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Coronavirus: UK cases 'could be moving in the right direction'

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Sir Patrick Vallance was speaking at the daily No 10 coronavirus briefing
The number of coronavirus cases in the UK "could be moving in the right direction", the government's chief scientific adviser has said.Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, Sir Patrick Vallance said it was "possible that we're beginning to see... the curve flattening".He added, however, it would be another "week or so" before he could be sure.The foreign secretary, meanwhile, said the PM, who is in intensive care, is in "good spirits" and "stable".It comes as the number of coronavirus hospital deaths in the UK rose to 6,159 - a record increase of 786 in a day, the Department of Health and Social Care said, compared with 439 on Monday.
So far, 55,242 people have tested positive in the UK - an increase of 3,634 on Monday's figures.Speaking about the number of new cases, Sir Patrick said: "It is possible that we're beginning to see the beginning of change in terms of the curve flattening a little bit."We won't know that for sure until a week or so. But what we're not seeing is an acceleration."Sir Patrick stressed it was important to continue with the social distancing measures to ensure a reduction in the number of new cases.
Today's figures are a record high and bring the currently reported death toll above 6,000 for the first time. The rise of 786 is higher than Saturday's previous peak of 708 deaths reported in a single day.We also know that this figure misses deaths that occurred but have not yet been reported, so the true death toll at this point is likely higher.If there is any silver lining to these grim figures, it is that they represent the fourth day in a row of below-trend growth. For weeks up until Friday's figures, the number of deaths had been doubling every three and a half days. Had that trend continued, we would have seen close to 1,400 deaths today.So 786 is better than that, although it's still too soon to know what's causing it. It could be a big bottleneck in reporting (we've seen that after previous weekends) or genuine evidence that growth is truly slowing down.More hopefully, for almost a week, daily new cases have been holding steady at about 4,000 a day, suggesting that, while we are still seeing new cases, the growth in this figure could be stalling.
Asked whether the current lockdown measures would be extended, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government would make a decision when "the time is right" but that "we are not at that stage yet".He said social distancing measures were "helping", and that people must continue to adhere to them over the Easter weekend.The foreign secretary also issued a short statement on Prime Minister Boris Johnson.Mr Johnson was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital in central London with "persistent symptoms" of Covid-19 on Sunday and was moved to intensive care on Monday evening after his symptoms worsened.Mr Raab, who is deputising for Mr Johnson, said the PM was receiving "standard oxygen treatment" and had not been on a ventilator.
Coronavirus: UK cases 'could be moving in the right direction'

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Dominic Raab says Boris Johnson remains in good spirits
"For all of us in cabinet he's not just our boss - he's also a colleague and he's also our friend," he said.He added: "I'm confident he will pull through because if there is one thing that I know about this prime minister is he is a fighter and he will be back leading us through this crisis in short order.As first secretary of state, Mr Raab is the minister designated to stand in for Mr Johnson if he is unwell and unable to work.
A SIMPLE GUIDE: How do I protect myselfAVOIDING CONTACT: The rules on self-isolation and exercise
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In a further development, Sir Patrick said he could not guarantee there would be enough Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in every individual hospital throughout the epidemic.However, in terms of demand, he said "there shouldn't be an overall increase above the number of beds available" across the whole NHS."The NHS has done an amazing job of increasing the overall capacity of ICU and so things seem to be tracking in the right direction," he said.
Boris Johnson
Coronavirus lockdown measures
Self-isolation
Coronavirus pandemic
Social distancing
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