LiveCoronavirus in UK live blog: UK death toll rises to 26,097

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A man holds a sign relating to the lack of PPE equipment for frontline NHS staff during a minute's silence outside Lewisham Hospital (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 29

Last updated: Wednesday, 29 April, 2020, 14:30

Today'd daily press briefing is underway. 

Dominic Raab issues congratulations to the PM and partner Carrie Symonds. 

52,000 tests took place yesterday and an additional 765 deaths have been recorded.

He says the governments five tests to exit lockdown remain key. 

Raab says that it is vital to limit the chance of a second peak. References Germany loosening their restrictions and seeing a rise in rate of infection. 

He says there “is light at the end of the tunnel”. 

He says the UK has become the international “buyer of choice”. 

Dominic Raab is due to take the daily press briefing at 5pm. 

He will be joined by Professor Yvonne Doyle and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

Antibody test could be available by end of May

A "good" antibody test could be available in a month, the Government's testing tsar has said.

Professor John Newton said those involved in developing such a test believe it could be ready by the end of May or early June.

Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that so far there is no antibody test that is "clinically valid".

Prof Newton told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday: "We're optimistic that we will have a good antibody test when we need it, which of course is a little later in the progress of the pandemic.

"Not many people would test positive for an antibody test if we had one now, so antibody tests come a little later."

21 million items of PPE distributed today

Downing Street said 21 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) were distributed to 196 health trusts and organisations on Tuesday.

Items included gloves, aprons, three types of masks, eye protectors and gowns.

Today's death toll figures will be published later this afternoon 

Here's a reminder of yesterday's figures. 

445 more deaths in England

NHS England has announced 445 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 19,740.

Shadow foreign secretary calls on government to publish location of all stranded UK nationals

Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy called on the Government to publish its statistics on the number of Britons who are stranded abroad and where.

She said: "I am deeply concerned that weeks after Britons were advised to return home by the Government, there's still no accurate assessment of who is stranded and where. On Monday, the Foreign Office came up with a figure of 57,500 and yet I've been told repeatedly that there can be no accurate assessment because while some embassies record those who approach them for help, others do not.

"We do need to know who is stranded and where so will he (Mr Adams) now ensure that his department counts and publishes those statistics so we can rapidly bring those numbers down?"

On the number of people currently seeking to return home, Mr Adams responded: "Our best estimate at the moment is around 50,000 people and hopefully by the end of today we will have passed the return of 20,000 British nationals on the charter flights.

"We will obviously update (Ms Nandy) with the numbers tomorrow. It is tricky collecting all the data, I won't pretend that it's not but I can assure her that when we do have that information, we will keep (her) updated."

Labour leader congratulates Johnson

Starmer warns that England could fall behind Scotland and Wales

Keir Starmer also warned that the UK was falling behind other countries in its discussion of a lockdown exit strategy. 

He said: "France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and Wales have all published exit plans of one sort or another. (Mr Raab) said, 'well what are the proposals, what should they cover?'. If you look at those plans, as he's done and I've done, it's clear that there are common issues such as schools reopening, business sectors reopening.

"These are the issues that, if he wants me to put them on the table, I absolutely will."

He added: "Delay risks not only falling behind other countries, but also the successful four-nation approach so far."

Mr Raab responded: "The Scottish Government has not set out an exit strategy. I read through very carefully their 25-page document, it was eminently sensible and it was grounded in the five tests that I set out on April 16."

Dominic Raab is standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson at today's PMQs. 

Sir Keir Starmer asked whether 250,000 remaind an aspiration of the government. 

Mr Raab replied: "On testing, we now have 73,400 test capacity every day - that is almost double from the point at which we were at the dispatch box last week. On daily tests carried out, the figure is now 43,563 which is up from well over double the 18,000 from the point at which we were at last week."

He added: "Of course he's right to say that the 250,000 target is still an aspiration, I'm not going to put a date on it.

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