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Coronavirus Kent: Live updates on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic across the county


"We will meet again" - that was the Queen's defiant message to Britons during a rare public address this evening.

She likened the broadcast to her first to the nation, in 1940, in which she spoke to wartime evacuees.

The Queen addressed the nation
The Queen addressed the nation

Her Majesty said: "Once again many people will feel a painful sense of separation from loved ones, but now, as then, we know deep down it is the right thing to do."

The monarch urged people to stand "united and resolute" and said the country could take pride from the way it had handled the crisis.

She also used the address to thank NHS frontline staff, care workers, and all those who have been staying at home.

She added: "Better days will return. We will meet again."

As of this morning there were 48,000 coronavirus cases in the UK.

Testing is going to be increased
Testing is going to be increased

In total 173,784 people have been tested and 11,764 tests were carried out on Thursday, the highest number yet but some way off the government's end-of-month target of 100,000.

Today we learned another 555 people have died from Covid-19 in hospital, bringing the UK's total for hospital deaths to 4,494 - China, where the pandemic started, recorded 3,322 deaths.

The message from the Government this weekend was clear - stay at home.

Many heeded the warning but emergency services did have to remind many to stay closer to where they live in Kent as they headed out to enjoy the sunshine.

Health secretary Matt Hancock used his Downing Street address today to warn that if people continue to flout guidelines on social distancing, the Government may be forced to ban outdoor exercise.

He also expressed hopes to get 18,000 ventilators into circulation across the NHS, up from the current number of around 9,000. However, he said he could not say when this would happen, as hospitals brace themselves to reach a peak in demand in the coming days.

He also assured that there was enough oxygen, despite a technology failure causing Watford General Hospital to declare a critical incident following a shortage this weekend.

Yesterday he paid tribute to the two nurses, including Kent's Aimee O'Rourke, who died after testing positive for Covid-19

He also thanked the public and the team who remarkably constructed London's Nightingale Hospital in just nine days.

There are five more such hospitals being built across the UK.

He said critical care beds have been boosted by 2,500 already and the Nightingale hospitals will add thousands more.

More than 7,000 NHS staff have now been tested for the virus, 2,000 more than the previous day. There are an estimated 550,000 frontline NHS staff.

"The only way to protect yourselves and others is to stay at home... If we relax now people will die," he concluded.

Chief nurse Ruth May said she worries there will be more deaths among medical staff and pays tribute to both nurses who have died.

She said: "I ask you to remember Aimee and Areema. Please stay at home for them."

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam says trends of people staying at home are "very encouraging".

"This is a global battle and the UK is in the same position as many, many other countries," he adds.

The progress of vaccines and treatments has been "astonishing", he said. He is calling for patients with coronavirus symptoms to volunteer for clinical trials.

Asked about the peak and whether at that point there will be enough ventilators at that point he says he "doesn't know" when the peak will be yet as it is "too soon after social distancing was brought in to say".

He said in terms of ventilators "we are not anywhere close to a scenario where there won't be enough at the moment".

"Are there more people out there than we are counting with case numbers?" ITV's Robert Peston asks, pointing out that Patrick Vallance used a ratio of one deaths in every 1,000 patients meaning there may be 4 million cases in the UK.

Prof Van Tam wouldn't be drawn on the figures.

Follow our live blog for coronavirus updates:


9.34pm - PM in hospital

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken to hospital for tests, 10 days after being found to have contracted coronavirus.

It is understood not to be an emergency admission, but a precautionary measure.

8pm - Royal message

The Queen has thanked NHS and care workers and shared her gratitude to people who have stayed at home during the health emergency in a rare address to the nation. She urged people to stay "united and resolute" and promised "better days will come".

4.59pm - Midwife dies

An Essex mum has become the first serving NHS midwife to lose her battle with Covid-19.

This evening Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow announced that Lynsay Coventry, aged 54, had died on Thursday after testing positive for the virus.

4pm - Daily briefing

During the Government's daily briefing today, deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries refused to estimate how many people may have had the virus, but insisted that without knowing how that may affect our immunity to it, it was not possible to say when lockdown measures might be relaxed.

2.50pm - Helping NHS

A woman whose life has been saved not once, but twice, by the NHS has joined the volunteer army working to fix the NHS scrub shortage.

Sue Bugden from Wingham has been sewing her own as a thank you to the medics and has launched a GoFundMe page to help raise £500 towards the cost of materials for more.

2.15pm - Deaths rise

The number of people who have died in Kent hospitals with coronavirus has risen to 69, NHS England figures show.

It was the largest rise recorded in a single day, up by 50% since Saturday lunchtime.

