Another 449 patients have died in hospitals in the UK after contracting coronavirus.
The Department of Health announced the latest increase, with 16,509 people with COVID-19 – the disease caused by coronavirus – now confirmed to have died in hospitals across the four home nations.Health authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland record their own daily figures, which may not tally with the government’s total as they collate their numbers at different times throughout the day.It comes as the government’s furlough scheme opened for applications.Through the Job Retention Scheme, employers can claim for a cash grant to cover up to 80% of their staff’s wages – capped at £2,500 a month.
The HMRC online portal saw claims covering 67,000 workers’ wages in the first half hour.The government has also called claims in the Sunday Times that they “lost a crucial five weeks” to tackle the threat posed by the coronavirus as “plainly untrue” and “ridiculous”.
However, former Labour prime minister Tony Blair told Sky News Boris Johnson’s government was “probably slow” in its early response to the crisis.
He also said he “can’t see any way out” of the COVID-19 lockdown without mass testing of the public.