LiveCoronavirus in UK live blog: Boris Johnson says UK are past the peak of the virus

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A soldier from 2nd Scots Royal Regiment of Scotland takes a test sample at a Covid-19 testing centre at Glasgow Airport (Photo: Andrew Milligan-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 29

Last updated: Thursday, 30 April, 2020, 17:07

A second question from the public asks how the government will assist those with mental health issues. 

Johnson says as we've taken pressure off the NHS we can make sure the NHS can prioritise other care needs, including mental health. 

Public Health reaching out to those with mental health problems. 

Advises those experiencing mental illness to use helplines and other available resources.

The trio are taking questions now. 

First a member of the public asks how the tourism industry will be impactd. 

Johnson says “you will come back” but we must be sensible for now. 

He says “we'll say a lot more” about how and when a lockdown exit will happen. 

“Road map” of exit plan out next week.

Country's R between 0.6 and 0.9

Sir Patrick Vallance is speaking now. 

He says that country's R is between 0.6 and 0.9. 

Number of infections are going down. 

New admissions to hospital is coming down. 

Number of people in hospital down.

Critical care beds coming down “slowly”. 

Trends of deaths is “gradually beginning to come down”. 

A video is now explaining R (rate of infection) says that in March virus was at 3, now below 1. 

This means that for every one person 3 were infected in March.

Boris Johnson says for the first time the UK is past the peak and on the downward slope.

Says government are looking at how we can get kids back to school, get the economy back up and running, get back to work while suppressing the disease. 

Reiterates that UK must pass five tests before that plan can be put into action. 

1. Protect NHS 2. sutained fall in depths 3. sure that infection rate is fallen 4. improve testing and PPE issues 5. lessen risk of second peak. 

He says we've come through the peak, or rather under what could have been a vast peak “like an alpine tunnel”. 

“Keeping the r down” is vital, and we can only do it by our collective discipline and by working together. Has confidence that the UK can do it. 

He talks through today's data: 901,000 tests have been carried out in the uk now, including 81,000 tests yesterday. 

26,711 have now died, an increase of 674 since yesterday across all settings.

He says “we grieve for them and with them". 

Says the government are going to tackle the challenges which have been “knotty and infuriating” - references PPE, care homes and testing. 

Says “we are throwing everything at it” and says “we will get it right”. 

“Entire country”'s effort and sacrifice is working and has been proved to work. 

“So far succeeded” in avoiding the tragedy that has engulfed other parts of the world, as NHS has never been overwhelmed. 

Avoided an uncontrollable and catastrophic epidemic. 

Boris Johnson is speaking now. 

He's joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty.

He starts by apologising that he hasn't been apart of “this trio” for some time 

What to expect at today's daily press briefing

There will be no easy first day back at the press briefing for the Prime Minister who welcomed a new son to the world yesterday.

Boris Johnson should expect scrutiny on a number of issues, in particular the government's likely failure to reach 100,000 tests a day. 

There had been speculation that the PM may updated the public on a prospective exit strategy from the lockdown, though cabinet ministers have already said that a strategy will not be provided until after a SAGE meeting in early May. 

In recent days, cabinet ministers have been accused of neglecting to prepare care homes for the pandemic, and the PM should expect further pressure today from journalists. 

The recurring themes of PPE shortages, face mask usage and quarantining new arrivals to the country could also come up. 

PM to host daily press briefing at 5pm

A reminder that Boris Johnson is set to hold today's daily press briefing at 5pm.

As ever we will be providing live updates. 

Sir Keir Starmer says government slow on exit strategy

Boris Johnson has been urged to publish the UK's exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown, to give clarity to businesses and communities across the country.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that, while there is an understanding of the need for lockdown, transparency is needed for what comes next.

In an interview with ITV News, Sir Keir also said he believes an inquiry into the UK's response to the pandemic is "inevitable".

"I think the Government were slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment, and may now be slow on our exit strategy," he said.

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