Matt Hancock has said some coronavirus restrictions will remain in place in Leicester after next week.
The Health Secretary Mr Hancock has given the update in the House of Commons where he said “there is still a lot to do”.
Although schools and some shops will be allowed to open from next Friday, Leicester’s lockdown will continue and the hospitality industry will not be able to open.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health reported 66 more deaths across all settings on Thursday, taking the total to 45,119.
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Health Secretary pays tribute to people of Leicestershire
Mr Hancock paid tribute to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire for their “perseverance and hard work”.
He told the Commons: “Some say that the local lockdown is unnecessary. I wish this were true, but sadly it remains vital for the health of everyone in Leicester and the rest of the country that these restrictions stay in place.
“We will review them again in a fortnight. I hope that this careful easing of restrictions will provide some comfort to people in Leicester and Leicestershire.
“And I’d say this directly to people of Leicester and of Leicestershire: I pay tribute to you all. Your perseverance and your hard work has brought real and tangible results and you’ve shown respect for one another.”
Some coronavirus swab test kits will no longer be used.
Matt Hancock has said some of the coronavirus test swabs will no longer be used.
“We are requesting that the use of these Randox swab test kits be paused in all settings until further notice,” he said.
“This problem was brought to my attention yesterday afternoon.”
He added: “Clinical advice is that there is no evidence of any harm. That test results are not affected and that there are no other issues with any of our other test swabs.”
‘More targeted approach to restrictions on non-essential retail’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said some of the lockdown restrictions can be lifted in Leciester from July 24, but not all.
In a statement, he told the Commons virus rates in the city “still remain well above the national average and the average for surrounding areas”.
He added: “We’re now in a position to relax some but not all of the restrictions that were in place.
“From July 24 we’ll be removing the restrictions on schools and early years childcare and taking a more targeted approach to the restrictions on non-essential retail.”
Non essential retail can reopen in Leicester
Mr Hancock has said that non-essential retail can reopen in Leicester on July 24 but the Government will be taking a targeted approach to the sector.
But travel restrictions will remain in force and hospitality sector will remain closed.
Restrictions on schools in Leicester to be lifted on July 24
Restrictions on schools and early years childcare to be lifted on July 24.
Reduction in Leicester’s rate
Seven-day infection rate is 119 cases per 100,000 people.
Percentage of people testing positive is now 4.8%.
But Mr Hancock says this is still above the national average.
Leicester was accounting for 10% of all positive cases
Mr Hancock has said the rate in Leicester was 135 per 100,000 people.
This was three times higher than the next highest city and 10% of all positive cases.
Health Secretary begins statement
Matt Hancock has begun his statement in the House of Commons.
He begins by saying he has had meetings about actions they are taking in Leicester throughout the day.
Health Secretary due to give statement shortly
Matt Hancock is due to give his “important announcement” shortly.
He is due to address MPs in the House of Commons at 5pm.
Chief adviser says there’s ‘absolutely no reason’ to change working from home advice
Sir Patrick Vallance told the Science and Technology Committee he sees “absolutely no reason” to change people working from home.
He told MPs: “I think my view on this, and I think this is a view shared by Sage, is that we’re still at a time when distancing measures are important.
“And, of the various distancing measures, working from home for many companies remains a perfectly good option because it’s easy to do.
“I think a number of companies think it’s actually not detrimental to productivity.
“And in that situation, absolutely no reason I can see to change it.”
‘No assumption that there will be a vaccine in the immediate future’
Sir Patrick Vallance said there was no assumption there will be a coronavirus vaccine in the immediate future.
He told the Science and Technology Committee the UK had a “wide range” of vaccine options “because we don’t know which one is going to win”.
Sir Patrick said: “Our assumption is we won’t have it and when we get it we will be thrilled.”
Asked about human challenge trials, which involve deliberately exposing people to the virus after giving them the vaccine, he said the method was a “well-established way” of testing vaccines.
