UK Deaths From CCP Virus Top 1,000 As Country Steps Up Testing

By Reuters
March 28, 2020COVID-19
UK Deaths From CCP Virus Top 1,000 As Country Steps Up Testing
Medical staff at an NHS drive through COVID-19 testing facility in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures as the spread of the CCP virus continues in Chessington, United Kingdom, on March 28, 2020. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

Medical workers in England on the front line of the CCP virus pandemic started to be tested on Saturday as the number of virus deaths in Britain topped 1,000 after a record 260 people died in the previous 24 hours.

Government figures showed 1,019 people had died as of 5 p.m. local time on Friday, while the number of confirmed cases stood at 17,089 on Saturday morning, up 17.5 percent on a day earlier.

Britain is bracing for the epidemic to peak in the coming weeks, and is building field hospitals in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Cardiff to bolster the response from its state-run National Health Service (NHS).

The government, which had been criticized by some doctors and nurses for not providing them with enough protective gear and testing kits, announced on Friday it was introducing a much bigger testing regime, with checks for health workers in England.

Frontline medical staff in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are already being tested.

The country is largely on lockdown, with Britons urged to stay home. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and health minister Matt Hancock are among those who have tested positive.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives his daily COVID-19 press briefing at Downing Street in London on March 22, 2020. (Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The minister for Scotland, Alister Jack, said on Saturday he had developed a mild temperature and a cough in the past 24 hours and was now working from home in isolation. He has not been tested for the virus.

He spoke in the House of Commons on Wednesday, immediately before Johnson appeared at the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session, during which Jack was seated on the government bench behind Johnson.

Efforts were under way to keep building up the NHS’s capacity to cope with the epidemic.

A drive-through CCP virus testing facility for health workers has begun operating at a popular resort near London.

NTD News refers to the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.

The Chessington World of Adventures theme park, which usually hosts families seeking a fun day out, has turned one of its car parks into a testing unit for NHS staff, a spokeswoman said on Saturday.

More Hospitals

Health workers, who remain in their cars, are tested by nurses who carry out swabs in the nose and mouth through the windows.

“We are proud to be able to offer our assistance to the NHS during this unprecedented time,” the theme park said in a statement.

The government said on Friday it was partnering companies including Thermo Fisher Scientific, Randox, and Boots, and top UK universities, to scale up the testing regime.

The first of three new hub laboratories that are being put into place is expected to process around 800 samples over the weekend. The number of tests being processed will then rise dramatically, according to the health ministry.

The NHS is also setting up four new temporary hospitals in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Cardiff. At the enormous Excel Center events venue in east London, large numbers of ambulances and paramedics were on site on Saturday ahead of the facility’s opening next week.

The government also said it was starting to deliver food boxes to people deemed at high risk from the illness, who have been advised by the NHS to stay at home for 12 weeks.

In what it described as the biggest effort to deliver supplies to those in need since World War Two, the ministry of housing, communities, and local government said the first of 50,000 free food boxes containing items such as pasta and tinned goods would be delivered over the weekend.

Some 1.5 million clinically vulnerable people have been advised to shield themselves at home for 12 weeks.

Like many other countries, Britain has brought in strict social distancing measures.

People have been instructed to stay at home, going out only to buy food or medicines or for exercise once a day. Schools, shops, pubs, restaurants, and cafes are closed and anyone who can work from home is expected to do so.

By Estelle Shirbon

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.