As of 9am on 16 March 2020, 44,105 people have been tested in the UK, of which 42,562 were confirmed negative and 1,543 were confirmed as positive.
Thirty-five patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
The Prime Minister will chair a COBRA meeting early this afternoon where it is expected he will approve a ban on mass gatherings of more than 500 people, potentially starting next weekend as well as the next steps on plans around shielding elderly and vulnerable people and household isolation.
The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will meet with teachers’ groups to discuss a proposal to extend schools’ Easter holiday from two to four weeks.
Daily press conferences will be hosted by the Prime Minister and senior Ministers on the coronavirus pandemic, supported by scientific and medical experts including the Chief Medical Office and Chief Scientific Adviser.
The daily press conferences were demanded by senior opposition figures over the weekend including Labour leadership favourite Keir Starmer and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.
The BBC has announced that it is to delay TV licence fee changes for the over-75s until August in light of the coronavirus situation.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced that it will be stopping routine inspections from today.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CQC’s primary objective will be to support providers to keep people safe during a period of unprecedented pressure on the health and care system.
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of CQC, said:
“During this period, our priority will be to support those who deliver health and social care to keep people safe during this global health emergency. We will therefore be stopping routine inspections from today. It may still be necessary to use our inspection powers in a very small number of cases when there is clear evidence of harm, such as allegations of abuse.
“In adult social care, our inspectors will also be acting as a support for registered managers, providing advice and guidance throughout this period in the absence of a single national body equivalent to NHS England. We are talking to social care providers about how to most effectively collect information from them to ensure that the Government has a clear picture of the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector.”
The supermarket firm Aldi have reassured their customers that they are working round the clock to keep our warehouses fully stocked.
“We have increased orders from our suppliers and our warehouses have sufficient stock to replenish all stores. This includes all of the essentials such as sanitary and baby products.Our amazing colleagues have been working round the clockto restock our stores. However, unprecedented demand for certain products has made it difficult for us to ensure that there are no gaps on shelves.”
“All of our stores receive daily deliveries, often multiple times a day. So if a certain product is not available when you visit, it will be replenished in the overwhelming majority of cases by the following day.
We have taken action to discourage people buying more than they need. Customers are currently limited to buying four items of any one product during each visit. This is still significantly more than most customers would buy in a normal shopping trip and we hope this temporary restriction will give as many customers as possible the opportunity to get what they need, every time they visit.”
Meanwhile abroad America’s largest cities are preparing for lockdown today as the coronavirus panic spirals Stateside. Bars, restaurant, cafes and entertainment venues throughout New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities are to be closed for the foreseeable future as civic leaders issue draconian edicts to try to stop the virus’ spread.