Sir Patrick said: “What are the two big challenges for this virus? Dose and rescue.
“So the prerequisites to do human challenge studies are to understand what dose causes a safe infection and can you rescue it if you get it wrong?”
Asked what the current answer to those questions was, he said: “We don’t know the dose and we don’t yet know when remdesivir (drug) will rescue the infection.
“It is absolutely the right thing to explore, but we are not there yet in terms of having all the answers.
“We need to make sure we progress safely.”
Wales gave England more than 10 million items of PPE
During the coronavirus pandemic Wales gave England more than 10 million items of personal protective equipment, the country’s health minister has revealed.
Mutual aid agreements in place with Westminster, Holyrood and Stormont saw nearly 15 million items of PPE, such as facemasks, gloves, visors and gowns, given to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Wales had received 1.4 million items of PPE from those countries in return, the Senedd was told.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the figures showed that inter-government relations had worked well during the Covid-19 crisis but suggested England had “significant challenges in organising themselves”.
“Of the net figure though we’ve actually provided slightly more mutual aid to Scotland and Northern Ireland but significantly more mutual aid to England – we’ve provided more than 10 million items net to England,” Mr Gething said.
‘Absolutely preferable’ to have greater testing capacity earlier on in the pandemic
Sir Patrick said it would have been “absolutely preferable” to have much greater testing capacity earlier in the pandemic.
He told the Science and Technology Committee that one lesson to learn from the pandemic was the “importance” of data flows.
He said: “It would have been absolutely preferable to have much greater testing capacity early on.
“But it’s not just testing, it’s basic information flows around patients in hospitals, around rates of admission, around rates of movement. Those sorts of things are important parts of this as well.”
‘Coronavirus likely to be around for a number of years’
Sir Patrick told the committee that coronavirus was likely to be around for a number of years.
Asked about the potential of a second wave, he said what most people mean by this is essentially a re-emergence of the first wave which has been suppressed.
But he told MPs that if there is an increase in cases in the winter: “You could argue that is the tail end of the first wave still.
“And I think it is quite probable that we will see this virus coming back in different waves over a number of years.”
642 more people test positive in UK
As of 9am on 16 July, 292,552 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK in total.
This is a rise of 642 since yesterday.
66 more deaths in the UK
The Department of Health has reported 66 more deaths in the UK across all settings, taking the total to 45,119.
Chief adviser says outcome of pandemic in the UK ‘has not been good’
The outcome of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK “has not been good”, the Government’s chief scientific adviser said.
Sir Patrick Vallance told the Science and Technology Committee there will be “many factors” that determine how well countries respond to the outbreak.
He said: “As (chief medical officer Professor) Chris Whitty has said before, it’s very difficult to know where we stand at the moment.
“It’s clear that the outcome has not been good in the UK, I think you can be absolutely clear about that.
“It is clear you can see a band of countries that have done less well in the temperate zone. Countries that are very well connected internationally, countries that have got population structures of a certain type.
“There are many factors that are going to play in this as we look and say, ‘what is it that makes some countries having done worse than others?’, and there will be decisions made that will turn out not to have been the right decisions at the time.”
Temporary ban on evictions and rent increases in Ireland to be extended
The temporary ban on evictions and rent increases first introduced during the pandemic will not end on Monday.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said there are a lot of tenants who are “very anxious” about the prospect of being evicted from their homes.
He said: “The idea that people will be evicted into situations of homelessness, faced with the current pandemic, is unthinkable – from a public health point of view and a moral point of view.”
The current emergency ban on notice-to-quits, evictions and rent increases is due to expire this Monday, July 20.
‘Lockdown carries risks to people’s meantal and physical health’
The coronavirus lockdown “carries risks” to people’s mental and physical health, the Government’s chief scientific adviser has said.
Sir Patrick Vallance told the Science and Technology Committee it was “crucially important” that the indirect impact of the lockdown on people’s health was fully understood.
