More temporary hospitals are planned in the UK as the national death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic approaches 9,000.
A total of 8,958 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday, Matt Hancock said at today’s government briefing, up by 980 from 7,978 the day before.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been able to do “short walks” between periods of rest as part of his care to aid his recovery, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister is back on a ward at St Thomas’ Hospital after being discharged from the intensive care unit where he was being treated for Covid-19.
“The Prime Minister has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery,” a No 10 spokesman said.
“He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received.
“His thoughts are with those affected by this terrible disease.”
Mr Hancock said the UK was creating a domestic PPE manufacturing industry, as it has done already with ventilators.
He said: “Many businesses have generously come forward to turn over production lines as part of this national effort.
“In particular, I want to thank Burberry with their offers of gowns, Rolls Royce and McLaren who are creating visors.
“We are talking to many others and we want more to step up to the plate.
“So if you have production facilities and you can meet our published technical specifications, we want to hear from you, so we can make this kit here in Britain.”
Mr Hancock said that since the start of the outbreak there have been more than 742 million pieces of PPE delivered to the frontline.
“This includes 161 million masks, 127 million aprons, a million gowns and 345 million pairs of gloves,” he said.
Mr Hancock said every NHS hospital has received a delivery of critical PPE once every 72 hours, and over the next week this is being made daily.
“I can announce that over the next three weeks we’re rolling out an online portal, allowing primary care and social care a system so that they can request from a central inventory, and this will mean that we can track demand in real time, and deliver according to need.
“This Herculean effort of enormous operational complexity, to get the right piece of equipment to the right person at the right moment – I pay tribute to the enormous efforts of all those who are making it happen,” he said.
Paying tribute to frontline staff who had died after contracting Covid-19, chief nursing officer Ruth May said the NHS “feel their loss deeply”.
“You may have seen some TV coverage this week about what’s happening in our hospitals,” she told the briefing.
“Dedicated, skilled, professional NHS staff calmly dealing with the mounting numbers of patients with coronavirus. They are frank about the toll it takes, both physical and emotional.
“And of course nurses, healthcare assistants, midwives, and other NHS staff are now among the victims of this coronavirus. Some have lost their lives.
“The NHS is a family and we feel their loss deeply.”
During the briefing, chief nursing officer Ms May announced two more Nightingale hospitals were to be opened in Sunderland and Exeter.
“I’m pleased to announce today, alongside hospitals in Birmingham, Manchester, Harrogate and Bristol, I can confirm that Sunderland and Exeter will soon see Nightingale hospitals in their communities too,” she said.
“These extra hospitals, if we need them, will be part of the NHS’ nationwide response to coronavirus, the greatest healthcare challenge the NHS has ever faced.”
Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said the UK was still in a “dangerous phase” in regard to the number of new coronavirus cases.
Quoting data from March 16 to April 10, he said: “You can see the broad trend, that we have been in an increase phase and we are now at a point where we are at a high level and the numbers are varying day by day.
“We are in a dangerous phase still. And I need to reinforce that again to you, that this is not over.”
In regard to the number of people occupying hospital beds after being diagnosed with Covid-19 between March 20 and April 9, he said: “There has been a steady increase, but possibly you can see that the curve is bending.
“It’s impossible to say we have peaked. London has gone down in the last day, but Yorkshire and the North East has gone up.”
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