1.55pm - Apology

Scotland's chief medical officer has apologised "unreservedly" after breaching social distancing guidelines by visiting her second home in Fife during the lockdown.

Dr Catherine Calderwood received a warning from the police, but has ignored calls to step down.

12.57pm - Marquess dies

The owner of Longleat Safari Park has died after being diagnosed with coronavirus. Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, was admitted to hospital a week ago and died yesterday, his family has announced. He was 87.

12.45pm - Thank yous

Many people seem to be heeding the warnings to stay at home. Police and councils reporting on Twitter popular spots are quiet and thank people for staying away.

11.20am - Memorial planned

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, confirms there will be a permanent memorial in honour of nurse Aimee O'Rourke, who died of Covid-19.

10.45am - No sunbathing

Health secretary Matt Hancock tells Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “Sunbathing is against the rules that have been set out for important public health reasons."

He also warned that the Government may be forced to take lockdown measures further and consider tighter controls over people going outside to exercise if people do not follow social distancing rules.

10.30am - Checks on parks

Gravesham police, just like the rest of their colleagues in Kent, continue to check parks and other places to stop people gathering.

All was quiet at Trosley Country Park.


5.43pm - Carrie Symonds

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds says she has been laid up for a week with coronavirus symptoms but feels better now.

5.30pm - Cath Kidston

Vintage retails Cath Kidston, with three branches in Kent, is lining up administrators two weeks after announcing it was seeking a new owner.

For those of you with an interested 18/1 Potters Corner beat favourite Tiger Roll to win the 2020 virtual Grand National.

5.15pm - Grand National

The virtual Grand National is under way. What strange times we live in.

Proceeds go to the NHS.

4.10pm - 5-year-old dies

A five-year-old with underlying health issues has become the youngest in the UK to die from coronavirus.

4pm - Press briefing

Cabinet minister Michael Gove heads up today's briefing.

He says admissions in to hospitals have gone up by 47% in the Midlands and 35% in Yorkshire and the North East. In London the numbers have only gone up slightly.

He adds seven health professionals have now died from Covid-19 and a five-year-old with underlying health issues is among the 708 to die yesterday.

Ventilator capacity is being stepped up in a big way, he says. Today 300 arrived from China.

Medical director for England Stephen Powis says the latest figures suggest cases have begun to "stabilise" but says there is "no room for complacency".

The key to beating this is to "stay at home" he reiterates and information suggests the advice is being followed. "The sun might be out but that doesn't mean you should be out," he adds.

If we continue to follow the rules in the next week or so hospital admissions will fall, he stresses.

When asked about a potential scaling back of lockdown by the end of May both Mr Gove and Mr Powis say without knowing the true impact of social distancing it is too early to say.

On the question of conspiracy theories involving 5G causing the virus to spread Mr Powis says "it's absolute nonsense and I cannot condemn it enough" adding that the idea of people taking action against the "very infrastructure we need" is shocking.

3.30pm - New mortuary

A pop-up morgue will be built in just two weeks in Kent in preparation for a "worst case scenario".

2.15pm - New deaths

There have been 708 new deaths in the UK bringing the total to 4,313. Of 183,190 people tested for Covid-19 41,903 have it, 3,735 higher than yesterday's figure and a significant drop on recent days.

In the 24-hour period 10,984 people were tested. The government has vowed to carry out 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

There have been no more deaths registered in Kent, according to NHS England, meaning there have so far been 36 in the county.

12.30pm Ice cream parlour apologises

An ice cream parlour has apologised after it faced a backlash for announcing it would open this weekend during the coronavirus pandemic.

Makcari's in Herne Bay posted that its ice cream window would be open today on what is forecast to be a "scorcher".

11am Prime Minister writes to opposition leaders

The Prime Minister has written to all opposition leaders to invite them to Downing Street next week to work together to battle the coronavirus emergency.

Boris Johnson has written to all party leaders to invite them to Number 10.

In the letter he said: “As party leaders we have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency.”

"Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades - and we are not alone.

"All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.

"We are working to a scientifically-led, step-by-step action plan - taking the right measures at the right time. We know this will not be a short battle - beating coronavirus will take months, not weeks."

7.10am Queen to address nation

The Queen will speak to the nation on Sunday in a bid to boost people's morale.

In her first televised address since the crisis began, it is thought she will tell people "We are in this together - and we will all get through it together, too."

Queen will address the nation on Sunday. Picture: Geoff Pugh/PA Wire
Queen will address the nation on Sunday. Picture: Geoff Pugh/PA Wire

The monarch, who is likely to also praise health workers, recorded the message at Windsor Castle, where she is in isolation with Prince Philip.

It is only the fifth time the 93-year-old monarch has made a broadcast outside of Christmas.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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