Boris Johnson under fire over missed COVID-19 meetings

Boris Johnson has come under fire after allegedly missing five key meetings as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK.

Boris Johnson under fire over missed COVID-19 meetings

Boris Johnson has come under fire after allegedly missing five key meetings as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK.

the British Government is defending the prime minister as news come it is not considering lifting the lockdown imposed almost four weeks ago to control the outbreak.

Britain is at or near the peak of a health crisis in which more than 16,000 people have died - the fifth-highest national death toll of a pandemic that is linked to at least 150,000 deaths worldwide.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said a Buzzfeed report that the government was considering lifting the lockdown in phases over the coming months was not correct.

"The facts and the advice are clear at the moment that we should not be thinking of lifting of these restrictions yet," Gove told Sky News.

With hospitals under strain, health workers have criticised the government's advice that personal protective equipment (PPE) worn while treating patients infected with coronavirus could be re-used, as supplies run low across the country.

An 84-tonne delivery of PPE from Turkey, which ministers had said would arrive on Sunday, has been delayed, a government official said.

The latest data shows 16,060 people have died in British hospitals after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, a rise of 596 from data published on Saturday.

While that marked the smallest increase in almost two weeks, figures published over weekends usually show smaller-than-average increases in the death toll, and these daily figures do not include deaths in the wider community.

A further 2500 died in care homes during the week to April 13, according to the National Care Forum, a representative body for the adult social care sector.

"One of the things that is deeply worrying and concerning is the high level of deaths," Gove said.

"The evidence suggests that the rate of infection and the death rate is flattening, but we're not absolutely certain that we are yet on a downward trajectory."

Gove described as "grotesque" a Sunday Times story that said Prime Minister Boris Johnson skipped five crisis meetings held to address the coronavirus pandemic early in the outbreak.

"The prime minister took all the major decisions. Nobody can say that the prime minister wasn't throwing heart and soul into fighting this virus," he said, adding that the story overall was "slightly off-beam".

Labour health spokesman and MP Jonathan Ashworth said this comment was "possibly the weakest rebuttal of a detailed expose in British political history".

The health ministry said 21,626 tests for the novel coronavirus were conducted on Saturday - still far short of the government's target of 100,000 per day by the end of the month.

Gove said he was confident the government would hit the target.

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You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the and the .

Source : 9 News More   

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Plagued Artania ship to set sail from WA

The plagued Artania cruise ship is finally departing Western Australia after a three-week stay during which three people on board died of coronavirus.

Plagued Artania ship to set sail from WA

The plagued Artania cruise ship is finally departing Western Australia after a three-week stay during which three people on board died of coronavirus.

The German liner began its journey from Fremantle back to Europe on Saturday afternoon, carrying 400 crew and 11 passengers.

It comes days after a 42-year-old crewman from the Philippines became the third person from the Artania to die in WA, taking the state's toll to seven.

"I'm sure every West Australian, like me, is very pleased to see it leave," Premier Mark McGowan told reporters.

WA recorded just one new local case of COVID-19 overnight, as well as two more cases from the Artania, taking the state's total to 544.

Of those,221 have been linked to cruise ships, including 81 from the Artania and 53 from the Ruby Princess.

"The cruise ship saga has been one of the most difficult issues that we have grappled with in WA," Mr McGowan said.

"There's no doubt we were facing a situation that could have easily turned into a major health crisis, one we would have lost control over and could have led to our hospitals being overrun with sick people from cruise ships."

Some 79 Artania crew members and 28 passengers remain in Perth. Eleven are in hospital, while the rest are in hotels, including the two newest recorded cases.

Most are expected to depart WA on Sunday on a charter flight arranged by the cruise ship company.

A female passenger was taken to hospital via ambulance on Saturday after medical experts determined she was not well enough to sail.

But a Department of Home Affairs spokesman said the nature of her illness had not been determined and it may not be coronavirus-related.

Mr McGowan said WA now had just 149 active cases and 33 COVID-19 patients in Perth hospitals, including six in intensive care.

The newest local case was a Rio Tinto contractor who tested positive after holidaying in Bali.

The MV Artania is seen with "Thank You Fremantle" banners and Australian flags positioned on the side of the vessel while berthed at the Fremantle Passenger Terminal

"Frankly, it's pretty selfish and irresponsible to have travelled to Bali in the circumstances we knew we were facing during the March period," the premier said.

Mr McGowan said Rio had screened 1600 workers using a finger-prick antibody test.

Just eight had been identified as having antibodies that could be linked to COVID-19, including the man who tested positive to the disease.

It's understood the Artania will make stops in Indonesia and the Philippines en route to Germany.

The ship's captain, Morten Hansen, said the crew member who died in a Perth hospital on Thursday had been with the company since 2006 and most recently served as a motorman, describing his passing as "heartbreaking".

Two other people from the Artania died last week, one a passenger aged in his 70s and the other a 69-year-old crewman.

For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the and set notifications to on at the or

You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the and the .

Source : 9 News More   

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