By Alex Trelinski •
Published: 24 Apr 2020 • 19:04
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that Britain is making progress in the battle against the coronavirus.
Shapps, who led the daily Downing Street briefing today (April 24), said that there were “tentative signs we are making progress” because of the way that the public has followed social distancing measures.
He stated that the end of lockdown restrictions “will arrive sooner” if motorists only continue to travel for essential journeys.
Shapps announced a new package of measures for transport, including a boost to essential freight services.
“Many bring in crucial goods,” he says, “like medicines.”
Shapps added that the government has also set up a transport support unit dedicated to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said that there is “spare capacity” because of a reduced transport service and that there are volunteers and 9,000 vehicles available to help to distribute supplies to vulnerable people.
He also announced a review looking at how drones might be used to deliver medicines, and also confirmed that are no British holidaymakers stranded on cruises anywhere in the world.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries said that the number of inpatients diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last 24 hours had fallen below 1,000 for the first time in weeks.
She said that critical care capacity continued to increase across the NHS.
Harries added that while there had been an increase in deaths, there was a “gradual but a subtle decline” in the figures.
Asked whether the government has raised expectations beyond what it can deliver in terms of coronavirus testing and its goal of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, Shapps repeated the line about capacity “rising very fast”.
He added that the significant demand demonstrated for tests earlier today was a good sign – and that it will be good to see the demand match the rising capacity for tests.
He confirmed that 10.72 million essential worker households are now eligible to request a test via the government’s website.
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