banks, are processing thousands off applications.

  • This week I provided guidance to English councils on the grants to our smallest businesses, including those operating in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

  • The first transfer funding arrived with English councils yesterday and I want to ensure that the grant money is with businesses as soon as possible.

  • Providing direct funding support toe almost a 1,000,000 businesses across our country now, whilst our companies have requested financial support.

  • They have also asked us to look to ease the burden of regulation at this challenging time, and we have responded to that request.

  • Yesterday, we brought forward legislation to temporarily suspend some competition rules in the supermarket sector.

  • On in the operation off I'd of white fairies from retailers sharing delivery vans to ferry operators coordinating staff.

  • These measures will allow firms to work together to deliver vital service is to the public Maur effectively at this time.

  • We've also introduced measures to ensure that workers who have not taken all of their statuary annual leave you to covet.

  • 19 will now be able to carry that entitlement over into the next two years.

  • This will protect staff from losing out whilst providing businesses with flexibility when they need it most.

  • Earlier this week, together with Companies House, we announce that over four million businesses will be granted a three month extension to the filing of their accounts through a fast track online process.

  • Over 10,000 businesses have already successfully applied for this extension and we will continue to monitor cos abilities to meet the range of other filing obligations they have under the Companies Act and we will provide further extensions if needed.

  • I recognize just how hard employees business owners on directors are working to keep their company's going.

  • It is crucial that when the crisis passes as it will, we are ready to bounce back.

  • And so today I want to announce more measures which are designed to give businesses greater flexibility as they face the current crisis to help them emerge intact, the other side or the curve In 19 pandemic, we will introduce measures to improve the insolvency system, which provides the legal options for companies running into major difficulties.

  • Our overriding objective is to help UK companies which need to undergo a financial rescue restructuring process to keep trading.

  • These measures will give those firms extra time and space, tow weather the storm and be ready when the crisis ends whilst ensuring that creditors get the best return possible.

  • In the circumstances.

  • The changes to the insolvency regime will include new rules to make sure cos undergoing restructuring can continue to get hold of supplies and raw materials On dhe.

  • There will be a temporary suspension off wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat off personal liability during the pandemic.

  • This provision will have retrospective effect from the first off march.

  • However, to be clear, all of the other checks and balances that helped to ensure directors fulfill their duties properly will remain in force.

  • We will bring forward legislation in these areas at the earliest opportunity.

  • We'll also put in place measures to ensure that company's required to hold annual general meetings conducive flexibly in a manner which is compatible with the best public health guidance.

  • This might include postponing or holding the GM online or by phone using only proxy voting.

  • In addition, we are also introducing a range of measures to boost the supply off personal protective equipment such as Face Mars to protect front line N HS staff on we're removing administer of barriers to the production of hand sanitizer by reducing the amount of red tape, new supplies and businesses that produced ingredients for safe hand sanitizer will be able to bring their products to market in a matter of days.

  • Companies including Bru Dog and Indians have already stepped forward to offer their service is I'm incredibly proud off how businesses and individuals across our great nation have risen to the challenge posed by covert 19 whether it is offers from companies coming forward to support the Ventilator Challenge or more than 700,000 people signing up to volunteer for a brilliant, brilliant and hs all those in the public and private sector.

  • Working hard to keep our country safe and moving, Britain is meeting the challenge, working together in a joint endeavor to get through this pandemic and be in no doubt the government will continue to fight tooth and nail protect lives and livelihood everywhere in this country as we stand shoulder to shoulder with our people and our business is thank you.

  • We will now move to the Christian on secession.

  • I think the first question is from the BBC from Dominic Hughes.

  • Dominic, please.

  • Yes, questions mainly for professor powers.

  • I think how full our intensive care units in London and around the UK at the moment Are there any hospitals that have run out of beds or are close to capacity?

  • How many spare ventilator beds do we still have?

  • And then on testing has testing of N.

