Coronavirus latest: Thousands of new ventilators coming to UK hospitals next week to help the fight against COVID-19

Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove said ‘thousands of new ventilator devices’ will be delivered to NHS hospitals to help save lives in the fight against coronavirus.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, he said: “We have just over 8,000 ventilators deployed in NHS hospitals now.

“This number has increased since the epidemic began thanks to the hard work of NHS professionals, but we need more.

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“That’s why we are buying more ventilators from abroad, including from EU nations.

“It’s also why we are developing new sources of supply at home.”

British manufacturers are also changing production lines to help build more ventilators.

The first new ventilator devices will roll off the production line this weekend and be delivered to the NHS next week, Mr Gove said.

National Medical Director at NHS England Stephen Powis, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries

Mr Gove added: “This weekend the first thousands of new ventilator devices will roll off the production line and be delivered to the NHS next week.

“From there they will be distributed to the front line.

“Also, the government is increasing capacity to provide oxygen to patients at earlier stages of the disease.”

Earlier today, the Department of Health confirmed that the UK death toll has now reached 1,808. It was the highest daily rate of deaths so far, after 367 patients in England died.

It comes as NHS England confirmed that a 19-year-old with no underlying health conditions had died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

Joining Mr Gove, the medical director of NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, said there are signs that the rate at which people are becoming infected with COVID-19 is slowing.

Professor Stephen Powis said the next few weeks ‘will be critical’ to see how the UK epidemic would pan out but there were signs of a plateau in the infection rate.

National Medical Director at NHS England Stephen Powis

Some 10,767 people are currently in hospital in England, with 1,918 in the Midlands, where hospital admissions are accelerating.

Professor Powis said the overall signs were that the ‘Great British public’ were heeding social distancing advice and reducing contact.

He said: “We have had a rise in the number of new UK cases but recently there is a little bit of plateau.

“It’s really important not to read too much into this.

“It’s early days, we’re not out of the woods, we’re very much in the woods.

“The number of infections is not rising as rapidly as it once was.

“So green shoots, but only green shoots and we must not be complacent and we must not take our foot off the pedal.”

He added that the NHS Nightingale field hospital, which will hold up to 4,000, will be ready to accept its first Covid-19 patients this week.

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