UK announces 449 more coronavirus deaths - WORLD IN FOCUS

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Monday, 20 April 2020

UK announces 449 more coronavirus deaths

UK announces 449 more coronavirus deaths - the fewest for a fortnight as leading expert argues Britain's crisis peaked BEFORE lockdown and claims fatality rate could be as low as 0.1%

The UK has today announced 449 more coronavirus deaths - the fewest for a fortnight - taking Britain's total death toll to 16,509.
England declared 429 deaths and a further 20 were confirmed across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. And 4,676 more people have tested positive for the virus, taking the total number of patients to 124,743.
The day's death toll is a fall on the 596 fatalities announced yesterday, Sunday, and half as many as the day before that (888). It is the lowest number for a fortnight, since April 6 when 439 victims were confirmed.
Although the statistics are known to drop after a weekend, the sharp fall adds to evidence that the peak of the UK's epidemic has blown over. 
At today's daily Government briefing, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said 17,971 people are still in hospital battling the coronavirus. Professor Dame Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser for the Ministry of Defence, said the number of people in hospital has now been falling in London for seven days in a row and that officials 'looked forward' to seeing the same trend play out in other regions across the country.
Mr Sunak said more than 140,000 companies had applied to the Government's furlough scheme for grants to help cover the wages of more a million people, and he announced more money would be made available for early-stage businesses to help them set up during the economic turmoil.
Royal College of GP data shows the number of people with flu-like illness in England and Wales dropped by 50 per cent when hand-washing and social distancing was encouraged on March 16. Professor Heneghan says this is evidence full lockdown was not necessary 

It comes as a leading expert at the University of Oxford has argued the peak was actually about a month ago, a week before lockdown started on March 23, and that the draconian measures people are now living with were unnecessary.
Professor Carl Heneghan claims data shows infection rates halved after the Government launched a public information campaign on March 16 urging people to wash their hands and keep two metres (6'6") away from others. 
He said ministers 'lost sight' of the evidence and rushed into a nationwide quarantine six days later after being instructed by scientific advisers who he claims have been 'consistently wrong' during the crisis. 
Professor Heneghan hailed Sweden - which has not enforced a lockdown despite fierce criticism - for 'holding its nerve' and avoiding a 'doomsday scenario'. The country has recorded just 392 new patients and 40 deaths today, approximately 10 per cent of the UK's figures. Britain's diagnoses have not been announced yet.
In separate research, the Oxford professor said he estimates that the true death rate among people who catch the virus is between 0.1 and 0.36 per cent, considerably lower than the 13 per cent currently playing out in the UK.

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