  • H s staff who are currently having to self isolate as that started Now how many tests have currently being done.

  • Thanks.

  • So thank you very much, eh?

  • So when the question of i t.

  • You capacity, as you know, the N h s has been working incredibly hard to increase the capacity beyond the 4000 or so beds that we typically have on that has bean pursued firstly in London.

  • Although work is going on all over the country because as you are also aware, Thean faction has spread a bit quicker in London s O.

  • We are not at capacity yet within London, but beds are being opened A ll the time to produce that extra surge capacity.

  • So in the first instance, we are using theaters and recovery areas.

  • So those areas in hospitals where anesthetic machines, ventilators, air we're already used for surgery and can be readily adapted to take critically ill patients on that has already occurred.

  • You may have seen some of that in London hospitals, and that's almost doubling the capacity that we have already.

  • We're not using it at the moment, but clearly, number of patients is increasing each day, so we're expanding that capacity in advance.

  • You will also seen the plans at the Enoch chest Nightingale in east London to initially bring on another 500 beds if they are needed on.

  • We aim to get that up and ready for patients next week.

  • So at the moment I'm confident that capacity is there.

  • We have not reached capacity, and I'm also confident that capacity is expanding, particularly in London, so that we keep ahead of increase in patient numbers.

  • I'm on the testing, A CZ, the chief executive of the chest, said yesterday.

  • It is absolutely critical that we now begin to introduce testing for staff.

  • And as I've said before, just to explain, that's really important for two reasons.

  • Firstly, because if we have staff at home either self isolating themselves or in quarantine because a member of the family her symptoms, if it turns out that it's not because of Corona virus and we can bring that staff member back, that is really important for the workforce, particularly in critical areas such as critical care clinicians or emergency department traditions on those of the group's paramedics as well.

  • I should say that we will be focusing on first and secondly because if they are positive when they do come back, they could be confident they won't have some immunity on that will be really important going forward as we understand which parts of the workforce have had this virus and therefore likely to be immune.

  • So Stephen said yesterday, we are now beginning as we ramp up testing, which we're doing all the time to use that extra capacity over above that which we need for patients to start to test in hs staff.

  • So we're working with n HS organizations as I speak to ensure that that testing will be available over the next few days for their critical staff.

  • Thank you, Steven.

  • I think we want to ITV Poor Brandt.

  • Paul.

  • Yeah.

  • Thank you.

  • Business Secretary.

  • Secretary of State first full.

  • Could you give us an update, please?

  • On the health of the Prime minister, the health secretary and other the chief medical officer has now been tested decoded 90 onto the medical director.

  • If I may, given the number of deaths we've seen the past couple of days, what hope is there that we're not on the same trajectory is countries like Italy.

  • And given the rate of increase, can the n hs cope at this current level?

  • Paul Thank you very much for that.

  • Well, as you heard yesterday in the press conference, the prime minister is showing mild symptoms.

  • Hey continues to lead the government's effort in combating covered 19.

  • This morning he held a video conference call on.

  • He will continue to lead right from the front on this, but I think the one thing this has reminded us is that no one is immune.

  • And that is precisely why we asked people to follow the government advice in terms off staying at home, where their absolute able to do that, we want to make sure we protect the N HS and ultimately save lives.

  • Stephen.

  • Yes.

  • So clearly there has been a big increase in deaths today, and every death is tragic.

  • And of course, we need to do everything that we can to ensure that we don't lose the lives of loved ones to this terrible virus.

  • But it's a Patrick balance, I think, the chief scientific adviser, the government said recently.

  • If we can keep that below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.

  • It's early a TTE the moment Andi, the scientists who are working with government, too model what we can expect are, of course, adjusting their predictions now as we start to see the actuality off the epidemic in the UK, rather than what we believe might have happened a few weeks ago.

  • If we do reduce the debts, too.

  • Ah, level, which is below what we initially thought.

