Bolton hospital boss pleads for people to avoid A&E for coronavirus tests
The plea came as admissions of patients with coronavirus increased over the weekend and the infection rate across the borough – the highest by far in England – continued to rise sharply.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, which is based at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Farnworth, said on Tuesday morning there were three coronavirus patients in critical care and a total of 20 on wards.
It added an increased number of patients under 65 are being admitted, with some in their 40s and 50s.
The trust’s medical director, Dr Francis Andrews, said: “We are seeing more people being admitted with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 as a result of the very high rate of infections in Bolton. This is not a shift we want to see.
“The situation at the hospital is under control and we were well prepared for this.
“However, the rate continuing to rise is of concern and we continue to urge the people of Bolton to consider others when making decisions that could jeopardise their safety.”
Boris Johnson responds to queries on ‘pregnancy-style test’
Asked about his aim of having a “pregnancy-style test” in place within months, Boris Johnson said: “I am going to be cautious and say that I can’t sit here today and say that we have such a ‘pregnancy-style test’… today.
“It is right for Government to invest in such a project.”
Here’s today’s number of cases added to a graph showing the trends since early July
Coronavirus cases surge by nearly 4,000
The Government said that as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 3,991 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. Overall, 378,219 cases have been confirmed.
It also said a further 20 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday. This brings the UK total to 41,684.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 57,500 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
A second national lockdown would be likely to have “disastrous” financial consequences for the UK, Boris Johnson has said
He was asked by Conservative MP and chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Julian Knight, whether the country could afford another national lockdown.
Mr Johnson replied: “I don’t want a second national lockdown – I think it would be completely wrong for this country and we are going to do everything in our power to prevent it.
“And can we afford it? I very much doubt that the financial consequences would be anything but disastrous, but we have to make sure that we defeat the disease by the means that we have set out.
“So when I see people arguing against the rule of six or saying that the Government is coming in too hard on individual liberties and so on – I totally understand that and I sympathise with that, but we must, must defeat this disease.”
Hours of operation at the most used Covid-19 community test site in Lancashire are being reduced with immediate effect
The facility in Burnley town centre opposite the bus station – with no booking required – was open seven days a week from 10am to 3pm but will now be closed on Thursdays and Fridays.
A Burnley Council spokesman said: “The Burnley testing station is in high demand from local residents. It has dealt with, on average, 300 tests a day since it opened on August 10 – the highest number of any community testing facility in Lancashire.
“But as reported in the media, the national testing system is stretched.”
William Wragg asks Boris Johnson when a minister should resign rather than their officials
The Prime Minister replied: “I believe that ministers should of course be responsible and indeed I as the Minister for the Civil Service and Prime Minister take responsibility for everything the Government does.”
Asked if ministers can dismiss civil servants, Mr Johnson said: “I think a minister is entitled to make it clear if he or she believes that the operation of the department would be better if things were different.”
NHS trust sees rise in young people seeking Covid-19 tests
The South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in the Middlesbrough area, said it has had young people turn up hoping to get a test.
In a statement, Julie Suckling, service manager for emergency medicine, said: “We have seen an increase in children and young people attending our A&E asking for a coronavirus test.
“Anyone requiring a test should follow the guidance on the Government website.”
Mr Johnson said an inquiry into the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic would “look at everything that has gone wrong and gone right”
But he said it would not be a “good use of official time at the moment”, and declined to indicate when the inquiry could begin.
The Prime Minister also faced questions on the civil service from Tory MP William Wragg – chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.
Mr Wragg asked Mr Johnson why he thought the civil service requires reform.
Mr Johnson said: “I think that they are fantastic public servants and I think that they deliver extraordinary things every day for the British public and every level of government.
“I do think, as I said in a speech in Dudley, I do think perhaps there are lessons we need to draw from this… maybe there are some times when we need people to be able to move faster, project speed is of great value I think to the workings of our civil service.
“And we certainly won’t be shy of reform where it is necessary.”