He said: “I think the chief medical officer has been pretty clear about this, and that is the way this should be looked at… overall excess deaths.
“If you look at overall excess deaths then you’re looking at the integrated effect of the virus itself with all the other reasons people may have suffered as a result of this.
“We do need to understand the impact of that and it’s very clear that lockdown itself carries risks, and those risks are to both physical health and mental health.”
Russian foreign ministry slams Dominic Raab’s statement on hacking
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed Dominic Raab’s “ambiguous” and “confusing” statement.
She said the UK had admitted there was “no evidence of full-scale interference” by Russia.
“However they claim that any attempts of such interference are unacceptable and they also voiced some hints on certain investigations, criminal investigation, that allegedly is under way.
“At this juncture it is premature to make any statements on our behalf, but let me say this: this statement is so ambiguous and so confusing that it is unclear what they are trying to say.”
Funding for childcare sector announced in Scotland
An £11.2 million fund for the childcare sector as it fully reopens has been announced by the Education Secretary.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday, John Swinney praised those who have worked in the sector throughout lockdown, particularly looking after the children of key workers.
The new Transitional Support Fund will be made available to childcare operators, including those who offer out of school care, to meet costs incurred by measures required to meet public health standards.
The Scottish Government said the money can be spent on increasing cleaning, new equipment to improve outdoor spaces, changes to help support social distancing among adults or other measures taken by providers.
Calls for rehab safety net as long-term Covid symptoms ‘not taken seriously’
Covid-19 patients are being left “broken” by long-term health issues that are not being taken seriously enough by the Government, campaigners say.
Thousands of patients across the UK say they are “debilitated” by new or recurring symptoms months after they initially fell ill with coronavirus.
Dr Ron Daniels, executive director of Sepsis UK, says there needs to be a rehabilitation “safety net” put in place to allow people who are deteriorating to receive immediate access to face-to-face care.
Experts have compared the condition of post-Covid patients with those recovering from sepsis, viral pneumonia or a major operation, leaving many unable to work or care for loved ones.
Cluster of cases found in Limavady in Northern Ireland
A cluster of Covid-19 cases has been discovered in the Co Londonderry town of Limavady, Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency said.
It said: “At present we can link the cases to a social gathering in a private/residential setting.”
Testing and contact tracing is being conducted to identify people who may be affected to help prevent any further spread.
It added: “With lockdown restrictions being eased, this type of occurrence is to be expected, which is why the Test, Trace and Protect programme is in place.”
Public toilets ‘should reopen wherever possible’
Public toilets closed due to Covid-19 should reopen “wherever possible” though it remains a decision for local authorities, a minister has said.
Housing, communities and local government minister Simon Clarke said he has written to councils encouraging them to open their facilities if it is safe to do so.
It comes as MPs debate a Bill which Mr Clarke said will reduce the cost of running toilets for stretched councils and “help keep these vital public facilities open”.
Do you think the economy will fully recover?
Four hospital deaths in North East and Yorkshire
The number of deaths of patients with Covid-19 by region are as follows:
East of England 6
North East & Yorkshire 4
North West 5
South East 2
South West 0
England deaths were patients aged between 52 and 91
Patients were aged between 52 and 91 years old. All patients had known underlying health conditions.
Their families have been informed.
Foreign Secretary condemns hacker activity
Dominic Raab has condemned the activities of hackers targeting cyber attacks on organisations seeking to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
The Foreign Secretary said:
“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian intelligence services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behaviour, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.
“The UK will continue to counter those conducting such cyber attacks, and work with our allies to hold perpetrators to account.”
19 more hospital deaths in England
NHS England has reported 19 more deaths in hospital in England, taking the total to 29,144.
No deaths reported in Wales
There are no new deaths of people who tested positive for coronavirus in Wales, with the number remaining at 1,545, Public Health Wales said.
The total number of cases in Wales increased by 18, bringing the revised total of confirmed cases to 16,871.
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