Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as PM said to be 'cautious' about easing lockdown for fear of second infection wave

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

Monday, 20th April 2020, 7:43 am
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 7:44 am

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

A piece of coronavirus COVID-19 themed street art graffiti is pictured in East London during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 20

Last updated: Monday, 20 April, 2020, 16:26

Piers Morgan clashes with Oliver Dowden

Sir Patrick Vallance says there are reasons to be optimistic

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said there are reasons to be optimistic about a coronavirus vaccine. 

He urges patience though, saying that this will take time. 

In the Guardian, he wrote: "All new vaccines that come into development are long shots; only some end up being successful, and the whole process requires experimentation. Coronavirus will be no different and presents new challenges for vaccine development. This will take time, and we should be clear it is not a certainty.  

"But there is cause for optimism. With more than 80 vaccine projects across the world, there is an effort the like of which has never been seen before. A vaccine has to work, but it also has to be safe. If a vaccine is to be given to billions of people, many of whom may be at a low risk from Covid-19, it must have a good safety profile."

PM fears second peak

Boris Johnson has told colleagues that he fears a second peak of coronavirus, according to the BBC.

The Prime Minister reportedly spoke to Dominic Raab on Friday to discuss the crisis. 

It is claimed that he said that stopping a second peak was a priority.

Novak Djokovic "opposed" to coronavirus vaccination

Tennis player Novak Djokovic has said he is "opposed" to a coronavirus vaccination. 

Speaking on Facebook live he said: “Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel." 

“But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.

“I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.

“Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet.”

Prince Philip praises those tackling the pandemic

The Duke of Edinburgh has made a rare public statement, praising those tackling the coronavirus pandemic across the UK and keeping essential services running.

Philip, 98, who retired from public duties in 2017, said he wanted to recognise the "vital and urgent" medical and scientific work taking place.

In his message, the duke also gave thanks to key workers including those involved in food production and distribution, refuge collection and postal and delivery services.

Philip, in his message published on the royal family's social media channels, said: "As we approach World Immunisation Week, I wanted to recognise the vital and urgent work being done by so many to tackle the pandemic; by those in the medical and scientific professions, at universities and research institutions, all united in working to protect us from Covid-19.

"On behalf of those of us who remain safe and at home, I also wanted to thank all key workers who ensure the infrastructure of our life continues; the staff and volunteers working in food production and distribution, those keeping postal and delivery services going, and those ensuring the rubbish continues to be collected."

Drinks company owner buys a round for the NHS

Furloughing scheme goes online

Labour leader pushes for exit strategy explanation

Sir Keir Starmer pressed Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on the planning around lifting the coronavirus lockdown during a "constructive" call with opposition leaders.

"This morning Keir Starmer and other opposition leaders were briefed over the phone by the Foreign Secretary and senior Government officials about the coronavirus pandemic. The call was constructive," the spokesman for the Labour leader said.

"During the call, the Labour leader raised his concerns about the availability of PPE to key workers and asked how the Government would address the current shortages of supply. He also asked how confident the Government was on hitting the target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

"Keir Starmer reiterated his support for the Government's decision to extend the lockdown, but asked what planning was being put in place for when the restrictions are lifted.

"All sides agreed to further briefings in the weeks ahead."

PM receiving daily written updates

Boris Johnson is receiving daily written updates on the coronavirus response as he continues his recovery at Chequers but is not doing Government work, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister's spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "The Prime Minister is continuing his recovery at Chequers. He isn't doing Government work.

"He has been receiving updates on the coronavirus response, and he has spoken with the First Secretary of State, as well as senior members of his Number 10 team."

The spokesman refused to be drawn on when Mr Johnson would return to work, but said he would be "guided by the advice of his medical team".

Dominic Raab continues to deputise for the PM, Number 10 added.

Footballer Aymeric Laporte praised for generosity

Scottish CMO against televised sports events

280 prisoners have tested positive for coronavirus

Around 280 prisoners have now tested positive for coronavirus, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told the Commons Human Rights Committee.

Idris Elba backs UN campaign to raise $200m

Man stranded on island with dog during lockdown

A former British paratrooper is isolating on an uninhabited Shetland island after lockdown measures were introduced when he was on a fundraising challenge to walk the UK coastline.

Chris Lewis, 39, has walked 12,000 miles since setting off from Llangennith beach on the Gower Peninsula, near his home city of Swansea, South Wales, in August 2017.

He was sleeping in a tent on mainland Shetland when the UK Government announced lockdown restrictions on March 23 to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Government considering minute's silence for NHS workers

The government are looking into holding a minute's silence as a tribute to NHS workers who have died with coronavirus. 

Proposed by Unison, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives the tribute could be held on April 28, coinciding with International Workers' Memorial Day.

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