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What did we learn in Friday’s Covid-19 briefing?

Two more Nightingale hospitals are to be opened in Sunderland and Exeter.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock (Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave an update on the Prime Minister’s condition in hospital at the latest daily briefing, when two more Nightingale hospitals were announced.

Here are the key points from Friday’s update at Downing Street.

– How many people have now died?

Mr Hancock said 19,116 coronavirus tests were carried out across Great Britain on Thursday, of which 5,706 came back positive.

The number of people in hospital who have tested positive for the disease stood at 19,304, of which 8,958 had died – an increase of 980 on the previous day.

– What about the Prime Minister’s condition?

The Health Secretary said Boris Johnson’s condition “continues to improve”.

Earlier on Friday, Downing Street said Mr Johnson has been able to do “short walks” between periods of rest as part of his care to aid his recovery.

The Prime Minister is back on a ward at St Thomas’ Hospital after being discharged from the intensive care unit where he was being treated for Covid-19.

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Police officers outside St Thomas’ Hospital (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Police officers outside St Thomas’ Hospital (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

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Police officers outside St Thomas’ Hospital (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

– What announcements were made about PPE?

Mr Hancock said his goal is that “everyone” working in a critical role must get the personal protective equipment (PPE) that they need.

He said the armed forces were part of a “Herculean” logistics effort to get the kit out to hospitals, surgeries and care homes where it was needed on an unprecedented scale.

– Where are the new Nightingale hospitals?

Chief nursing officer Ruth May announced two more Nightingale hospitals were to be opened in Sunderland and Exeter.

These will join Nightingale sites already announced in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Harrogate and Bristol.

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Ambulances outside the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

Ambulances outside the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

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Ambulances outside the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

– What about progress on the testing target?

The Health Secretary said there is still a “lot of work” needed to reach the target he set of 100,000 daily Covid-19 tests by the end of April.

“We are working 24/7 to hit it (the target),” he said.

“Everyone can see the daily trajectory, which has almost doubled since I set it and we’ve clearly got a lot of work to get to our 100,000, but we are on track.”

– Have we reached the peak of the outbreak?

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the UK was still in a “dangerous phase” in regard to the number of new coronavirus cases.

He added that it was “premature” to say we have reached the peak of the outbreak, adding that “the push we are making with social distancing just has to continue”.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

– What did the Health Secretary say when he was asked about face masks?

On the issue of face masks, Mr Hancock said the Government will “follow the science”, which he says states they “don’t have a material impact outside of those settings which Public Health England have set out”.

Prof Van-Tam added they will keep the science evidence under review and will be guided by the science, adding: “If the science evidence changes then we will change.”

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