Coronavirus in UK live blog as it happened: deputy chief medical officer advises public to not inject themselves with disinfectant following Trump claims

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Friday, 24th April 2020, 6:22 pm

We will be providing live updates until 6pm this evening.

A girl looks at a mural by artist Rachel List paying tribute to NHS staff battling the COVID-19 outbreak painting on a wall in Pontefract (Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A girl looks at a mural by artist Rachel List paying tribute to NHS staff battling the COVID-19 outbreak painting on a wall in Pontefract (Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 24

Last updated: Friday, 24 April, 2020, 15:18

First human tests of potential coronavirus vaccine begin

The first human tests of a potential coronavirus vaccine have begun, but the scientist leading the programme warns that a mass vaccination programme is still months away.

Two volunteers have been injected - one with a coronavirus vaccine candidate and one with a meningitis vaccine acting as a control.

Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: "The reason we stuck with two volunteers is to make sure there are no unintended effects and we will monitor them very closely over the first few days.

Prof Pollard said the volunteers will not be deliberately exposed to the virus but will instead wait until they come across it in the community.

"Of course there isn't very much virus around in the community at the moment - the lockdown has had a big impact on transmission," he said. "So it is difficult to predict exactly when they will meet the virus and it may be some months before that happens."

Prof Pollard added that testing was not as simple as putting someone who has been vaccinated in the same room as someone suffering from coronavirus and is symptomatic.

"You are potentially putting those people at risk and we know people who have had large exposure to the virus, some have become extremely unwell - including some young people," he said.

"At this moment we don't have a treatment for coronavirus so we would have to do this extremely carefully."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'on the mend'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the Prime Minister is "on the mend".

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "I spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday. He's definitely in good spirits and getting much better and so that is very good news."

Asked whether there was pressure on Mr Johnson to return earlier than he was ready, Mr Hancock added: "He has followed his doctors' advice and it is down to a conversation between the Prime Minister and his doctors as to exactly when he comes back.

"The good news is he is clearly very much on the mend. He has spoken to the President of the United States, he has spoken to Her Majesty and he has been talking to those of us in Cabinet who are involved in the response."

10 million key workers and their families can now book coronavirus tests

As 10 million key workers and their families can now book coronavirus tests, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he is "carefully" watching to ensure the website could handle the online traffic.

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "As with all 'switch-ons' of IT systems, that's always a moment when you're running it that you concentrate on it very carefully, shall I put it that way?

Hancock said results of the Covid-19 test for most people would be available within 24 hours, but for some it would take a little longer.

He said the Government was also introducing home test kits that are then collected by a courier to prevent people having to travel long distances.

"They will start in small numbers but that service will grow, and I think that will be a popular service as it increasingly becomes available."

Hancock: we should not 'let the virus rip' to test vaccine

When asked whether more social interaction might be required to test a vaccine, Matt Hancock had told the BBC that is not an option being pushed.

"I don't think that saying we should let the virus rip in order to test the vaccine is an approach that anybody would recommend," he said.

"The truth is we need to get the number of new cases right down and then you can use trace, track and test to hold it down."

'It is my preference that we work together as one country'

Matt Hancock has also said he would prefer if social distancing measures were lifted across the whole of the UK at the same time.

"So far we have moved as one United Kingdom and I think that has been a very good thing," he told the BBC.

"It is my preference that we work together as one country, I think that is where the public has been during this.

"But I also respect the responsibilities that my devolved colleagues have got."

Experts reject President Trump suggestion of injecting patients with disinfectant

Donald Trump has been widely condemned after suggesting disinfectant could be injected into patients as a possible treatment for Covid-19.

The president noted that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on coronavirus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people, saying the virus "does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that".

The claims have been widely denounced and described as dangerous. 

Starmer asks Baroness Doreen Lawrence to lead review into impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities

Sir Keir Starmer has asked Baroness Doreen Lawrence to lead a review into the impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The Labour leader also appointed Baroness Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in a racist attack 27 years ago this week, as race relations adviser.

Sir Keir said: "Doreen Lawrence has spent almost three decades campaigning against injustice. I have seen first-hand her drive and determination, and was proud to stand beside her in fighting for justice for Stephen.

"Her achievements embody Labour's values and our historic mission to create a fairer, more equal society.

"It is extremely concerning to see the disproportionate toll coronavirus is taking on our BAME communities. We cannot afford to treat this as an issue to investigate once the crisis is over. We must address it now."

Dettol: 'don't inject disinfectant'

The company which makes Dettol has urged people not to try injecting disinfectants as a way of treating Covid-19 after Donald Trump said "it would be interesting to check that".

During his latest press conference, the US president noted that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on the virus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people, saying the virus "does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that".

Hours later disinfectant manufacturer RB, the company behind the Dettol and Lysol brands, issued a statement saying: "Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus.

"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)."

Dettol: 'don't inject disinfectant'

The company which makes Dettol has urged people not to try injecting disinfectants as a way of treating Covid-19 after Donald Trump said "it would be interesting to check that".

During his latest press conference, the US president noted that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on the virus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people, saying the virus "does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that".

Hours later disinfectant manufacturer RB, the company behind the Dettol and Lysol brands, issued a statement saying: "Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus.

"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)."

Coronavirus test application site experiencing high demand

Cancer surgeons face 'impossible question'

Cancer surgeons are facing "an impossibly difficult question" of whether to operate during the coronavirus outbreak, the head of a professional organisation has said.

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCS) president Professor Michael Griffin is leading calls for more "Covid-free hubs" to be available so life-saving procedures can go ahead.

The RCS, which represents 15,000 members UK-wide, conducted a survey of its fellows and found a third of those who carry out cancer operations have completely stopped them.

Scotland reports 64 more deaths

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced 64 more hospital deaths in Scotland relating to coronavirus. 

1,184 have died in Scotland to date.

UK not looking into disinfectant as treatment

Downing Street said the UK was not looking at recommending the injection of disinfectant to treat coronavirus, following US president Donald Trump suggesting it as a potential treatment method during a White House press briefing.

Asked about the remarks, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: "No, it is not something that is being looked at here."

Conservative MP takes aim at Chinese Communist Party

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat has accused the Chinese Communist Party of putting its own survival ahead of that of the survival of people during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told the BBC's World At One programme: "The one thing that really marks out the Chinese Communist Party is not that they didn't have sufficient data, but that they deliberately falsified the data. Now this is very different from other countries.

"The arrest of Li Wenliang, who tried to call out the problems that he was seeing and sadly later died from (it) in Wuhan, demonstrates that the party puts its own self ahead of the interests of its people and ahead of the interests of the wider world.

"And later, the party also influenced the World Health Organisation (WHO) not to communicate with states like Taiwan who were responding well, but instead to perpetuate the falsification that the Chinese state had begun, and that had already put the Chinese people at risk and was now putting the world at risk.

"So it's a really very, very specific problem that we're dealing with which is the survival of the party is put ahead of the survival of the people."

Latest death toll figures for England and Wales

NHS England has announced 587 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 17,373.

In Wales a further 110 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths there to 751.

Page 1 of 3