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  • Good afternoon and welcome back to Downing Street for today's Corona virus press briefing.

  • I'm joined by our deputy medical deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Phantom, on by the chief nurse Ruth May.

  • Ah, plan is to save as many lives as possible by protecting the N hs and preventing it from being overwhelmed.

  • And we're doing this in two ways.

  • Gun by slowing the spread of the virus.

  • And that's why it is so important that people stay at home.

  • And that's true for everyone who's watching how important it is that we stay at home and two by boosting the capacity of the N HS to care for those who fall sick, that means more beds, more staff, more lifesaving equipment on DME or effective treatments will come on to that.

  • Corona virus continues its grim march like a report that through the government's ongoing monitoring and testing program, according to the latest figures, as of this morning, a total of 173,784 people have been tested, off whom 38,168 have tested positive, 3605 people have sadly died.

  • We reminded again today that for the n hs, this truly is the front line in the last 24 hours to nurses on to health care assistance tragically died fighting Corona virus.

  • Every life lost to this dreadful disease makes me Maur determined than ever to push for victory.

  • And today I want to update you with the latest on what we're doing to boost N hs capacity.

  • So the capacity we have to care is always above the need for that care.

  • First, we're delivering Maur critical care bets.

  • This morning I attended the opening of the New Nightingale Hospital in East London with Ruth and many others.

  • It was planned, constructed and fully staffed in just nine days.

  • And that is next standing achievement.

  • I picked pay tribute to Ruth and all who've been involved in its construction.

  • It shows what's possible when we come together as one team in one national effort, I pay tribute to the extraordinary work of everyone the n hs, the military, the construction industry, who both donated supplies and of course, their expertise at the engineers, the electrician's, the plumbers, the caterers and others A ll playing their part to build a place of hope and a place of healing.

  • It was really inspiring to go and see the sheer scale of it and the teamwork going on there.

  • And lastly I want to thank you.

  • I want to thank everyone who is at home because you are giving the N hs the time to expand so that it Consejo lives by staying at home.

  • You are saving lives.

  • We have more nightingale hospitals planned on on the way in Birmingham and Manchester and Glasgow.

  • And today we've announced that we will begin the work on to further Nightingale hospitals in Bristol and Hargett.

  • The bristle nightingale will have a capacity of up to 1000 beds and in Harrogate, a capacity of up to 500 the Nightingale hospitals are not only are not the only expansion we've seen across the neck chest since the start of this crisis, we've boosted the number of critical care beds to care for Corona virus by over 2500.

  • That's before the addition will get from the Nightingale hospitals.

  • And the result of this extraordinary work is that in every hospital in the country we have managed to expand capacity.

  • And as we stand today, over 2000 critical care beds are free and available and they're ready should they be needed.

  • And that's before the Nightingale hospitals come on stream.

  • And of course, we're working round the clock to deliver essential deliveries of P p e across the whole N HS across social care.

  • Key public service is and in all four nations of the UK yesterday, more than 26 million peopIe products were delivered to 281 different organizations.

  • And I've agreed with the Northern Ireland Executive that we will immediately Bree providing more peopie to Northern Ireland to meet their needs.

  • Over five million items, including goggles and aprons and masks over 7000 and it just staff have now been tested on next alongside testing were intensively researching drugs and treatments.

  • Right.

  • Since the start of this crisis, we've been clear that all our plans are based on the best possible science and that science gets better every day.

  • But there's still a lot that we don't know about how to treat and potentially prevent covert 19.

  • So research about treatments is absolutely central to our plan.

  • The U.

  • K of course, has a long tradition that we're very proud off off, being the best in the world in this sort of science.

  • And we are a world leader in clinical trials on We're putting this to use right now, bringing together some of the finest research minds in the country to design new trials, and we're delivering them at record pace as well.

  • We've established three national clinical trials covering each major stage of the disease primary care, hospital care and Krystle Critical Care for the most seriously ill.

  • And just like the nightingale.

  • One of these trousers, in fact, put together in just nine days, which is breathtaking speed.

  • These trials are looking at the effect of existing drugs and steroids repurposed for treatment off Covert 19 1 of the trials, which is called Recovery, which deals in hospital care, is the largest of its kind in the world, with 926 patients enrolled.