PM says people are not seeking coronavirus tests in the correct circumstances
Boris Johnson told MPs: “Many people are seeking to get a test in the hope that they can thereby be released to get on with their lives in the normal way – people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, for instance, they are seeking to get a test to ensure that they are OK to go to work.”
He told the Liaison Committee: “That is perfectly reasonable, and I understand why people are doing that, but the advice and the guidance is that people should seek a test not in those circumstances but when they have symptoms.”
Boris Johnson admits there is not enough coronavirus testing capacity
The Prime Minister told the Commons Liaison Committee: “We don’t have enough testing capacity now because, in an ideal world, I would like to test absolutely everybody that wants a test immediately.”
He promised that there would be capacity for 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.
But he urged people without symptoms to stay away from testing centres – although he acknowledged the reasons why they may want to find out if they had Covid-19.
“What has happened is demand has massively accelerated just in the last couple of weeks,” he told MPs.
Mayor of Greater Manchester says around 110 schools in the area have reported coronavirus cases
Andy Burnham said: “It clearly is disrupting the return to schools but, nevertheless, it was never going to be plain sailing, I don’t think.
“I think the issue to put to the Prime Minister is, given that we knew the return of schools would put more pressure on the system, why wasn’t more done?”
He added: “This is causing real distress for families but also for schools as well, so it needs to be fixed and fixed urgently.”
Nicola Sturgeon still has concerns about the amount of time being taken to process coronavirus tests at UK Government laboratories
The First Minister again spoke of pressures on the testing system in England which have caused a delay in people getting results.
Her comments came as a UK Government minister insisted coronavirus testing capacity in Scotland is “increasing enormously”.
Iain Stewart also said that if decisions need to be made over who should be the priority for testing in Scotland, that would be for the Scottish Government.
Coronavirus tests in England are to be rationed as the Government at Westminster struggles to get to grips with soaring demand.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there will be testing “prioritisation” for people with acute clinical need and those in social care settings, as he acknowledged “operational challenges” in the system.
First Minister Ms Sturgeon stressed on Tuesday there was “not by and large” an issue with getting tests north of the border.
But she said “constraints” at the UK Government’s Lighthouse laboratories meant results were being delayed – an issue she has raised in talks with Mr Hancock and Dido Harding, the head of the UK testing system.
Hotspots should get priority testing – mayor
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said those with a postcode in areas with the highest rates of coronavirus should be given priority when booking a coronavirus test.
He said: “On testing, we do need the Government to prioritise areas with the highest numbers of cases for bookings through the national system.”
Mr Burnham added: “What we have here are systems which are not sufficiently attuned to the needs of local communities, systems that don’t prioritise areas of greatest need for testing to available capacity.”
He said tests had still been taking place in Greater Manchester this week but probably at a reduced capacity and there was increased demand.
Test and Trace is failing Greater Manchester, says mayor
Speaking during his weekly online press conference, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said police community support officers and fire staff would be called on to help with contact tracing as the national Test and Trace system was failing to reach 46 per cent of named contacts in the area.
He said: “Test, trace and isolate is not working well enough for Greater Manchester at the moment and we have only a small number of weeks to fix it before we go into the really tough time which lies ahead in the autumn and into the winter.”
Mr Burnham added: “We have agreements from Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to mobilise a number of police community support officers and fire safety staff to focus their efforts on contacting the contacts that are currently not being reached in Greater Manchester by the national system.”
He also called on businesses to give employees permission and financial support to self-isolate if asked to do so by the NHS Test and Trace system and said a self-isolation support service was being set up by the Greater Manchester Growth Company.
Hospital deaths up by 11 in England:
A further 11 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England.
This brings the total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals to 29,687, NHS England reported this lunchtime.
Patients were aged between 69 and 98 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The dates of the deaths were between September 11 and September 15, with the majority on September 14.
Five other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
The latest figures for Wales are in:
There have been a further 199 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 19,880.
Public Health Wales said no further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,597.