Coronavirus stories you may have missed: Queen to make rare address to nation as new Labour leader criticises government response

Elizabeth II to urge British public to show 'good-natured' resolve

Kate Ng
Sunday 05 April 2020 09:29
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The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause chaos across the UK and around the world. Here’s your morning briefing of everything you may have missed overnight.

Queen to urge nation to show typical British resolve

The Queen will make a rare televised address to the nation to encourage Britons to show their traditional “quiet, good-natured resolve” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday evening, Elizabeth II will acknowledge the grief and financial difficulties currently being experienced by the public as the UK enters its third week on lockdown.

She will also personally thank healthcare workers on the front line, as well as those who are following official guidance to stay home.

This special address will be only the fifth Elizabeth has made apart from her annual televised Christmas Day message. Her last special address was in 2012, to mark her 60th year on the throne.

New Labour leader Keir Starmer accuses government of ‘serious mistakes’ in coronavirus response

Keir Starmer, Labour’s newly-elected leader, has accused the government of making “serious mistakes” in its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Writing in the Sunday Times after his victory in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the opposition criticised ministers for being slow to take action and called for delays in the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to front line workers to be “addressed quickly”.

Mr Starmer pledged to engage “constructively” with the Conservative government and said he wanted “to see the government succeed in this”.

He called for the UK to build vaccination centres in towns and cities across the country so “the minute a vaccine becomes available, we can begin to protect the entire population”.

He also said the exit strategy from the measures that have been implemented to defeat the virus should be made known to the public.

Donald Trump urges Americans to ‘try’ unproven drug to treat coronavirus

Donald Trump has doubled down on his conviction that an anti-malaria medication could treat Covid-19 and urged the American public to “try” the medication despite there being no evidence it could have an impact.

The president praised hydroxychloroquine, a variant of chloroquine, during his daily press briefing on Saturday.

He said: “What do you have to lose? It’s been out there for a long time. What do you have to lose? I hope they use it.

“I may take it. I have to ask my doctors,” he added.

Trump’s message comes after the Mayo Clinic released a warning for healthcare providers last week that the drug could potentially cause sudden cardiac death for some patients.

On Tuesday, the European Commission also announced there was no proof hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine could be used to treat coronavirus.

Italy reports first drop in number of intensive care patients

For the first time since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Italy has reported a drop in the number of intensive care (ICU) beds in use.

The drop marked “important news” for the country because “it allows our hospitals to breathe”, said civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli on Saturday.

The number of ICU beds in use dropped from 4,068 on Friday to 3,994 – providing further evidence that Italy is finally on the road to recovery.

The country is the world’s worst-hit nation by the coronavirus pandemic, with a death toll of 15,362 and 124,523 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Care homes refuse sick pay to workers told to ‘shield’ by the government

The Independent can reveal that a number of care homes are refusing to give statutory sick pay to employees who have been told by the government to stay home because they are at high risk of contracting coronavirus.

Roseberry Care Centres, which runs more than a dozen residential and dementia care homes in the UK, told managers at the facilities that employees who have been advised to social distance for 12 weeks must not receive statutory sick pay unless they display symptoms of Covid-19.

Guidance from the company, seen by The Independent, reads: “If these employees decide to follow this advice and therefore not attend work, as long as they are not showing any symptoms of Covid-19, then they are to be recorded on Care box as authorised absence (Covid-19) and this is unpaid.

“They will not qualify for payment under the statutory sick pay.”

The same policy is in place in other care providers, say unions and charities, who warn that care workers may be attending work despite being at high-risk of falling ill with the virus.

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