  • We've also set up an Expert Therapeutics task force to search for and short list other camp candidate medicines for trials, and I'm advised on that work by my brilliant colleague Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer who is one of the finest research scientists of his generation on Jonathan will say a bit more about this in a few minutes.

  • We need more patients to volunteer to be part of these trials because the bigger the trials, the better the data on the faster we can roll out the treatments if and only if it's proven to work.

  • These treatments will help us as the science develops, but fun now, the only way to protect yourself and your family from this disease is to stay at home.

  • And, of course, while this is a national effort to find these treatments, it's also an international effort in the same way that we've donated more money to the global search for a vaccine than any other country.

  • So, too, we will lead the world in the science of these treatments on whatever we learn we will share because we are all on the same side in this war.

  • Earlier today, aspect to my counterparts in the G seven to coordinate our research efforts over this and other things on whether it's treatments or equipment or N hs capacity, we will strain every sin.

  • You we will move whatever mountains need to be moved.

  • We need everyone to keep playing their part.

  • And that includes you.

  • The only way to protect yourselves and others now is to stay at home with one final thing I want to say is this.

  • We're set for a warm weekend in some parts of the country, but the disease is still spreading, and we absolutely cannot afford to relax social distancing measures that we have in place.

  • We cannot relax our discipline.

  • Now, if we do, people will die.

  • So I end with the advice that we all know.

  • This advice is not a request.

  • It is an instruction.

  • Stay at home, protect lives, and then you will be doing your part.

  • I'm not going to hand over to Roof.

  • May the chief nurse to say a little bit about the Nightingale Hospital and then to Jonathan Van Town to talk about the treatments and the data that we've got room.

  • Thank you, Secretary of State.

  • Before I talk about the Nightingale Hospital in London, I want to recognize that today we have had the very sad news off the loss of two of my colleagues we have lost today.

  • Amia rukh Onda Neema Nash green two registered nurses working to protect our public and they suddenly have died.

  • My sincere condolences to their families, their friends on dhe, their colleagues because they were one of us, they were one off my profession off the energy s family.

  • I worry that there's going to be more and I want to honor them today and recognize their service.

  • So as the Secretary of State said we were with evil on His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, he was joining via video cameras.

  • We he opened the first n hs Nightingale Hospital in London.

  • It was an extraordinary feat.

  • People have worked so hard from all sorts of ways.

  • It works of life, all sorts of backgrounds on they've come together as one team to build N.

  • H s hospital, an enormous piece of work off absolute huge as the secretary of State of said, where he's announced to further facilities in have a gate for the people of the Northeast and in Bristol for the people off the southwest.

  • And of course, that's alongside Birmingham and Manchester.

  • So thank you to all of our N.

  • H s staff, all of our staff across into social care whether that's nurses, midwives, doctors, all of them pulling together to make sure that we continue to prepare for cove it.

  • 19.

  • Serge, I'm grateful for all of our frontline staff on all of our support staff who are caring as a team for sick patients.

  • But I'm very grateful to you the British public for your patients on din helping R N h s.

  • As the secretary state said, this weekend is going to be very warm and it's very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.

  • But please, I ask you to remember Amy on Arema.

  • Please stay at home for them.

  • Thank you, Ruth on dhe Jonathan Bantam If you could bring us up to speed on the treatments on dawn, the latest data that we have thank you Secretary of State.

  • I'll begin with the data on the first slide.

  • I want to show you is a survey which shows the behavioral change as off 29th of March in relation to the social distancing advice that the government has given.

  • As you can see on slide if you begin on the left, there is a small increase in mobility within residential settings.

  • This actually is good because it shows people are staying at home.

  • If you then contrast that with the bars further to the right, which move progressively through grocery and pharmacy, through public parks, through workplaces, through transit stations and finally to retail and recreation, you can see progressively larger declines in mobility across the UK This is really very encouraging indeed, and shows that the British public are following the advice that was given to them.

  • But it needs to continue.

  • Next light, please.

  • If you then move on and you look at the change in transport use between the fifth of March on just a few days ago, you can see dramatic declines across the peace in total motor vehicles and in use of national rail buses on tubes in London.