  • I want to be absolutely clear.

  • That won't be because we are somehow lucky.

  • It won't be because somehow the virus is acting in this country differently from any other country.

  • It will be because every citizen in this country, the bridge public, have complied with the instructions that the government has given based on the best scientific evidence to reduce the transmission of the disease.

  • We can beat this virus.

  • We can reduce the number of deaths, but only if we reduce the spread on the transmission.

  • Now is not the time to be complacent.

  • Now is the time to really, really lock down on Dhe honed down on what we've been asked to do.

  • A CZ I've said before.

  • It's not somebody else's responsibility.

  • It's all our responsibilities if we are to ensure that we keep within N hs capacity and of course, as I said, earlier.

  • We are extending capacity all the time.

  • Every one of us has a part to play on.

  • We know that can work Great.

  • Thank you very much for that.

  • The next questions from LBC Ben Kentish Ben Thank you, Ben Kentish, LBC Secretary of State.

  • You've told people to stay at home, but you've also told them to go to work.

  • If, of course, they're unable toe work from home.

  • LBC.

  • We've had lots of calls from people saying they simply don't feel safer work on.

  • While the government's urged employers to be responsible for this and it's clear some have, it's also clear that many are.

  • So what will the government do to protect those people who all having to go to work?

  • He workers on non key workers to make sure they're safe to do so.

  • And if I may, to professor powers, Long sweet Boris Johnson said he was confident or hopeful that we could turn the tide within 12 weeks.

  • That was before these more extreme social distancing measures were introduced in this.

  • Now, some talk that Pete could be as little as three weeks away.

  • Are you confident we can now turn the tide sooner than 12 weeks.

  • Ben, thank you very much for that.

  • So we have always been very clear right from the start of the situation is that we will be led by the scientific and medical advice on.

  • That also applies the framing of any guidance that we have put out when it comes to how people should conduct themselves when it comes to work.

  • We have set out a detailed list off nonessential businesses which we have required to close, and I want to thank those businesses for acting responsibly.

  • We've also said that wherever possible, people should work from home and very many people across our country have responded to that.

  • It is, however, the case.

  • There are certain workplaces where you are not able to work from home, such as the manufacturing sector, where you will be required to goingto work.

  • We've said that people should on those occasions, look to go into work.

  • However, it is also incumbent on employers to make sure that they follow the public Health England guidelines and they keep the employees safe on DDE.

  • That certainly is what very many employees are doing.

  • I have conversations every day with businesses with business representative groups and I understand from those conversations that they are indeed adapting on.

  • They're also making sure that where it's required that issuing their staff with peopIe.

  • But if there are instances that people feel that organizations and businesses are not behaving appropriately in terms of their duty of care, that of course there are organizations like the HSC who should be informed.

  • Stephen.

  • So what I am confident off is that it is possible to get on top of this virus on.

  • I'm confident for several reasons.

  • One, because as a scientist and somebody who listens to our colleagues are epidemiologists who understand this.

  • As I said earlier, if we can reduce the transmission rate, the amount of spread from individual to individual, then the virus will start to decline in the population.

  • That is a simple set of maths that underpins a ll.

  • These measures that have been put in and so if we all comply with the measures and reduce that amount of transmission, then yes, we will begin to see a drop in thehe amount of virus circulating.

  • I'm also confident cause we see in other countries who have taken country sex slightly different approaches, but the fundamental rationality is always the same.

  • To reduce transmission, we have seen that begin toe work.

  • The time frame, I think, is difficult to determine.

  • But I think we will see over the course of the next month exactly how that will play out here in the UK But as I said earlier, this is not the time to be complacent.

  • This is the time to really bear down on for all of us to act responsibly, to reduce that transmission.

  • And if we do that, then the quicker we will turn the tide on this on.

  • The quicker we will be confident that we can stay within the capacity that the N.

  • H.

  • S is planning.

  • Great.

