Good evening on Saturday, May 9. We will be bringing you the latest updates from across the North East and UK around the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
In total, 1,166 people who had tested positive for coronavirus have died across the North East’s hospital trusts, according to the latest figures released by NHS England on Saturday, May 9.
According to the latest figures released by Public Health England on Saturday, May 9 there are 8,891 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the North East – a rise of 87 from Friday, May 8
Ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation this weekend, the public is looking towards what the UK’s “road map” could look like if and when lockdown restrictions are eased.
Scroll down and refresh the page for the latest updates as they happen throughout the day…
Last updated: Saturday, 09 May, 2020, 17: 05
- Across the North East, 1,166 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus according to NHS data released on Saturday, May 9.
- 10 deaths were announced across the region’s hospital trusts on Saturday.
- Families across the UK prepare for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on Sunday, setting out the “road map” for an easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
- 31,587 have died after testing positive for coronavirus in all settings, a rise of 346 from yesterday.
5.03pm: 87 new coronavirus cases in the North East with seven in Sunderland, four in South Tyneside and none in Hartlepool
According to the latest figures released by Public Health England on Saturday, May 9 there are 8,891 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the North East – a rise of 87 from Friday, May 8 – as follows:
County Durham: 1,666
South Tyneside: 647
North Tyneside: 513
Redcar & Cleveland: 359
4.52pm: Today’s coronavirus press briefing has concluded
4.48pm: Foreign travel ‘highly unlikely’ this summer, says Transport Secretary
Mr Shapps was asked if foreign travel this summer is highly unlikely and whether people should start cancelling trips.
The Transport Secretary said: “On summer holidays it is a fact at the moment unfortunately that the advice hasn’t changed, we have to stay at home so you can’t travel around this country at the minute. That advice, we will have to wait to see if it’s updated.
“In terms of international travel of course the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is recommending, advising strongly against all travel internationally at the moment and people will of course have to have that in their minds before they’re able to book anything.
“Of course, also in countries where people might normally go to visit they’re also not accepting people in many cases. So it’s difficult to give blanket advice. The situation is as it is at the moment and we will have to see how the reproductive rate of Covid-19 continues to proceed before we’ll know the answer from here, standing here at the beginning of May to know how that will look in the summer.”
4.45pm: Test and trace ‘a contribution not a solution’ says JVT
Johnathan Van Tam says the test and trace app is ‘part of the solution but not the total solution.
“How extensive it needs to be depends on the level of disease in the population,” he told the Downing Street briefing.
4.41pm: Should people stay at home tomorrow?
Shapps responded to a question from the Observer: “It’s absolutely unequivocal, people should stay at home.
“Please follow the guidance, it hasn’t changed and it’s vital we don’t throw away seven weeks of people impressively following the guidelines just because it’s sunny, that would be absolutely tragic.”
4.38pm: Second public question asks how Government plans to implement social distancing measures in schools and education settings
In a written question, Tammy from Bristol asked how the Government plans to implement social distancing rules in education settings, pointing out that children of primary school age and younger will find it difficult to keep to these rules.
Prof Van-Tam said: “So the point that Tammy is making is that young children do find it difficult to keep rules, any kind of touching or distancing rules, and that’s an accepted fact.
“We’ve all encountered young children and we completely understand that. What I can say is that whatever the Prime Minister announces that we will do next, it is going to be extremely cautious and extremely careful and extremely painstaking.
“And it has to take into account the kind of factors that have been mentioned in the question, and indeed that advice and that policy will do that.
“But it’s caution all the way really.”
Mr Shapps added: “Extreme caution is actually the watchword on this. And we’ve seen in other countries where second, not quite spikes have come along, but where social distancing has been relaxed and there’s been problems so we will wait to see.”
4.30pm: Air quality increase a benefit of lockdown, says Shapps
Mr Shapps said better air quality has been one of the few benefits of the current crisis.
He said he would be fast-tracking trials of e-scooters as a way to try and preserve this cleaner air, so that a programme originally set for next year will be brought forward to next month.
The trial will be extended from four local authorities to “every region in the country who wants them in a bid to get e-scooter rental schemes up and running in cities as fast as possible”.
It will help assess safety benefits and the impact on public spaces.
Mr Shapps also announced £10 million of additional support for car-charging points on the streets, in light of the growing popularity of electric vehicles and in an effort to “keep this quiet clean car revolution going”.
4.27pm: Transport Secretary discusses the logistical challenges for travelling during the coronavirus pandemic
Mr Shapps said: “As we begin the process of preparing public transport to get Britain moving again, no one should underestimate the sheer scale of the challenge ahead.
“Even when every train, bus, and tram, fully restored to service, this will not be enough.
“Social distancing measures mean that everyone who travels will need to contribute to meeting this capacity challenge.
“Changing our behaviour is the single biggest thing that’s beaten back this virus.
“The welcome fall we’ve seen in deaths is not only an achievement of the doctors and nurses and care workers, but everyone in the country for following the stay at home guidance.
“To reiterate, nothing I’m saying today changes these basic rules.
4.24pm: Road use rising as public transport usage remains low
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said that the British people had been remarkable at reducing their travelling.
He said that bus, tube and rail travel were down but there had been a gradual increase in car use.
But Prof Van-Tam said: “The British people have continued to be remarkable in showing enormous restraint in terms of travel.
“The figures for buses, for tubes and for national rail are extremely impressive.
“If you look at the motor vehicle trend – you can see that there is a gradual increase over time, the trend is up.
“This may reflect that some people are now returning to work who made the decision to stop at the beginning of the lockdown but were perhaps never obligated by the guidance to stop.”
4.20pm: Public question from Stephen in County Durham – Should I follow Downing Street guidance or from Scotland as the North East is closer to Scotland than it is London?
Shapps responded by stating the UK’s four nations have acted largely in unison and Boris Johnson’s message regarding the next phase will be clear across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
4.17pm: Moving beyond coronavirus ‘a gradual process’
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that in preparation for Prime Minister Boris Johnson setting out a road map for the UK to exit lockdown on Sunday, he was going to outline an “ambitious” programme for the transport network.
But speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing on Saturday, he warned that it will take some time for things to get back to normal.
He added: “Moving beyond Covid will be a gradual process, not a single leap to freedom, so when we do emerge the world will seem quite different.”
4.14pm: Daily tests remain below 100,000 for seventh consecutive day
The number of daily coronavirus tests fell below Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s 100,000 target for a seventh day in a row.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said 96,878 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 9am on Saturday, down from 97,029 the day before.
Prof Van-Tam said that he expected there to be fluctuations in the number of daily coronavirus tests being carried out.
He added: “We are now really at a high plateau, in the region of 100,000 tests per day.
“There is some fluctuation, and quite frankly I expect there to be some fluctuation on a day-to-day basis.
“I don’t think we can read too much into day-to-day variations, but the macro-picture is this is now at a much, much higher level than it ever was at the beginning of this crisis.”
4.10pm: E-scooter trial brought forward to June 2020
Shapps confirmed that the Government’s e-scooter trial due to take place from next year has been brought forward and will be available for every region that wishes to partake.
This is part of the Government’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions and improve ‘green’ travel access.
4.07pm: £2bn package being set up to help double cycling by 2025
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says that a £2bn package with cycling and walking at the heart of its policy will be put in place.
It will help double cycling and increase walking by 2025 he says with emergency interventions being put in place to help make the increase safer such as pop-up bike lanes and wider pavements.
4.05pm: Transport Secretary on social distancing impact
Social distancing measures mean only 10% of the transport network’s capacity would be able to be used.
He stressed transport will play an essential role in getting the country moving again.