  • This again is very encouraging Next life.

  • However, as we have always said, we do not expect these changes to turn the curve on this awful disease immediately.

  • It will take time, and as you can see, this slide shows the number of U K cases by day and you can see the numbers are increasing.

  • This remains a dangerous time.

  • It remains vitally important that people continue to stay at home and practice the social distancing that we've asked off them even this weekend as the weather turns warmer.

  • Next line, please.

  • You will see a similar picture for hospital admissions that they are increasing.

  • And again, this reinforces the advice we give the final slide.

  • Please shows the comparison of the UK in relation to various other countries on the index is set at the first day in each country when 50 deaths were reported.

  • And you can see from this slide that it is a global battle and that the U.

  • K.

  • Is in the same situation.

  • In terms of the curve in the shape of the curve, as many, many other countries around the world.

  • This is a serious battle.

  • We need to keep fighting it.

  • But now like to talk about clinical trials.

  • If you could take the slide down.

  • Thank you.

  • Um, the first thing I want to say is that this is a new disease where at the moment we do not have any probe in treatments.

  • The UK is absolutely determined, however, to find effective treatments for this virus disease.

  • Weeks ago, we began to look at clinical trials.

  • We may not have publicized it at that point, but a lot of work has been going on for weeks.

  • Behind the scenes, clinical trials are a gold standard way to discover if the treatment works or not.

  • But saying whether it works or not is rather too simplistic.

  • The treatment has to be effective.

  • It also has to be safe.

  • And we also have to understand the right dosage to use the right patients to give the treatment, too, on the right time in the illness to give that treatment.

  • This is complicated stuff on.

  • The only way to unpick the signal and make sure we get it right is through clinical trials.

  • And as my colleague, the secretary of state has said, there are three trials already up and running in the UK that target different places in the patient pathway from primary care through to critical care.

  • And the recruitment rate has been absolutely astonishing, particularly in the recovery trial, where we are at 926 patients some three weeks after the trial began.

  • It's astonishing.

  • It really is a fantastic tribute to the fact that the N.

  • H.

  • S is getting on with delivering care, but at the same time is committed to finding the right effective treatments.

  • Now again, a secretary status said, our initial focus has been on what we call repurposed medicines medicines that all are already licensed for some other use or indication, um, an example would be hydroxy Clara Quinn, which is a malaria drug.

  • Another example in our clinical trials would be a combination of the pin of Aaron Ritter Olivia, which is an HIV treatment.

  • So we are going for the foreground targets in the first instance where we already have a drug that is licensed.

  • But we're just not stopping there.

  • We are determined in the next round of clinical trials to move on to new medicines, ones that are in what we call face to face three development now, possibly for something else but which might have a role to play.

  • And we're going to explore all of those technologies.

  • And to do this, we're going to need this therapeutics task force that we have set up to keep an oversight on to coordinate this.

  • No, I know that there'll be a question about when are we going to get some results from these clinical trials, and my straight answer to you is, I don't know.

  • I think it's going to be a few months, but it will all depend upon how quickly patients are recruited into the trials across the N h s.

  • The faster we go in getting bigger numbers in the trials that clearer and more emphatic and more granular signals we will get about what works and who it works for.

  • Thank you, Thank you very much.

  • So if we now go Thio questions at the first question is going to be from Hugh Pin of the BBC.

  • Thank you very much.

  • It's a question, actually for Jonathan Van Tom, If I may, when do you expect the peak of the epidemic to be?

  • But at that point, will the N.

  • H.

  • S have enough ventilators to give those who need critical care that care at a time when some patients might fear they won't be able to get it?

  • Thank you for the two questions.

  • The 1st 1 is about when we will turn this curve round when we're going to peak on when we're going to come down.

  • Um, we don't know the answer to that yet.

  • We have always said that we will know if our social distancing measures are working a few weeks after we have put them in place on by.

  • My quick calculation were a kind of 10 or 11 days at the moment, so it's too soon to say it will partly depend upon how well those social distancing measures are adhered to by every one of us.

  • But I hope it will be soon.

