Matt Hancock is leading today’s coronavirus daily press briefing
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is leading today’s briefing. He is joined by Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director of NHS England and John Newton, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Manchester.
Mr Hancock starts off the press conference by expressing his “deepest condolences” to the families and friends of the victims of the virus.
“We are steadfast in our resolve to beat this invisible killer,” he says.
He also says he is “warmed by the dedication of those on the frontline” and pays particular tribute to the NHS staff who have died.
“Many of those who have died were people who came to this country to make a difference.
“They have given their lives as a sacrifice and I salute them.”
NHS debt to be written off
Matt Hancock has said that £13.4bn of historic debt held by NHS trusts is going to be written off.
He says this will put the service in a “stronger position” to fight the coronavirus, and for its long-term future.
He also says new guidance on the protective equipment for NHS staff published today is “amongst the highest in the world”.
Mr Hancock says a “brand new swab” is being developed with commercial providers.
He says a network of testing laboratories will be increased “significantly”, with NHS workers prioritised.
He reveals that 5,000 NHS workers have now been tested across the various testing sites.
More to come soon…