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Day 18: Key points from today's conference

Posted on April 2020 By James Southwell

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Returning after a week's absence to present tonight's conference was Health Secretary Matt Hancock, joining were NHS England's Medical Director Prof Stephen Powis, and Prof John Newton the Director of Medical Improvement for Public Health England.

Tonight we were given a glimmer into the current figures regarding Doctors missing from the NHS due to the virus, as it stands 5.7% aren't able to work.

Key points to take away from today's speech are:

  • Matt Hancock says they've been able to ship a "record quantity" of ppe to the frontline over the last 24-hours, having delivered 45 million pieces across the health and social care sector, this included over 5 million aprons and 6 million surgical masks.

  • The Health Secretary then announced a £300 million fund pot has been made available for community pharmacies, who play a "vital" role in delivering medicines to people.

  • He also added that a £13.4 billion historic debt belonging to NHS trusts has been written off to put the service in a "stronger position".

  • 5,000 NHS workers have been able to utilise new swab testing capabilities which are being developed in conjunction with commercial providers. Over time this figure will increase as Mr Hancock announces a goal of hitting 100,000 daily by the end of April when taking all of the new testing options on the way into account.

  • Major pharmaceutical companies such as Astrazeneca & GlaxoSmithKline, are now working together with small diagnostics companies to build a British diagnostics industry "at scale".

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock says he is "confident we have the supplies of medicines that are needed", before adding the UK has a "very detailed plan" for supplies, which are kept "constantly under review".

  • Intensive care capacity in London will be bolstered further when the new 4,000 bed Nightingale hospital opens, Prof Stephen Powis says.

  • Government reveals they have already bought 17.5m antibody tests that will allow people to see if they have had the virus. However confirms the order is "subject to them working".

The overall amount of cases in the UK has now risen to 33,718, with that being 4,244 new cases since yesterday. Total number of deaths is now at 2,921.

To read a brief summary of last night's points and important measures click here.

Here's the full conference, courtesy of HuffPost UK: