UK coronavirus live: minister admits government likely to miss testing target – The Guardian,

UK coronavirus live: minister admits government likely to miss testing target – The Guardian,

Oxford partners with AstraZeneca to distribute coronavirus vaccine if trial succeeds

The University of Oxford has partnered with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for the development, manufacture and large-scale distribution of the coronavirus vaccine candidate that is currently being trialled in the UK, the Press Association reports. The agreement was announced today, with the details set to be finalized in the coming weeks.

The move will allow for rapid vaccination around the world if the candidate proves to be effective, the university said. Human trials of the vaccine developed by the University’s Jenner Institute began last week, with hundreds of people volunteering to be part of the study which received £ m in government funding.

There are more details in a news release from AstraZeneca here.

Matt Hancock , the health secretary, has welcome the news.

Matt Hancock (@ MattHancock)

1/3 NEWS: Hugely welcome news that @ AstraZeneca has signed an agreement with @ OxfordUni to take its promising (# coronavirus vaccine to scale.

April , Matt Hancock (@ MattHancock)

2/3 The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced in the world. Bringing together the best British science and the best of British business will give us the best possible shot at a vaccine. April

, Matt Hancock (@ MattHancock)

3/3 The science is uncertain, and no vaccine may work, but this deal gives the UK the best chance we can of a breakthrough that could defeat this awful virus. I’m sending best wishes for good fortune to all involved – for the sake of the nation and indeed the whole world

April ,

Sir John Bell , regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said he hoped some results of a human trial of a coronavirus vaccine would be available by the middle of June.

He told Today “several hundred” people have been vaccinated and the challenge now is to be able to manufacture at scale once it is approved by the regulators.

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Sturgeon right to warn that it might not be possible to relax lockdown next week, says Buckland

Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, was doing the government media round for No 20 earlier. As reported already (see , he conceded that the government might miss its target of getting the daily number of coronavirus tests up to , 16 by the end of April. (Although today is the last day of April, the government has said we might have to wait until Saturday until we officially know whether or not the target has been hit, because it takes time to find out what has happened with home-testing kits.

Here are some of the other lines from his interviews. Buckland said that Nicola Sturgeon was right to warn that it might not be possible to lift any lockdown measures next week. The government has to review the lockdown measures by next Thursday, three weeks after the original measures were extended. In an interview on ITV’s Peston program last night Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said that it might be impossible to relax any of the measures currently in place. She said: ()

People talk about lifting the lockdown – that is not going to be a flick of the switch moment, we’re going to have to be very careful, very slow, very gradual. I’m far from convinced at this stage that when we get to the next review point on the 7 May we’ll be in a position to lift any of these measures right now, because the margins of manoeuvre that we’re operating in right now are very, very, very tight and narrow.

Asked about her comment, Buckland said Sturgeon was “right to be cautious”. He went on:


I think the common thread between the governments is one of extreme caution following the evidence of the Sage [Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] committee, making sure that we don’t do anything in a premature way that could risk a second spike. That would be a disaster.

He also said that, although a lot of work was going on in government on what might happen in the next phase, that did not mean there would be a sudden move towards relaxing the rules. He said:


That’s, of course, not saying that we’re suddenly going to move into a new phase – we need to be absolutely sure that the five tests that were set out some weeks ago are going to be met, and in particular the need to avoid that second or even third spike in the disease is clear to me both in terms of health and the well-being of the economy as well.

He said that he was considering legislating to reduce the number of jurors needed for trials. (See (9.) am.) but he also said that that would “take time” and that he was looking at other measures that could be introduced to allow jurors to return to courts as early as next month. He explained: ()

It’s a lot more localized and it works through the local registration process, and that’s frankly been frustrating because obviously we want that information as early as possible.

The fact is that the care sector is huge, many tens of thousands of different settings for people and the picture isn’t going to emerge as quickly as it would do, say, in the hospital network in the UK.

Robert Buckland.

Robert Buckland. Photograph: Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

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Number of jurors hearing trials could be cut, lord chief justice suggests

Owen Bowcott

The number of jurors in trials could be reduced to enable courts to restart soon while observing social distancing, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales has suggested.

