Coronavirus in UK live blog as it happened: deputy chief medical officer advises public to not inject themselves with disinfectant following Trump claims

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Friday, 24th April 2020, 6:22 pm

We will be providing live updates until 6pm this evening.

A girl looks at a mural by artist Rachel List paying tribute to NHS staff battling the COVID-19 outbreak painting on a wall in Pontefract (Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 24

Last updated: Friday, 24 April, 2020, 17:50

768 new deaths in UK

Grant Shapps is due to take the daily press conference at 5pm. 

He will be joined by Dr Jenny Harries.

Unlikely that 10% of population have developed antibodies

Prof Whitty said it is unlikely more than 10% of the population outside London have developed antibodies to coronavirus.

He said he is not at the point where he feels "confident" that he can give a proportion, but added: "My view at the moment, I would love to be proved wrong, is that it is unlikely that any part of the UK maybe outside London will have a seroprevalence much above 10%.

"So I think it's quite a small proportion of the population... I would be delighted if it was higher than that, that would be very good news."

Grant Shapps is speaking now. 

He says there are "tentative signs that we are making progress."

He says the government has secured a tri-lateral agreement which commits France, Ireland and UK to keep essential freight flowing during pandemic.

He announces the launch of a transport support unit. 

He says we now have 8,500 specalist volunteers and around 9,000 vehicles which can be used to support the national effort. 

These vehicles will be used to move patients and deliver food parcels to vulnerable people. 

He says the transport support unit is "getting to work" and making use of the tools at its disposal.

Trials have been fast-tracked to deliver medical equipment to the Isle of Wight via drone, according to the Transport Secretary.

There are now no British holidaymakers left stranded on cruise ships around the world, according to Shapps. 

He pays tribute to transport workers who have contributed to the pandemic effort.

Dr Jenny Harries is talking through the daily slides. 

She says transport usage has risen by two or three percent in the past week. Underlines that it's important to bring this back down. 

She says the curve is flattening, but with the increased number of tests available we will expect to see an increase in cases. 

Hospital usage is also decreasing

The rate of deaths is "very gradually" decreasing according to Harries.

The pair are taking questions now with the first questions on what assurances can be offered to critical workers who haven't yet been able to book a test. 

Shapps says that reports that the website had crashed were false and that slot had merely been booked up. 

16,000 slots were booked earlier today and now further slots are available to book. 

Shapps is confident that the government will make the 100,000 tests a day target by the end of April.

Shapps has now been asked if the sharing of a lockdown exit strategy with the public might go some way to encouraging further social distancing. 

Shapps says that the government's strategy will be guided by science and that the better people social distance the sooner lockdown will be over. 

Shapps has been asked what help the government would provide ferry services.

Shapps refers to the aforementioned tri-lateral agreement. 

He said that it would be ensured that a minimum level of service to the likes of the Isle of Wight would be ensured during the crisis. 

On why passengers returning to the UK who haven't been screened at airports, Shapps says that once we come out of the "current phase" the government will review whether current regulations at airports should be adapted.

Harries adds that the government learned from the Ebola epidemic about when airport screening can be useful.  Once the prevalence of the disease balances screening becomes a less effective mechanism.

Shapps says there is no point in taking a test unless you have symptoms or if you had "it three weeks ago". 

He praises the Health Secretary's effort towards 100,000 tests a day. 

Harries says it's important not to waste the test, only to use it if you have symptoms. 

Asked how the government can cater to people who do shift work and can't queue online to obtain a test Shapps says that there are currently 27 test drive centres. 

Harries reiterates that if you're symptomatic and need a test stay at home. 

Shapps says that we need to be "realistic " with expectations of testing.

On Brexit talks Shapps said progress had been made. 

Now says that the best way to provide certainty is to ensure that he transition period ends at the end of the year and to carry on negotiations with the EU in good faith. 

The pair are being asked whether they have a message for Donald Trump about the dangers of spreading disinformation, following his earlier comments about injecting disinfectant. 

Harries says her advice to anybody would be to use appropriate treatments that are evidence based. She says "nobody should be injecting anything".  

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