Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as Boris Johnson make first speech since hospitalisation

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A jogger passes Buckingham Palace; the 40th London Marathon was due to take place this weekend, but has been postponed until October due to coronavirus (Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 27

Last updated: Thursday, 01 January, 1970, 01:00

More from Boris Johnson's first speech back

"I know there will be many people looking at our apparent success, and beginning to wonder whether now is the time to go easy on those social distancing measures."

He said he understood "how hard and stressful it has been to give up, even temporarily, those ancient and basic freedoms".

But he said the potential of a second spike in cases risked "economic disaster".

Mr Johnson added: "And so I know it is tough. And I want to get this economy moving as fast as I can, but I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and to risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life and the overwhelming of the NHS.

"And I ask you to contain your impatience, because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict and in spite of all the suffering we have so nearly succeeded.

"Difficult judgements will be made and we simply cannot spell out now how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made, though clearly the Government will be saying much more about this in the coming days."

Boris Johnson addresses nation

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been delivering his first speech since he was hospitalised with coronavirus.

He said he had been "away from my desk for much longer than I would've liked".

Addressing the nation he said: "Once again I want to thank you the people of this country for the sheer grit and guts you've shown and are continuing to show.

Mr Johnson continued: "It is still true that this is the biggest single challenge this country has faced since the war and I in no way minimise the continuing problems we face.

"And thanks to your forbearance, your good sense your altruism, your spirit of community, thanks to our collective national resolve, we are on the brink of achieving that first clear mission to prevent our National Health Service from being overwhelmed in a way that tragically we have seen elsewhere.

"And that is how and why we are now beginning to turn the tide."

Expect a 'dramatic increase' in the number of coronavirus tests

Health minister Edward Argar has said people should expect "dramatic increases" in the number of people being tested for coronavirus.

He told the BBC: "We've seen in recent days an exponential increase in the number of tests being made available and we've increased dramatically the eligibility for them."

"The modelling for these tests and for the roll-out is it won't be a smooth increase, it will be a dramatic day-by-day exponential increase which is what we are beginning to see."

Asked about reports that some NHS staff were waiting over three weeks to receive their results, Argar said he would investigate.

"I haven't had any reports of significant numbers being significantly delayed but I'm always happy to look into that. And if there are delays, we will fix them."

He told LBC: "The test results should be within around 48 hours."

Health minister: 'we're not there yet' when it comes to easing social distancing

Health minister Edward Argar has said "we're not there yet" when it comes to easing social distancing measures.

He told BBC Breakfast: "I understand the frustrations that people are having with these measures, they are restrictive and they are very difficult."

He said the measures have "made a real difference".

He added: "I've seen a lot of the speculation in the papers and beyond in recent days but the reality is we're not there yet.

"We're not in a place where the science says it is safe to ease the restrictions."

Measuring blood oxygen levels could help with early detection

A consultant in infectious diseases at Cambridge University has said measuring blood oxygen levels could help with the early detection of coronavirus.

Professor Babak Javid told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that low levels of oxygen in the blood was a sign of Covid-19, and could be measured with a pulse oximeter.

If oxygen levels dip below 96%, "especially on mild exercise such as walking up the stairs or going for a short walk", that is considered a "danger sign".

"Not to be a doctor at home as it were," he said, "but if one has one of these machines and one is concerned, call 111 or your GP practice because certainly the NHS is willing to see people earlier than they are at the moment."

Boris Johnson set to return to work today

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalised and placed into intensive care after being diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this month, will return to duties at 10 Downing Street today.

Health minister Nadine Dorries - who herself tested positive for coronavrius - welcomed the Prime Minister's return to work, saying others who'd spent time in intensive care would still be off.

"Most who have been as poorly as @BorisJohnson with #Covid19 and a patient for a week in intensive care, would be off work for least three months to fully recover their strength and repair their immune system," she tweeted.

"Our PM is back after just three weeks. Good luck boss."

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