LiveCoronavirus in UK live blog: latest as talk of UK lockdown restrictions being lifted continues

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

Monday, 4th May 2020, 7:54 am
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 10:12 am

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

A woman wears a face shield, mask and gloves as she shops at Blackheath Farmers Market in London (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, May 4

Last updated: Monday, 04 May, 2020, 18:04

Hancock is asked if app users' data will be protected. 

Security has been at the forefront of its development. Cybersecurity is strong and data is stored on an individual's phone, not by the NHS until somebody finds that they have symptoms. 

“This has the highest level of privacy built in." 

Newton says the app itself doesn't hold personal information. 

That concludes today's daily press briefing and today's live blog. 

We will be back at 8am tomorrow morning with the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the UK

Hancock is asked if app users' data will be protected. 

Security has been at the forefront of its development. Cybersecurity is strong and data is stored on an individual's phone, not by the NHS until somebody finds that they have symptoms. 

“This has the highest level of privacy built in." 

Newton says the app itself doesn't hold personal information. 

That concludes today's daily press briefing and today's live blog. 

We will be back at 8am tomorrow morning with the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the UK

The trio are asked what measures are being taken to ensure there is an uptake vaccines when a successful one is discovered. 

Hancock says the first and most important thing is to support the development of the vaccine and then ensure that it is accessible. 

He says the response to lockdown measures suggests that it won't be necessary to make it compulsory. He says that a large uptake is expected.

Van-Tam adds that the UK is very hopeful that there will be a vaccine breakthrough. He says it's more likely than not that the first vaccines will be licensed in adults. 

Van-Tam is then asked about air pollution levels as a contributing factor to coronavirus mortality. 

He says that air pollution contributes to mortality in the cases of respiratory diseases. 

Hancock is then asked if he has a message for anti-vaxxers.

He says there has been no greater demonstration in modern history that vaccines save lives than the need for a vaccine to save lives and get the world going again following the outbreak of Covid-19. When a vaccine is licensed it will be with the utmost safety in mind. 

Hancock chimes in and says he is taking part in the antibody trials. 

On antibody testing Newton says there has been good progress. He says antibody testing will support contact tracing. 

Hancokc is then asked if he would feel comfortable going into a crowded room. 

He says “not yet”. If science proves correct he will be happy, but they can't be confident to interact in such a way until the science is proven. 

Newton and Van-Tam are asked how views on immunity have changed in recent months. 

Hancock says that antibody testing is of vital importance. 

UK will soon have a figure on the proportion of citizens who have antibodies following surveys using tests not suitable for a clinical setting.

Van-Tam says that research is looking into whether antibodies protect people from the disease, catching the disease in the future. 

He says that those who have had covid are being asked to take part in trials and donate their plasma for trials on ill patients. 

Trial has started and those tested have antibodies as a result of receiving plasma. 

Van-Tam says disease hasn't been around long enough to see if antibodies protect from the virus. 

On how long antibodies last Van-Tam says with other coronavirus strains those antibodies don't persist for "years and years and years". Not necesarily the case with Covid-19. 

People who have recovered must be tested repeatedly. 

Hancock is asked why the Isle of Wight has been chosen as an app testing location.

He says it was important to test somewhere where people don't necessarily have access to the required technology, and thus test contact tracing. 

Newton adds that people most likely to b out in contact with people are those who use smart phones. 

Hancock is asked if lockdown can be lifted early on the Isle of Wight. Hancock says there is no such plan in place. 

Hancock is then asked if the government are in a “catch 22” in that he numbers of infections need to come down before they roll it out across the country, but if lockdown measures are kept in place it will be hard to pilot the scheme because we're all self-isolating. 

Hancock first gives a short answer of “no”. 

He expands, saying that even with social distancing there are still new cases and that means that the technology can still be effective. 

With the scale of new cases across the country contact tracing can still have an impact. 

Absolutely true that social distancing measures that our having the big impact. 

Hancock is then asked if too much faith was being put in the app. 

Hancock says it's not just about the technology, but citizens  acting in the right way by using the app and contact tracing themselves. 

Newton says the programme is an integrated one consisting of testing, contact tracing and the app. 

One of the points of the Isle of Wight test is to see how those elements integrate. Says we're learning from best practice around the world. 

The group are then asked how businesses will procure PPE and whether they will be in competition with the NHS. 

Hancock says the NHS will always be the priority. 

PPE supply needs to be considered before businesses can reopen.

Hancock says the goal is to have the app up and running by the middle of the month. 

Thousands of tracers have already been recruited. 

“No magic around the 18,00 figure”, if it needs to be bigger it will be increased. 

Nest the trio are asked what the goal of test, track and trace is.

Hancock says the goal is to keep the number of infections down and introduce test, track and trace which will be more effective when the rate is lower. 

Goal is not only to flatten the curve but to get he occurrence of Covid-19 infections down to a much lower level.

The trio are taking questions now (Professor John Newton is also present). 

First a question from the public asks how BAME key workers are being protected. 

Hancock says “we recognise that there has been a disproportionately” high rate of deaths among BAME care workers. He pays tribute to them. 

He says a lot of work is going into it to understand it scientifically. 

Jonathan Van-Tam says he's extremely sorry when he hears of the death of a care worker. 

He says they are taking the issue very seriously and they will get to the bottom of this. Says it's a complicated picture because you have to take into account in the age structure between groups, patterns of underlying medical conditions and deprivation.

Professor Newton says it is already clear that impact on BAME groups is already clear. 

He says it is not entirely clear why this is happening. 

On number of new cases Jonathan Van-Tam says that hey need to come down further. 

The deputy CMO says there are consistent declines on number of people in hospital. 

Critical care bed occupation also continues to decline. 

The decline of deaths in all settings are declining slowly but consistently.

Jonathan Van-Tam start by refreshing on the UK's five lockdown exit strategy tests. 

Here's a quick reminder of those five tests

  1. The NHS has the capacity to provide critical care right across the UK
  2. A sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths from coronavirus
  3. The rate of infection decreased to manageable levels across the board
  4. Operational challenges including testing and PPE are in hand with supply able to meet future demand
  5. Confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections

From tonight the contact tracing capability will go live. 

Each one of the 80,000 households will receive comprehensive information of the trial. 

The app conserves power so it won't drain battery. If you become unwell inform the NHS via the app, which will alert other users that you have been in contact with. 

“Please, download the app to protect the NHS and save lives", the Health Secretary says to Isle of Wight residents. 

The app does not mean the end of social distancing measures on the island. 

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