Today saw the opening of the new 4,000 bed hospital in the ExCel centre in London, the first of the government’s emergency field hospitals built to treat Coronavirus in the City. The hospital was opened in nine days and has so far been fitted with 500 beds.
The death toll increased again today up to 684 in the past 24 hours. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who continues to give the daily briefing in place of the Prime Minister, stood by the government’s commitment to increase testing to 100,000 by the end of this month. The government was again challenged on the lack of widespread and affective antibody tests, after promising 2.4 million working tests within days on 25th March. In his briefing the Health Secretary stated that the government is still looking for an effective antibody test.
It was Jeremy Corbyn last day as leader of the Labour Party today, in his email to Party members he described his time as leader as having been an “honour”.
IPSA is committed to supporting MPs and their staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Information and guidance from IPSA can be found here.
The death toll in the UK increased once again to 569, setting another record. There have now been 2,921 deaths as a result of Covid-19.
Concerns remain around the government’s lack of testing for NHS staff. However, the government has stood by their commitment to increase testing throughout the population, promising to have 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock took to the podium to give the daily Coronavirus update after self-isolating since the 27th March.
Further support was also promised to the NHS in the form of a £13.4 billion write-off of NHS debt. In addition to this debt relief additional support was also given to the health sector in the form of a £300 million made available to community pharmacies to support their business.
In party political news, the Labour leadership elections came to an end today. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancreas, is largely expected to win.
As of today we will be posting a short daily summary of the latest Covid-19 news, focusing on the most important stories of the day. Our aim is try and highlight the issues which we think will be most relevant to people working in Parliament.
Today saw the largest increase in UK Covid-19 deaths in a single day since the pandemic began. Of the 563 people that have died, the youngest was only thirteen years old.
Politically, the main story today has been the government’s pledge to test NHS staff. So far 2,000 NHS staff have been tested out of a total 500,000, a disparity which has led to the government receiving criticism. The government maintains that their strategy is to increase the amount of testing taking place amongst NHS workers and the population as a whole.
The government has also promised an additional £12 billion to local authorities in England to support business. Local authorities have been urged by the government to distribute these funds as quickly as possible.
The House of Commons Library has created a page with links to a selection of reports related to COVID-19, including analysis of the Government’s response and policy developments.
To view the page, please click here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/
The Hotlines List was updated on 31 March 2020.
Please always ensure that you are using the current version of the hotlines list on the intranet, as copies saved to your computer or printed out may be out-of-date, and we sometimes get complaints from organisations when people use out-of-date information.
Please go here to see the new information and the link to the list.
Policy in Practice are presenting a free online webinar: Recap of the major benefits changes and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
10:30 – 11:30, Wednesday 8 April 2020
Registration required: http://policyinpractice.co.uk/events/
As new measures to control Coronavirus (COVID-19) are introduced Policy in Practice’s Head of Policy, Zoe Charlesworth, summarises the major changes to the welfare system that have been made.
Zoe will also share new analysis we’ve done to show the impact of the new measures and how they will help households hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Join this webinar to learn:
- What benefits people in different situations might get
- How to get the most support for families and households
- What the impact of the 3 main changes mean for households
There is now a Coronavirus Hub on the parliamentary intranet.
It contains everything you need to know about Parliament’s response to coronavirus, including how to work remotely, what services are available and how access has been affected. It is for Members of both Houses, staff in the Lords, Commons and PDS and people who work for MPs and Members of the House of Lords.
Please click here to access it: https://intranet.parliament.uk/employment/health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-hub/
We have published a guide to working from home, with links to intranet resources and other support
You can read it here.