Coronavirus: UK 'clearly past the peak' as deaths rise 449 to 16,509

A NHS (National Health Service) worker or care worker is tested by a soldier for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing centre in a car park at Chessington World of Adventures, in Chessington, Greater London, Monday, April 20, 2020. The highly contagious COVID-19 coronavirus has impacted on nations around the globe, many imposing self isolation and exercising social distancing when people move from their homes. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The UK has "clearly passed the peak" of announced hospital deaths in the first wave of coronavirus, an expert has said.

Oxford University's professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute research centre, made his remarks as the UK's death toll rose to 16,509 – an increase of 449.

"Although we have clearly passed the peak of the announced hospital deaths in this first wave, 449 deaths can never be thought of as any other than very sad news," he said.

"The UK has been one of the hardest hit countries in this first wave and we still have to add in deaths from care homes and wider community. It is urgent that we learn what can be applied here so we do better."

There are now also 124,743 cases across the country, a rise of 4,676 from yesterday's total.

Globally, there are more than 2.4 million confirmed cases, 166,000 deaths and 635,000 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Prof Naismith added that he was worried about "a simplistic narrative regarding testing" – which has been focused on as a possible way to release the UK's lockdown more safely.

"Testing is only one part of an identify, track, trace, test and isolate scheme," he said.

"This scheme has been very successfully implemented in South Korea. The other components of the scheme are vital to its success.

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Handmade signs in support of the NHS on Roman Road in east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An elderly woman wearing a face mask and using a walker on Westminster Bridge, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An RAF Atlas, believed to be carrying a cargo of PPE is unloaded at Brize Norton, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People ahead of boarding an RAF Chinook Helicopter from RAF Odiham that landed on the Stray in Harrogate, Yorkshire. It was carrying out operations in support of the NHS, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Volunteers take a break whilst preparing free hot meals for distibution during the coronavirus crisis in London, UK on April 22, 2020. 'Food For All' are a London based charity offering a free hot meal service to people in need in inner London throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Food is donated by New Covent Garden Market and wholesalers. They deliver meals to local distribution hubs, food banks and mutual aid groups. Today 3,000 meals are being prepared with capacity to deliver 20,000 per day. (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA)
Customers queue outside Copes Pharmacy in Streatham, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A commuter at Bank tube station in the City of London,UK on April 22, 2020. A virtual parliament has returned with most MP's working from home, the government has promised to increase testing to 100,000 a day by the end of the April, an increase of 82,000, as critisism of the governments handling of the pandemic mounts. (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA)
Banksy's Girl with a Pierced Eardrum mural has been given a face mask in a nod to the coronavirus pandemic, at Hanover Place in Bristol, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Artist Sam Bailey puts the finishing touches to a mural acknowledging the work being done by the NHS, emergency services and the fundraising exploits of Captain Tom Moore, at her home in Northampton as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A cyclist rides past a billboard reading 'please believe these days will pass' in Shoreditch, east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Badger the Border Collie surrounded by bluebells at Shrawley Wood in Worcestershire, as sweltering temperatures are expected to hit the UK at the end of the week bringing the hottest April in almost a decade.
Two people sit on Worthing Beach in-between two Seagulls that are social distancing as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Gardens and Estates Operations Manager Graham Dillamore tends to wallflowers and tulips in the Pond Garden at Hampton Court Palace, in south west London, which has been temporarily closed while the UK remains in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
File photo dated 8/4/2020 of an image of Queen Elizabeth II and quotes from her broadcast on Sunday to the UK and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus epidemic are displayed on lights in London's Piccadilly Circus. The Queen celebrates her 94th birthday on Tuesday.
A deserted and disassembled funfair in Southport, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A pheasant is surrounded by bluebells that cover a forest near Henley-on-Thames, Buckinghamshire, as the UK enjoys warm temperatures.
One of artist Antony Gormley's "6 TIMES" statues in the Water of Leith, Edinburgh, as sweltering temperatures are expected to hit the UK at the end of the week bringing the hottest April in almost a decade.
Graffiti in Glasgow centre city as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People queue for ice-cream on the Thames path near Hammersmith, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A car makes it's way past a sign in support of the NHS put up on the A30 near to Old Basing in Hampshire, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Mike Manders, 34, celebrates as he completes the postponed Hull 10k while dressed in a suit of armour using a treadmill in his front garden in Hull, whilst the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Number of washed face masks hang on a clothesline to dry during coronavirus crisis. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Signage advising cyclists dismount on Hammersmith Bridge, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A steward directs cars as coronavirus testing continues at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus testing continues at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man and his dog get their daily exercise at Whitley Bay beach this morning as the UK continues in lockdown.
People take their daily exercise this morning at the colourful Blyth Beach huts in Northumberland, as the UK continues in lockdown.
Pebble sculptures in Whitley Bay beach on the North East coast, while people are taking their daily lockdown exercise they have kept adding pebble sculptures transforming the beach as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo Owen Humphreys .
Ambulances parked up outside the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An Iwo Jima inspired NHS Heroes Mural by artists Ricky Morrow and Dee Craig in the village of Glynn Co Antrim as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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"The scheme is complex to implement and simply wishing away this complexity and pretending that the number of tests alone is key, is undesirable."

The government has faced criticism from groups representing hospital trusts for delays to the shipping of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said there was "relatively low confidence" that 400,000 surgical gowns from Turkey would make their way into the country on Monday. The shipment was due to arrive on Sunday.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that in the past few weeks, some boxes of PPE contained the wrong items and thousands of pieces were missing.

"So rather than being marched up to the top of the hill and being marched back down again, let's just focus on what we know we can be certain of," he said.

"Let's not focus on individual consignments, let's try and get as quickly as possible to a sustainable supply of these gowns.

"There's no doubt that at the moment, we have now got trusts that have definitely got shortages of gowns."

Staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as they work at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Liverpool, northwest England on April 18, 2020. - Britain's death toll from the coronavirus rose by 847 on Friday, health ministry figures showed, a slightly slower increase than the previous day but still among the worst rates globally. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC News: "We are very hopeful that later today that flight will take off and we will get those gowns.

"We are working very hard to resolve this, there have been challenges at the Turkish end.

"I don't want to start making more and more promises but I understand that that flight will take off this afternoon and they will be delivered."

The government's furlough scheme was flooded with 2,200 applications every minute when it launched on Monday.

Screen grab of Chancellor Rishi Sunak during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).

The scheme was introduced to prevent employers laying off workers as the government's lockdown disrupted the economy.

The wage subsidy scheme could see about 8 million jobs protected, although unemployment has risen.

Anyone at risk of redundancy from the coronavirus can be paid 80% of their wages up to £2,500 a month.

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, described the launch as an "important milestone".

Separately, the government has published a 2,000-word blog post rebutting a Sunday Times article that criticised its handling of the crisis.

The government took issue with parts of the Sunday Times piece and describes some of it as "plainly untrue" and "ridiculous".

The paper said Boris Johnson missed five Cobra meetings and outlined a culture of complacency in Downing Street during January and February.

Number 10 said it "was taking action and working to improve its preparedness from early January" and that it was normal for Cobra not to be chaired by the prime minister.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo

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