Coronavirus in UK live blog as it happened: 759 more deaths recorded as UK warned social distancing is "vital" until vaccine

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Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 6:06 pm

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Street art dedicated to the NHS at a skate park in Milton Keynes (Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, April 22

Last updated: Wednesday, 22 April, 2020, 17:57

UK shouldn’t expect a sudden decline in deaths

The government’s chief medical advisor has said the number of deaths in the UK is now “flattening off”, while the number of people in hospital beds is “improving”.

The news comes after 759 more deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the current death toll to 18,100.

Professor Chris Whitty warned that despite the number of deaths starting to slow, based on other countries the UK should not expect a “sudden” decline in numbers.

Antibody test not yet good enough

Professor Chris Whitty has said the government does not yet have an antibody test that is as good as they want.

However, it is hoped it will soon have a test which will show what proportion of people have had the virus, including people of different ages and in different parts of the country.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs today the expansion of testing capacity in the UK “was ahead of plans” and the government is working on the development of a contact tracing app, which is in trials.

He said: "That way we can control this virus, with fewer of the very extraordinary social distancing measures that have been in place."

UK still has “a long way to go” before having a vaccine

Professor Chris Whitty has said there is still a long way to go before the UK gets a vaccine, or a drug, to control the spread of the virus.

Whitty stressed the importance of relying on social distancing measures until a vaccine is available, stating that such restrictions are “vital”.

He is hopeful that the government will get vaccines with “proof of concept” within a year.

The Foreign Secretary also added that the government is putting a huge effort into tracking and tracing the virus.

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