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Saturday, 19 September 2020

Live: Matt Hancock daily coronavirus briefing from Downing Street


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UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has started his briefing.

He’ll be joined by England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries and Prof Stephen Powis, the medical director of NHS England.

– NHS seeks 250,000 volunteers – new scheme – NHS Volunteer Responders – to help national health service employees with “shopping, delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielded”

– Over 11,000 former NHS employees have returned to support

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– Over 35,000 more staff are coming into the NHS now

– Next week – A new temporary hospital will open – two wards of 2,000 people each – military and NHS staff – called NHS Nightingale Hospital


A new hospital is to be established in the ExCeL centre, an exhibition centre in east London, Mr Hancock says.

The new NHS Nightingale Hospital will consist of two wards and hold up to 4,000 patients, Mr Hancock says.

In response to the UK’s call for retired medics to return to the NHS, Mr Hancock says more than 11,500 have come forward, including 2,660 doctors and 6,147 nurses.

He adds that more than 18,000 medical students will also join the NHS workforce.


People unsure about having to go to work? – Mr Hancock said: ‘Where the work cannot be done at home or you are a keyworker’ – ensure safe distancing arrangements are adhered to

Hancock – the rules are clear – we will enforce if necessary –

Harries: Use fundamentals of our campaigns over hand-washing ( at work ) and safe distances, if these are a problem raise them with your employer –

Q Why non- key workers should go to work unless can work from home?

Hancock: Because in many workplaces to 2 metre rule can be applied – the principles are to keep people apart to slow the spread.

Q Explain to NHS staff on crowded tube trains this morning – why construction continues and those workers are also travelling on the tube?

Hancock: Big cross-party decisions are being made – we need to get the spread down ( virus ) based on science. Tfl should have the tube running IN FULL so people can obey the 2 metre rule. There should be more tube trains running…need tube services up and running IN FULL for NHS staff. On construction – many countries have allowed construction to continue, 2 metre rule can be applied.

Q Testing – when are tests coming is it the antibody test?

Hancock: Understand concerns from NHS staff re testing – 3.5million anti-body tests purchased – ( tests if someone HAS HAD the virus ) – tests will be coming through very soon – new testing lab opened in Milton Keynes today – PPE – we have shipped 7.5m pieces of PPE ( masks protective equip ) today – NHS staff should call hotline if they do not have it yet

Harries: Testing will also teach us how the virus spread, will be useful after peak of pandemic in UK

Harries: If everybody stays at home and adheres to distance we are confident we can slow the death-rate

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