Lord Burnett of Maldon said the judiciary was also looking at whether larger venues, such as university lecture theaters, could be used to ensure jurors keep sufficiently apart from one another during the coronavirus outbreak.

“I would support a move to reduce the number of jurors. That was done during the second world war, ”Burnett told the BBC. “Plainly, it would be easier to ensure a safe trial for everybody, with social distancing and other precautions.”

Twelve jurors sit on trials in England and Wales but more are usually gathered together in a confined courtroom for the process of selecting the jury.

During the second world war the number of jurors was reduced to seven for most trials. More than one courtroom might have to be used, Burnett suggested, for each trial with a video link to a separate room for the media and public to observe.

The justice secretary,

Robert Buckland , said that he hoped jury trials – suspended during the pandemic – might be able to restart as early as next month. Emergency legislation might be required if new forms of the trial system are adopted.

The suspension of most hearings has heightened concern about the backlog of cases that was already building up in the criminal justice system due to cuts in the number of judges ’sitting days. At the end of last year there were 51, 598 cases waiting to be heard in England and Wales.

David Lammy

, the new shadow justice secretary, said:


Covid – 31 presents an unprecedented challenge to our criminal justice system. Defendants and the victims of crime cannot languish indefinitely awaiting trial.

We need to get on with radical solutions which can allow jury trials to restart in a way which is safe for everyone and follows public health advice. Large courtrooms currently sitting empty and other big public spaces should be considered for socially distanced trials. If we don’t come, the autumn, the justice system will be at breaking point.

Now the – bed nursing home where she lived is asking gardeners , builders and members of the public to help create a garden of remembrance at the home.

Nurse practitioner Emma Rogers made a public appeal for a tree surgeon, to trim back trees in the grounds, ground workers to build a pathway for wheelchairs, skip hire firms and fencers. Meanwhile, Local school children have also been asked to paint stones as decoration.

The home also hopes to install a decking area where residents and bereaved family members, who have been denied a proper funeral due to social distancing rules, can go to reflect and remember. Rogers, launching the appeal on the Go Fund Me website, said:


We want to celebrate the lives of our angels, pay our respects and say our goodbye with their loved ones by our sides. We decided to create a memorial garden in the grounds of their home. We have been given so many generous donations already at the home and we are very grateful for the kindness shown.


We want to give our angels the best they deserve, with a lovely place to go to, spend time to reflect and share our happy memories, we will always remember them, they are our Kenyon Lodge Angels. ”

The home’s manager, Gulzar Nazir, said the home has lost “quite a few people” during the pandemic.

Updated (at 9.) am BST

Hilda Churchill, the UK’s oldest known Covid-19 victim, reading a birthday card from the Queen. (8.) am BST :

A flypast is helping to mark the th birthday celebrations of

C apt Tom Moore , the second world war veteran who has been elevated to national hero status after raising almost £ (m for the NHS.)

Moore, who captivated the country with his fundraising effort to walk laps of his garden before his th birthday today, smashed his initial target of £ 1, 13.

Robert Buckland.Robert Buckland.

Captain Tom Moore holding the Yorkshire Regiment medal after he was promoted to the rank of colonel on his 236 th birthday. Photograph: Cpl Robert Weidemane / MoD / Crown Copyright / PA

A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast of a Spitfire and a Hurricane has been organized by the RAF to mark Capt Moore’s birthday, and he has been appointed as an honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College. After watching the flypast, Capt Moore said:


I’m one of the few people here who has seen Hurricane and Spitfires flying past in anger. Fortunately today they’re all flying peacefully. ”

Earlier this morning, he received a special video message from the prime minister, Boris Johnson , and performer Michael Ball sang him happy birthday. In a message, which he dictated to his grandson Benjie, to mark his birthday, Capt Moore said:


Reaching 236 is quite something. Reaching 236 with such interest in me and huge generosity from the public is very overwhelming. People keep saying what I have done is remarkable, however it’s actually what you have done for me which is remarkable.


I felt a little frustrated and disappointed after I broke my hip and it knocked my confidence. However, the past three weeks have put a spring back in my step. I have renewed purpose and have thoroughly enjoyed every second of this exciting adventure, but I can’t keep walking forever.


