Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as 'UK set for further waves of coronavirus'

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

Friday, 17th April 2020, 8:05 am
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 12:55 pm

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

An NHS staff member wipes her eyes as she holds a sign to thank British veteran Captain Tom Moore who raised over £13 million for the NHS (Photo: ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 16

Last updated: Friday, 17 April, 2020, 14:57

Scotland 'can do things in our own way' when it comes to lockdown measures

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has told BBC Breakfast that Scotland "can do things in our own way" and deviate from the rest of the UK's lockdown measures if it wishes to do so.

"All the devolved administrations and the Government in Westminster have worked very closely across the course of the last few weeks... I think the public expect to see us doing that.

"The administration in Edinburgh does have devolved powers, we have our own emergency legislation that was put in place four weeks ago, so yes we can do things in our own way.

"There are powers the First Minister, the Government and the parliament in Edinburgh has and they'll use those powers in the interest of the people of Scotland."

Level of car and road use 'the equivalent to 1955'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the number of cars on the roads has dropped to levels not seen since 1955.

When asked on Sky News about the reported rise in car use since the weekend, Mr Shapps said: "I can now say that the level of car and road use is the equivalent to 1955.

"I must be the first transport secretary in history who celebrates the idea that there are fewer cars on the road and there are fewer people using public transport than ever before.

"Car use gets very, very low over the weekend [and then] on a Monday or in this case on Tuesday it comes back up again."

Sadiq Khan: 'when you can't keep your distance, wear a non-medical facial covering'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been reiterating his calls for face masks to be worn in the UK this morning.

"Wearing a non-medical facial covering makes it less likely you may inadvertently give somebody else Covid-19," he told BBC Breakfast.

Speaking later on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Khan said: "The Government's advice should change so that in those circumstances where it is not possible for us to keep our social distance - think of public transport usage, think of when you're in a shop - we should be using non-medical facial coverings like bandanas, like scarves, like re-usable masks."

The London Mayor said when it comes to exiting lockdown, we may need to have all of us wearing it as well."

"That's why to avoid me inadvertently giving it someone else when I cough, when I sneeze, with the droplets going out, I will wear a non-medical facial covering, to stop myself inadvertently giving somebody else the virus.

"For this to be effective, all of us will have to wear the covering in those sorts of circumstances."

Grant Shapps: wearing masks on public transport 'could be counterproductive'

Despite calls from London Mayor Sadiq Khan for the wearing of non-medial masks to be advised by the Government, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told BBC Breakfast wearing masks on public transport "could be counterproductive."

"Rather than jump to the incorrect conclusion and do more harm than good, I think it's right to ask the scientists to provide guidance on it," he said.

"We shouldn't, I think, as politicians be second guessing what the science and medical advice actually says."

Sadiq Khan earlier said: "I want a consistent approach across the country, we don't want mixed messaging."

'Not the right moment' to encourage people to wear masks

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and London Mayor Sadiq Kahn continue to butt heads this morning over whether or not the public should be advised to wear masks.

Speaking on LBC, Shapps said: "It is not the right moment to instruct people, as I saw the London Mayor do this morning, to wear them if we are not certain yet that they are going to be advantageous.

"In fact, he wrote to me about this and said in his letter he recognises that it could be counterproductive, so I don't think we should be in that space right at this moment."

"I'm slightly confused by the approach and I will be writing back to him simply to say we've got the subcommittee of Sage, that's the scientific advisory emergency committee, who are looking at this at the moment.

"Let them tell us which is the best scientific approach because there are pluses and minuses to wearing masks."

Nicola Sturgeon would deviate from the UK Government's lockdown measures

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she would deviate from the UK Government's lockdown measures if her advisers told her it was in the best interests of her country.

Ms Sturgeon told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If I was being advised, and if the judgment I was applying to that advice told me that I had to do something different to the rest of the UK because it was right and necessary to continue to control the virus in Scotland, of course I would do that.

"I will be driven by what advice, science and my own judgement is telling me the right thing to do is.

She said: "I'm not sure I am saying that much different to the UK Government, to be perfectly frank, but I'll speak for myself rather than trying to speak for anybody else.

"We're all going through this, we're all experiencing it slightly differently, but we're all going through this incredible challenge, for most of us, in the most difficult circumstances we've ever lived through.

"I do think, as First Minister, in the difficult times I've got a duty to try to be as open with people as I can be about what I do know, what I don't know, about what we're trying to do to find the answers to the questions we don't yet have."

Transport Secretary: 'I won't be booking a summer holiday at this point'

Speaking about when lockdown restrictions could be lifted, and whether travel will return to some normality in time for summer, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said he would certainly not be booking a holiday at present.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Shapps said that "clearly people will want to see what the trajectory of this disease is in the next few weeks".

He added: "I won't be booking a summer holiday at this point, let's put it that way."

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Matt Hancock: Demand for tests among NHS staff lower than expected

Mr Hancock said that the number of NHS staff who have come forward to be tested for the virus has been lower than expected.

He said: "Within the NHS, the number of staff coming forward for testing is lower than was anticipated.

"You'll understand why we had a priority order for the use of the test where it was patients first, then NHS staff.

"Frankly, the number of NHS staff coming forward wasn't as high as expected and therefore we extended it very quickly both to residents and staff in social care.

"But because capacity is going up sharply, I'm therefore able to expand it further and we'll expand it again as soon as the capacity is there to make sure that that capacity is used up."

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