Coronavirus in UK live blog as it happened: confirmed Covid-19 cases approach 5 million globally

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 6:08 pm

We will be providing live updates until 6pm this evening.

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Coronavirus live blog, May 19

Last updated: Tuesday, 19 May, 2020, 17:50

174 more coronavirus deaths in England

Another 174 coronavirus deaths have been announced by NHS England.

This brings the total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals in England to 24,913.

A further 29 deaths were recorded in Scotland, 17 in Wales and seven in Northern Ireland.

Places of worship to be “supervised” after reopening

Places of worship will have to be “supervised” when they reopen to the public, the Archbishop of Westminster has said.

Speaking on a Zoon panel about the process of safe reopening, Cardinal Vincent Nichols suggested certain sections of churches could be closed off each day to allow cleaning to take place.

He said: “I think one thing is very clear, access to a church in the foreseeable future will be supervised, so it's not as if the church doors will be flung open and say 'come in when you want'.

"There will have to be people there, the whole process will have to be supervised."

“Each day a different section of the church might be made available, it doesn't have to be the whole church, the whole time.”

Pizza Express to reopen restaurants for delivery

Pizza Express has announced plans to reopen a number of its restaurants for home delivery.

The Italian chain will start delivery from 13 locations in London over the next 10 days, with customers given a choice from a limited menu.

The news comes following an announcement from Wagamama, which is expanding its delivery service at 67 locations across the UK by the end of May.

Popular fast food chains including KFC, McDonald’s and Subway have also recently started trading again on a limited basis.

Contact tracing could help to ease UK lockdown

The UK is to introduce an NHS contact tracing app which is planned to be rolled out on a large scale.

The app is currently being tested on the Isle of Wight, after trials started on 5 May.

Wales considering changing ban on outdoor meeting rules

The Welsh Government is considering making changes to its ban on people meeting up in outdoor spaces.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said the decision to amend the rule would be informed by “developing evidence” regarding the risks of transmitting the virus outside.

New evidence, published on Tuesday (19 May) by the government’s Technical Advisory Cell (TAC) suggests that coronavirus is “very likely” to decay within a few minutes when exposed to sunlight.

Such findings will feed into “active considerations” about easing restrictions at next week’s lockdown review.

At present, people in Wales are banned from meeting with people they do not live with outdoors.

Government may allow an extra bank holiday in October

The government is considering the possibility of allowing an extra bank holiday in October, following a suggestion from Visit Britain.

Acting head of the UK tourism body, Patricia Yates, told MPs on Tuesday (19 May) that the industry had missed out on the benefit of two bank holidays in May due to the coronavirus lockdown.

An extra day in October, around the time of school half-term holidays, would allow the tourism sector to extend the season, she proposed.

Downing Street said the government would “respond in due course” to the proposal, but noted that an additional bank holiday would come with economic costs.

UK coronavirus death total rises to 35,341

During this evening’s UK government briefing, environment secretary George Eustice announced that there have been a further 545 UK deaths, taking the total number to 35,341.

British workers will need to 'lend a hand' to harvest crops

George Eustice has called for furloughed workers and other UK residents to “lend a hand” when it comes to harvesting crops.

The environment secretary estimated that only around a third of the foreign labourers who normally carry out this task are currently in the country.

He said that furloughed workers may want to “get out”, “do their part” and supplement their income with a second job.

South Korea and Germany have made 'inspiring' efforts against coronavirus, says deputy chief scientific adviser

The UK government’s deputy chief scientific adviser has praised other countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Dame Angela McLean said that South Korea, in particular, has made “inspiring use” of contact tracing. She also highlighted Germany, “where the importance of testing has been so clear."

Government financial support schemes 'will evolve'

Environment secretary George Eustice has said that the UK government’s currently financial support schemes - from mortgage payment holidays to loans - “will evolve” as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

During this evening’s televised briefing, he assured a member of the public that the Treasury will be thinking about how the current job retention scheme can adapt and continue.

Thursday's briefing will include update on track and trace app

Professor Dame Angela McLean has said that an update on the promised government coronavirus track and trace app will be made on Thursday 21 May.

This update, the deputy chief scientific adviser said, will outline what will be put in place and when, in terms of the app.

Testing system with 48 hour turnaround 'is possible'

The UK’s deputy chief scientific adviser believes a coronavirus testing system with a 48 hour turnaround time “is possible”.

Professor Dame Angela McLean said that evidence from other countries suggests that quicker testing can be achieved, and argued that the UK’s system is already “getting better”.

This concludes today’s live blog.

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