  • Thank you, Steven.

  • The next question is from the sun on Sunday Date Wooding, Dave Consecutive State It seems that this virus has infected the heart of government.

  • One could be forgiven, thinking that with the Prime Minister Ellen, members of his Cabinet and officials, some of them are going down like flies.

  • How can you run an effective government when it's it's rampant at the very heart of Westminster?

  • And of course, if this is infecting the N HS in similar.

  • It's similar levels.

  • What does that mean for the treatment of people who was suffering from this virus?

  • And secondly, can you just perhaps give us some indication of what's being done to bring home some British subjects who were abroad stranded?

  • And we've seen some of the police from them about the difficulties that having in getting home a day, thank you very much for that?

  • Can I be absolute clear is that the prime minister has had a mild symptoms, but he's absolutely read needing the response from the front.

  • The government is to Italy united in ensuring that we combat this virus.

  • On that, we bounce back.

  • The other side of it, so I want to be very clear about that, is that there are no gaps in government.

  • We are collectively all working very hard.

  • Led by the prime minister, you raised the issue about getting our people back.

  • My colleagues in the F.

  • C o Dominic Raab.

  • Other colleagues are working incredibly hard on night and day to make sure that we can get Brits back to the UK We will continue to work with airlines to get them back from around the world and of course, in the first instance, through commercial means.

  • But also three repatriation flights and exceptional circumstances, for instance, by chartering.

  • And as you know, a British Airways charter flight arrived back from Peru yesterday on the F.

  • C o.

  • Of course, working very hard to get more flights confirmed in the coming days.

  • Steven, did you want?

  • Yes.

  • So N h A staffer, obviously critical for the reasons that I've mentioned in the reasons you know Andi, they are like any member of the public possibility that they will.

  • They will get the virus.

  • Clearly, we keep them protected at work.

  • But they too will will have to self isolate and quarantine quite rightly, if they developed symptoms that are compatible with covert 19.

  • Of course, in the work that we are doing to increase n hs capacity, we have to take into account that some of our staff will be off.

  • For those reasons on, I can assure you that we have been planning for this since since January.

  • Since very early on, even before the World Health Organization called it a pandemic on, we have taken into account local organizations do take into account that there will be a degree of absenteeism off staff on.

  • As I also said earlier, That's the reason that rolling out testing to N.

  • H s staff, which is what we are doing now, is the critical first step in ensuring that where staff don't have covert 19 they can come back to the workforce as quickly as possible.

  • Thank you for that.

  • But the next question is from The Sunday Telegraph Ed Malnic Ed.

  • Thank you.

  • The government's talked about hospitals now getting the quantities of protective equipment that they need.

  • Can you guarantee that all hospitals will get the same level of peopIe like the F F P three masks?

  • That's Professor Powers and Mr Sharma.

  • The government's appealed for help from industry to produce ventilated, getting the support it needs to produce people.

  • Or do you need more help from industry?

  • And when will the first of the 3.5 million antibody tests used in great so so gain on personal protective equipment?

  • Peopie obviously critical thio management of patients with covert 19 and to the protection off staff s o.

  • We are putting supplies off peopie out into health care organizations constantly, so over 100 and 70 million of the very highest level masks on in the last couple of weeks.

  • And just in the last day, a couple of days.

  • 40 million gloves, 25 million facemasks, 40 million aprons s o vast numbers going out.

  • We are strengthening the supply, Jane every day to ensure that every organization gets the equipment that they need.

  • That is a nab salute priority for us.

  • Great.

  • Thank you very much for that.

  • Well, a zoo have announced today we are making changes so that we can get more hand sanitizers into system and make sure that we get more PEOPIE equipment into the system.

  • So specifically, in terms of peopie, the measures that we have undertaken is at the Office for Product Safety and standards, which actually sits in my department has written to notify bodies on this issue the notified bodies of the ones that are, recognizes, experts who test products for safety requirements.