Speaking on ITV’s Peston this evening Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam, talks coronavirus.
In a pre-recorded interview with Anushka Asthana Van Tam was asked if testing could have an impact on the overall death rate.
“What matters is slowing the rate of new infections. And the only way you can slow the rate of new infections, irrespective of whether they’re tested or not, it’s a bit of a side issue to be truthful with you, what’s important is the social distancing, stopping people coming into contact, so that the rate of new cases slows.” – Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam
As today’s COVID-19 death rate in the UK reaches nearly 2,400 Van Tam added that the stay at home enforcement is ‘moving us in exactly the right direction’.
“They are keeping away from each other, they are stopping non-essential travel, they are working from home whenever they can and it is very clear that what they are doing us moving us in exactly the right direction. But I don’t expect that to be today or tomorrow, I expect to see the results of that sacrifice if you like, that hard work of the British people, around about two weeks from now.” – Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam
Asked if it would be days weeks or months before any NHS worker who needed to be tested would get one, he said: “Where we are right now is that we as of yesterday have a testing capacity for 12,700 people. NHS staff are being prioritised along with patients and we have a clear plan that by the end of this month we’ll be at 25,000 tests a day.”
When Anushka asked if everyone who needs testing by the end of April will be tested, he said: “Yes I do, actually – we need more testing, of course we need more testing, but this is coming on stream now.”
When probed on why the UK is so far behind Germany in its testing capacity, he noted how they were in a ‘very different place’.
“It’s very difficult to make comparisons between different countries. Germany is in a very different place in terms of their epidemic curve, in terms of their testing capacity. We know we need more, and we’re working very hard to obtain more as fast as we possibly can.” – Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam
Questioned on how many people were likely to have Coronavirus with no symptoms, he said: “I think the proportion of people who are spreading the virus who don’t have symptoms is very, very minor compared to the proportion of people who do have symptoms, when we know that you can recover the virus from the nose and the throat.”
Asked if lockdown could be for six months or longer, he said: “I’m just not going to be drawn on the timescale. The next focus in my mind, the goal in my mind, is starting to see the number of new cases and the number of deaths begin to decline in the UK.”
Peston, ITV, STV and UTV at 10.45pm.
The award-winning In My Skin is back as a brand new five-part series set in south Wales.
Sixteen year-old Bethan Gwyndaf, played by Bafta Cymru Award-winner Gabrielle Creevy, leading a double life. To her friends at school she’s your average, fun-loving, cocky teen with a normal family – but the reality is vastly different. At home she tries to juggle her father’s sociopathic tendencies with her mother’s bipolar – a particularly severe episode seeing her sectioned in a psychiatric hospital.
Bethan is not cool. She and her two best friends – reckless Lydia (Poppy Lee Friar) and sweet Travis (James Wilbraham) – are the nothing kids. So she can’t believe it when she catches the eye of the popular girl, Poppy. While Bethan is busy trying to hide the truth of who she really is, she actually learns, through heart ache and pain, to finally break out of her shell and exist for the first time, in her own skin.
The world is equally split between Bethan’s school life and friendship group, and her chaotic family life. And although she is our eyes into her world, the series follows the stories of Bethan’s friends, teachers and family members too.
In My Skin, BBC One at 10.45pm