The health secretary Matt Hancock said it is “frustrating” that the first antibody tests that have been tested have not worked, but added there are more on the way, many from from China.
He told BBC Breakfast: “I really hope we can find one that works. And for the domestic production, we’ll work with the companies to try to help them to improve their tests.
“Essentially, a really good home test has not been invented yet.”
Megabus coach services in England and Wales will be suspended by Sunday, owner Stagecoach has announced.
Services are “temporarily winding down” and will stop by the end of the week, the Perth-based transport group said. Coaches will continue to operate within Scotland.
A Megabus spokesman said:
A number of customers use Megabus services within Scotland to travel to and from essential work, for example NHS workers. Therefore, in Scotland, an agreement has been made with the Scottish government to continue running coach services.”
Passengers whose journeys have been cancelled will be refunded, Megabus told passengers.
Megabus managing director Mark Venables said:
We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause you. We firmly believe that the decision to temporarily suspend services is the right one based on the current unprecedented circumstances, and I hope you understand the reasons for our decision to stop running services in England and Wales.
There is an interesting long read on the Guardian today about stockpiling and the psychology behind it. Please do give it a read.
After several days of intense scrutiny over failures in testing, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has set a target of achieving 100,000 daily coronavirus tests in England by the end of April.
They will include antigen tests, which tell people whether they currently have Covid-19, as well as antibody tests to see whether people have previously had the infection. A version of the latter has yet to be approved for use in the UK but is expected soon.
Experts say testing is important to track the virus and give the UK hope of exiting the lockdown, with those who are confirmed to have already had the virus able to return to work.
Hancock, who has recovered from Covid-19 and came out of self-isolation on Thursday, announced a new “five-pillar” strategy to increase the country’s testing capacity.
The Nightingale hospital in London to open
The first of the government’s new Nightingale hospitals will open in London on Friday to continue the battle against coronavirus.
The NHS Nightingale hospital at the ExCeL centre in east London is due to admit its first Covid-19 patients, while two other temporary hospitals have also been announced for Bristol and Harrogate.
Elsewhere, NHS England said 1,500 extra beds for coronavirus patients will be available at two newly planned hospital sites at the University of the West of England and the Harrogate Convention Centre.
The temporary hospital in Bristol will be able to look after up to 1,000 patients, while Harrogate can care for up to 500.
They will join other sites due to open at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Complex.
It comes as leaked documents revealed bosses at London’s new Nightingale hospital are worried about the number of ambulances and trained crew needed to bring cases to the site.
The documents said “communications within the intensive care will require particular attention”, the Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported.
Summary of the key developments:
To those waking up, here is a summary of the main developments this morning:
- In the UK, there are more than 34,000 cases after a sharp rise in the number of confirmed cases on Thursday, and more than 2,900 deaths. A temporary hospital, built in nine days, will open in London on Friday.
- Health secretary Matt Hancock said “money is no object” in the UK’s coronavirus fight. He told BBC Breakfast: “Money is no object here, what matters is getting the country out of this situation as quickly as possible.”
- Officials are “finalising” a plan to fly home around 200 Britons who were on board the coronavirus-hit Zaandam after the cruise ship and its sister ship, the Rotterdam, were allowed to dock in Florida.
- Megabus coach services in England and Wales will be suspended by Sunday, owner Stagecoach has announced.
- London’s Heathrow airport has said it will close one of its runways from Monday because of a fall in traffic. The airport has two runways and will alternate which one they keep open on a weekly basis, a spokesman said.
- There are now more than 1,002,000 confirmed cases worldwide and more than 51,400 deaths. The US, which has the largest number of cases of any country, has more than 236,000 confirmed cases and more than 5,600 deaths.
- Governments in the Middle East need to act fast to limit the spread of the coronavirus after cases rose to nearly 60,000, almost double their level a week earlier, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.
Hello all, My name is Sarah Marsh and welcome to the morning UK coronavirus live blog. We will be bringing you updates on the latest news. Please do feel free to share any insight with me via and of the means below.