Current daily stats at a glance

 

Current UK cases: 590 are confirmed as positive

Current deaths: Eight patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died

Numbers tested: 29,764 people have been tested in the UK

(Source: DHSC)

 

Global situation report: 118,322 confirmed (4,623 new) 4,292 deaths (280 new)

China: China 80,955 confirmed (31 new) 3,162 deaths (22 new)

Outside of China:  37,367 confirmed (4,592 new) 1,130 deaths (258 new) 113 countries/territories/ areas (4 new)

(Source: World Health Organization)

 

 

Latest clinical news updates

 

WHO call on countries to follow a four-pronged strategy

At a mission briefing, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the decision to describe the global COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic was not taken lightly.

He said: "We have made this assessment for two main reasons: first, because of the speed and scale of transmission. The second reason is that despite our frequent warnings, we are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it."

He added that describing this as a pandemic does not mean that countries should give up as the idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous.

"On the contrary, we have to double down. This is a controllable pandemic. Countries that decide to give up on fundamental public health measures may end up with a larger problem, and a heavier burden on the health system that requires more severe measures to control. All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, preventing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights."

WHO are calling on countries to follow a four-pronged strategy:

  • First, prepare and be ready.
  • Second, detect, prevent and treat.
  • Third, reduce and suppress.
  • And fourth, innovate and improve.

 

GPs must receive 'significant share' of emergency funding to tackle COVID-19

The Royal College of General Practitioners Chair Professor Martin Marshall has told the Government that in these challenging times it is essential that a significant share of the emergency funding is made available for GPs on the frontline of patient care.

He said this was urgently needed to ensure that all GPs and their teams have the appropriate PPE protection for face-to-face consultations, as well as the high quality technology that will enable remote consultations to take place.

He added: "We should pay tribute to the GPs and their teams who, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, are going above and beyond to deliver the 'business as usual' of seeing over 1 million patients a day."

 

Doctors warned to make significant changes to the way they work

In a letter, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned doctors that they will have to make significant changes to the way they work if the coronavirus "becomes an established significant epidemic in the UK". 

He said that the NHS and HSC services in primary and secondary care and public health across all four nations would be put under extreme pressure exacerbated by staff shortages due to sickness or caring responsibilities.

He added: "We are confident doctors will respond rapidly and professionally and want to assure colleagues that we recognise this will require temporary changes to practice, and that regulators and others will take this into account. A significant epidemic will require healthcare professionals to be flexible in what they do.

"It may entail working in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings, or working in clinical areas outside of their usual practice for the benefit of patients and the population as a whole. This can be stressful and you may have concerns about both the professional practicalities and implications of working in such circumstances. We need to stick to the basic principles of being a good doctor."

 

Elective ops set to cancelled in readiness for COVID-19 peak

According to reports in the Health Service Journal, NHS England has asked trusts to get ready to suspend non-emergency work to free up capacity.

These measures could stretch out for several months, with three or four months discussed, leading to tens of or even hundreds of thousands of cancelled operations.

The move is part of range of measures system leaders are set to roll out, which also include tightening up admission thresholds, in a bid to free up as much capacity as possible. 

 

Other news round up

  • Republic of Ireland closes all schools.
  • America cancels all flights from Europe, apart from the UK.
  • Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for the cancellation of mass gatherings of 500 people or more.
  • All shops except food stores and pharmacies in Italy to close. 
  • A number of players at Leicester City F.C. have shown symptoms, it is reported.
  • Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson test positive for the coronavirus in Australia.