Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as Matt Hancock holds daily press briefing

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

By Finlay Greig
Friday, 15th May 2020, 5:55 pm

We will be providing live updates until 6pm this evening.

(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, May 15

Last updated: Friday, 15 May, 2020, 15:11

The Health Secretary is speaking now. 

He talks through the governement's plan to combat coronavirus. 

He reiterates that people should still stay at home as much as possible. 

Matt Hancock is set to appear any minute. 

It is expected that he will unveil a series of support measures for care homes.

384 more deaths in in UK

Matt Hancock will take today's daily press briefing at 5pm.

He will be joined by Dr Jenny Harries and Dr Nikki Kanani 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said getting children back to school is "vital" for their educational development and he has welcomed the efforts by many schools in England to prepare for a wider reopening.

Following a meeting between education unions and the Government's scientific advisers on Friday afternoon, Mr Williamson said: "I want to reassure parents and families that we are giving schools, nurseries and other providers all the guidance and support they will need to welcome more children back in a phased way and no earlier than June 1.

"That's why we have engaged closely with stakeholders from across the sector throughout the past seven weeks, including the trade unions, and today we arranged a detailed briefing for them with the scientific and medical experts.

"Getting children back to school is vital for their educational development and many schools are already taking steps to welcome back their pupils. I am grateful for their support."

Number of deaths over 41,000

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK has now passed 41,000, according to the latest available data.

Friday's figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, showing that 599 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in Northern Ireland up to May 8 (and had been registered up to May 13), follow figures on Wednesday from the National Records of Scotland, showing that 3,213 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to May 10.

On Tuesday the Office for National Statistics published figures that showed 35,044 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to May 1 (and had been registered up to May 9).

Together these figures mean that so far 38,856 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

A further 2,503 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 2 and May 14, according to figures published on Friday by NHS England - which, together with the total figure of 38,856 registered deaths, indicates the overall death toll for the UK has now passed 41,000.

Liverpool schools will not return on June 1

Schools in Liverpool will not reopen to all pupils after the city's mayor raised safety fears over children going back into classes.

Only the children of key workers and vulnerable children will be allowed in school from June 1, the city council confirmed on Friday.

Mayor Joe Anderson earlier this week said he was "minded to resist" Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suggested June 1 partial reopening date, because of safeguarding concerns.

Just 1,500 contact tracers hired

The Government's approach to coronavirus testing has been labelled a "shambles" as it emerged that just 1,500 contact tracers out of a promised 18,000 had been appointed by the start of the week.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said while "about 15,000" applications have been received, only 1,500 people have currently been hired for the programme which is seen as key to allowing the UK to lift the most stringent lockdown measures.

Journalist details air travel during pandemic

Journalist Laurel Chor has tweeted a thread detailing what it's like to travel by plane during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Scotland teaching unions urge against early return to school

Des Morris of the SNCT and Educational Institute of Scotland has urged the Scottish government not to follow in the footsteps of the UK government with a n early return for schoolkids. 

He said: "There is a strong argument to maintain a cautionary approach and to reinforce such by indicating schools will reopen after the summer break. 

“Not only does that bring clarity to parents, pupils, and teachers, it provides a significant period to plan and prepare for the very real challenge of delivering a blended learning experience for Scotland’s pupils in session 2020/21.”

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