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And according to official figures:
- The number of people who have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus has risen by 891 in 24 hours, bringing the total number to an estimate7,988.
- As of 9am on Wednesday, 232,708 people have been tested, of whom 60,733 had tested positive
- A total of 129 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus in 47 prisons as of 5pm on Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice said.
Global cases of the virus have now surpassed 1.5m and more than 88,000 people have died worldwide.
Here’s the latest on Covid-19:
Dominic Raab signals likely coronavirus lockdown extension next week
Dominic Raab has signalled the coronavirus lockdown is likely to be extended next week.
The first secretary of state, who is deputising for Boris Johnson while the prime minister is in intensive care with the virus, said the government would make a decision on the lockdown towards the end of next week.
But he stressed the UK had not yet reached the peak of the epidemic and that it was “too early” to think about lifting the restrictions until that passes.
“We are not done yet,” he said.
“We must keep going.”
Boris Johnson ‘continues to improve’
The prime minister spent a third night in intensive care on Wednesday evening at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
A spokesperson for the PM said on Thursday afternoon: “The PM had a good night and continues to improve in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital. He is in good spirits.
“The prime minister and No.10 are hugely grateful for all the messages of support that the PM has received and thanks NHS staff for the brilliant care which he has been receiving.”
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has been deputising for Johnson while the PM is treated.
A&E attendances fall by almost a third
A&E attendances at hospitals in England were down nearly a third last month compared with a year ago, new figures show – the lowest level in almost 10 years.
NHS England, which published the figures, said the dramatic fall was “likely to be a result of the Covid-19 response” – an indication that people have been staying away from A&E because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A total of 1.53m attendances were recorded in March 2020, a 29% drop on the 2.17m attendances in March 2019.
The number is also the lowest for any calendar month since current records began in August 2010.
The figure also represents a significant drop in month-on-month attendances, falling by almost 439,000 between February and March 2020 – a decrease of around 22%.
Unsure whether you should go to A&E? Here’s what you need to know.
Outcry after conspiracy theorist given airtime
The culture secretary said he will be contacting Ofcom to see what action the regulator is taking after conspiracy theorist David Icke was given prominence on London Live.
Oliver Dowden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You are absolutely right these are lunatic conspiracy theories and no sensible person would give them a moment’s thought.
“Clearly that station is regulated by Ofcom and I would be expecting Ofcom to take appropriate action.
“Clearly they’re independent (Ofcom), but I will be in touch with them to understand what action they are taking with respects to that.”
New claims for Universal Credit hit 1.2m in three weeks
Around 1.2 million people have now made claims for Universal Credit (UC) in the last three weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak which surged immediately after the national lockdown was implemented.
Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey added the number of new claims had fallen to just under 40,000 in a day, although this compared to an average daily figure of between 10,000 to 12,000.
She confirmed the numbers after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed calls to the UC helpline soared beyond two million on March 30 and totalled 5.8 million over a seven-day period.
The DWP also earlier said it received more than one million claims for UC between March 16 and April 3.
This compares to approximately 55,000 claims “in a normal week”, according to the department’s permanent secretary Peter Schofield.
He went on to say calls to the UC helpline are “extremely high” and noted approximately 1.8 million calls were made between March 23 and 27.
Renters being left more exposed to economic fallout of pandemic
Families living in rented accommodation are more exposed to the current economic shock than home-owners despite government support, a think-tank has claimed.
The Resolution Foundation said home-owners are “relatively well protected” compared with previous downturns.
They can request a three-month mortgage payment holiday, for example, and are already benefiting from record low interest rates which keep borrowing costs down.
Home-owners may also be less likely to find themselves in negative equity – where their home is worth less than their outstanding mortgage – than in previous crises.
But newer home-owners with low amounts of equity in their property could still find themselves in big trouble should they lose their jobs, the Foundation said.
It argued that private renters are far more exposed to housing stress if their incomes fall.
George and Amal Clooney donate $1m to coronavirus fight
George and Amal Clooney have donated more than one million dollars (£807,000) to the coronavirus relief effort, including money for the NHS.
The couple, who have a home in Berkshire, are understood to have donated money to six causes.
That includes a total of 300,000 dollars (£242,000) to the NHS, the relief effort in the Lombardy region of Italy and the Lebanese Food Bank.
Meanwhile the Co-op has pulled its Easter TV advertising campaign and has donated the airtime to help fight hunger during the current crisis.
The original plan was to advertise its chocolate eggs, but £2.5m worth of advertising will now promote the work of charity FareShare.
And speaking of donations, rock band U2 has donated 10m euros to support health care workers battling coronavirus in Ireland.
The money will be used to source and buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline staff.
John Lewis has also teamed up with the British Medical Association (BMA) to deliver care packages to NHS staff at the UK’s busiest hospitals.
The retail giant is also creating a wellbeing area for medics and volunteers at the new NHS Nightingale hospital in east London.
Pandemic could force half a billion people into poverty
The global coronavirus crisis could lead to 580 million people ― 8% of humanity ― being forced into poverty and see an increase in worldwide poverty for the first time since 1990.
New research by at King’s College London and the Australian National University assessed the impact of declines in household consumption.
It was found that developing countries face a heightened risk of falling below the breadline.
“The effects could be absolutely incredible,” researcher Andy Sumner, a King’s College professor of international development who works with the United Nations University-WIDER, which helped publish the report, told HuffPost.
“There’s very likely to be a substantial increase in poverty, mainly because there’s so many people living not that far above the poverty line.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.