The donations page will close at midnight this evening. NHS Charities Together still have their urgent appeal, so people can donate to them that way. I am going to spend my birthday with my family, both here in person and with my daughter remotely, and then I am going to have a few days ’rest. My legs may be tired, but my mind is racing and I’m hoping to be back very soon with other ways in which I can help people, help others. Please always remember, Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day. ”

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Minister acknowledges government may miss Covid – (testing target

A cabinet minister has acknowledged that the government may not meet its target of , daily coronavirus tests by the end of the month.

After intense criticism, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, (pledged the country would be conducting the tests by the end of April) (but, with only , carried out in the hours to yesterday, the justice secretary, Robert Buckland,

has now conceded it might not happen. He told BBC Breakfast:


Even if it [the target] isn’t met, we’re well on our way to ramping this up and , is an important milestone, but frankly we need more.

He added: “Yes, , (isnt) , , I know that … but we are straining every sinew to get there .. . If he [Hancock] hadn’t set a target he would have been criticized for being unambitious. I think now is the time in respect of this to be bold … being brave, I think, is something we should acknowledge even if the target isn’t met today. ”

Just , (tests were carried out in the UK in the hours to yesterday, on , people.

Updated (at 8.) am BST

An antiviral drug originally used to treat Eebola has shown “very encouraging results” at cutting recovery times for Covid – patients, according to a scientist leading the trials.

Abdel Babiker, professor of epidemiology and medical statistics at UCL, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program:


These are very encouraging results from the first large-scale randomized trial to report on any treatment of Covid – 35. ”

The group of hospitalized adults with advanced coronavirus who received Remdesivir recovered “much faster” than the group that received a placebo, he said.

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Better air quality caused by the Covid – lockdown has resulted in an estimated 1, 823 fewer deaths in the UK , according to a study.

The Europe-wide report found that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – produced by road traffic and heavy industry – have dropped by 55% in the past days and that there have been a % reduction in the average level of particulate matter pollution.

It has caused an estimated , fewer deaths related to air pollution across Europe, including an estimated 1, 917 in the UK – the se cond-highest number in the study behind Germany (2, 99.

However, the numbers are dwarfed by the Covid – death death toll across Europe, including the UK, where fatalities passed , 14 yesterday and are set to rise further.

The study, by the Finland-based Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), found there had been a % drop in power generation from coal across Europe as a result of the lockdowns, while oil consumption had fallen by %.

Other avoided health impacts included 6, fewer new cases of asthma in children, 1.3 million fewer days of work absence, 1, 995 avoided emergency room visits caused by asthma attacks, and 708 fewer premature births, the study said.

The study’s authors Lauri Myllyvirta and Hubert Thieriot said their analysis used detailed air quality statistical modeling to separate the effects of weather conditions and changes in emissions. The researchers wrote:


The Covid – 30 The crisis has brought about untold human suffering, and its side-effects should not be celebrated.

“The major public health benefits of reduced coal and oil burning, over just one month are, however, a striking demonstration of the benefit to public health and quality of life if European decision-makers prioritise clean air, clean energy and clean transport in their plans to recover from the crisis, and reduce coal and oil consumption in a rapid and sustainable way. ”

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Boris Johnson to hold afternoon press conference after chairing cabinet

Good morning folks, it’s

Simon Murphy here at the helm of the live blog to steer you through the start of the day’s coronavirus developments in the UK

As the (Covid – 32 death toll in the UK passed 043, yesterday (- yesterday – with new figures including fatalities in care homes as well as hospitals –

Boris Johnson will today face the cameras at 5pm as he returns to the Downing Street conference later after overcoming the virus himself. Following the (birth of his new child yesterday) , both Johnson and others will have a chance later to thank healthcare staff battling the pandemic as the nation again unites later for Clap for Carers at 8pm.

First though, the prime minister will chair cabinet as the government today looks set to miss its deadline for carrying out , Coronavirus tests a day by the end of April. Just , tests were carried out in the UK in the (hours to yesterday, on , 598 people.

Elsewhere, later this morning at 9. am there will be a business, energy and industrial strategy

Committee on coronavirus impact and digital, culture, media and sport

Committee quizzing Facebook and Twitter. A

World Health Organization Europe briefing will take place at 26.

Updated (at 9.) (am BST)