  • We're going to watch very carefully to see when we've hit the peak on when we're starting to turn it.

  • But we will not take any premature actions were going to stick with science and see where it takes us.

  • Your second question is kind of related and about how tall the peak will be and whether there will be enough ventilator capacity across the N.

  • H.

  • S.

  • I can tell you that I don't think we're anywhere close to that kind of scenario at the moment.

  • We will watch it extremely closely, and we will make decisions as we need to on a day by day basis.

  • But I repeat, we are not anywhere close to the scenario you describe at the moment.

  • Thanks very much.

  • If we go to Robert Peston of TV.

  • Hi, Robert.

  • Now.

  • Afternoon, gentlemen.

  • Firstly, on the clinical trials, John Van Tom said the success depends to a certain extent on the numbers enrolled in those trials.

  • Was that actually a call to individuals with symptoms to enroll in those trials?

  • Are you looking for volunteers?

  • Secondly, very recently, Patrick Balance told the Healthy Commit Select Committee that on the basis of the lag between infections and deaths, he thought they were probably 1000 people in the community with this virus for every death.

  • Does that mean we think we're not far off four million people infected?

  • Or if you want a new rule of thumb now that we're slightly further on, I'm and then finally, Secretary State, you're well aware because of ministers and people, you know that the range of symptoms you can get with this is very broad indeed.

  • So, for example, there's a lot of evidence that losing sense of smell and taste is a symptom.

  • Are you looking at changing the guidelines to people from for when they quarantine?

  • Because at the moment you're saying, you know, self isolate.

  • If it's a high fever and a cough but you're gonna add to the list of symptoms where people should start self isolate.

  • Well, thank you if I just if I answer the some of that and then I'll cast over T j B T on the last one, which you addressed directly to me.

  • Robert, it's complimentary of you to ask me a scientific medical question, but I am going to resist the temptation toe.

  • Answer it because we've got a proper medical scientist in the room on.

  • We are following the science for me.

  • Personally, I did lose my sense of taste on DDE.

  • That actually is.

  • It's come back, though I can, so I can assure people who have lost their sense of taste that the good news is that that in my case, that wasn't permanent.

  • Ah, nde are just on the first point about the clinical trials that the answer is that we are looking for people to sign up to the clinical trials where that's possible within that hospital on where that is clinically advised.

  • This is the call really is to the to the N hs who are the ones who would make recommendations that somebody would be honor clinical trial J.

  • V team want to add to those two questions and also answer Roberts Middle question on the on the rate of infection is thank you very much.

  • I will answer those questions on the point about loss of taste and smell and Naz mia.

  • We have actually asked our expert advisory committee nerve tag to look at this.

  • And there are some anecdotal data that are around the published domain that suggests that a proportion of people do indeed lose their sense of taste and smell.

  • However, we have looked at the data that there are in relation to weather that on its own is a symptom that would be important to add to the case definition on The answer to that from our experts is absolutely not that, yes, this is true or as far as we can tell on limited data, it appears to be true.

  • But it doesn't contribute anything on its own to the overall affinity of the diagnosis.

  • On the second point about volunteers for clinical trials, people will have read in the newspapers.

  • Sometimes when a new drug is being tried, that there's an advert and you ring up a new volunteer for the clinical trial.

  • This is very, very different scenario here.

  • These air about patients who are undergoing treatment at some stage for covert 19.

  • First of all, we need the physicians in charge of their care to sign up.

  • Four the clinical trial.

  • And then it is up to the physicians to approach the patient and ask them if they would like to take part.

  • And it's a process of very careful, written, informed consent for that to happen.

  • But the straight answer is yes.

  • We do need people to take part in the clinical trials, and they are doing for the recovery trial.

  • Yesterday's figure reported to me was a little over 700 patients into the trial.

  • Today I'm walking on my way to 10 Downing Street.

  • On the number comes through of 926.

  • This is really fantastic work by both clinicians on by patients on your final point about are there more people out there than we are counting through the case numbers?

  • Um, now, testing is based primarily at the moment in hospitals where it is needed most, and there will be further cases out there.

  • People who are isolating in accordance with the guidelines who have covert 19 who we have not counted in the official statistics, how large that is.