Coronavirus LIVE: Health minister to give Welsh Government update

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, will hold a press conference to update on the latest coronavirus situation in Wales.

We’ll be bringing you updates from the briefing which starts at 12.30pm.

Vital supplies of PPE for frontline health and care workers in Wales will today be flown into Cardiff Airport.

A chartered flight carrying 200,000 gowns will arrive from Cambodia.

It is  is the first of two due to arrive this week, which will replenish vital supplies of gowns for the NHS and social care staff in Wales.

In total, 660,000 gowns will be flown in to Cardiff Airport on the flights, from Phnom Penh, in Cambodia and Hangzhou, in China.

Send a heart to our #NHSHeroes and show how much we appreciate them

What is the NHS Heroes campaign?

The NHS is the very best of us. We watch in awe as they work tirelessly to care for us during these unprecedented times. We’ve never relied on them more. We’ve never needed to thank them more and that’s what our Help For Heroes initiative is about.

You can show how much you appreciate their efforts by sending them some love, on our Thanks A Million Map  Simply add your message of support and send a heart to your postcode area. You can zoom around the map to see how many people from communities around Britain are supporting it, and read other messages. If you’re a member of NHS staff you’ll find a dedicated section of discounts and money-off deals, just for you, too.

But alongside appreciation, the NHS also needs our help – from PPE, to food to keep them going during shifts, medical supplies and more – money can make a big difference. So we have launched NHS Heroes Help From Home – a nationwide drive to raise funds for our NHS frontline, that everyone can get involved in. 

How it works

  • Donate to NHS Heroes Help From Home from just £2 
  • As a thank you, everyone who donates will be entered into the weekly NHS Heroes Raffle
  • Winners are announced every Thursday at 8:05pm.
  • If you’re a winner, choose to keep your prize or gift to an NHS hero of your choice
  • Find out more at: or click the link on the Thanks a Million map to go direct to the donation site

Where do the funds go: 

Funds raised are in aid of the NHS Charities COVID-19 Appeal, set up by NHS Charities Together. Donations will help take care of the immediate well-being of our NHS frontline heroes as well as provide essential longer-term mental health support .

94% of all donations will go to NHS Charities Together’s COVID-19 Appeal. The remaining 6% will cover the cost of payment processing fees.

If you have some information you can contact us by following our Twitter feed @northwaleslive – the official North Wales Live account – real news in real time.

Or like – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout the day from the North Wales Live.

Don’t forget you can also keep up to date with the latest via the free North Wales Live app.

Download it for Apple devices ​here​ and Android devices ​here​.

Donate to our NHS frontline fundraiser and win weekly prizes. Choose to keep your prize or gift it to an NHS hero of your choice.


New Wales coronavirus figures revealed as death toll rises to more than 800

A further 17 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number to 813. Public Health Wales today recorded 232 new known cases, meaning 9,512 people have tested positive for the disease in Wales, although the actual number is likely to be much higher. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has 44 new cases, bringing the total number to 1,168 in North Wales.

Sarah Hodgson

Opening date for North Wales drive-through coronavirus testing centre revealed

A drive-through coronavirus testing centre in North Wales is ready to open, it has been announced. Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Government’s minister for health and social services, confirmed during today’s Welsh Government briefing that the site in Llandudno will open on Wednesday, April 29. The testing centre, located on the Builder Street coach park, will begin by testing critical workers.

Coronavirus testing centre being erected at Builder Street in Llandudno

Coronavirus testing centre being erected at Builder Street in Llandudno (Image: Hadyn Iball)

Sarah Hodgson

Boris Johnson’s war cabinet meeting

Boris Johnson used his first meeting of the Covid-19 war cabinet since his recovery from coronavirus to focus on the need to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that was the issue he focused on at the meeting on Monday morning.

The Government defended its record on PPE following a critical BBC Panorama investigation, with the PM’s spokesman saying “we have been working to secure gowns and other PPE from across the globe – and domestically – for a number of months”.

Some 12 million items of PPE were delivered on Monday to 227 trusts and care settings, including gloves, aprons, three different types of masks, eye protectors and gowns.

“At the morning meeting yesterday the Prime Minister did focus on delivering PPE,” the spokesman said.

Sarah Hodgson

Royal College of Nursing Wales responds to £60,000 payouts for families of NHS workers who die fighting Covid-19

Responding to the Health Minister Vaughan Gething’s announcement on a life assurance scheme, Helen Whyley, Director, Royal College of Nursing Wales, said:

We welcome this announcement from the Welsh Government that all families of health workers that we have lost during this battle against COVID-19 will receive a package of financial support. No amount of money will be able to compensate a family for the loss of a loved one.

The Royal College of Nursing Wales asked the Welsh Government for a death in service scheme for health workers and we will be looking at the details of the initiative to ensure it is fair, equitable and straight forward for families. We want to see that payments are made quickly and with ease. It must include all health care workers including those who worked in primary and social care settings.”

Health Minister Vaughan Gething confirmed that financial support of £60,000 will be provided to an eligible beneficiary of frontline staff working in the NHS and Social Care, should they die in service as a result of Covid-19.

Sarah Hodgson

Expert ‘terribly worried’ about lifting lockdown measures

An expert helping advise the Government on the coronavirus outbreak has told MPs he would be “terribly worried” about lifting lockdown measures with no or limited knowledge of the population’s immunity against Covid-19.

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that a better understanding of immunity in the population could help ease current restrictions on leaving the home.

But he said he was concerned about proceeding with lifting current restrictions imposed on March 23 with limited or no knowledge of how many people are immune to the virus.

He said: “As an immunologist and knowing how desperately lethal this virus can be, I’d be very worried about any assumptions on those grounds – terribly worried.”

He added: “For a virus we’ve known about since January, it’s been a very steep learning curve.

“Without really good antibody testing and seroprevalence (rates of antibodies) in the population, we’re flying blind.

“We haven’t got a clue who’s had it, how many have had it, where they’ve had it, or where we stand for the future for second waves, so I can’t emphasise sufficiently how desperately we need that data and how widely we need that data.”

Sarah Hodgson

Distribution of PPE

Mr Gething says military planners have been looking at the network in Wales to make sure PPE is given out effectively.

He said that there is a good system in place. He adds local authorities are distributing it settings that are in need and that there are good relationships.

Sarah Hodgson

Antibody testing

Mr Gething says that there is developing evidence base about if antibodies provide protection and if it does to what extent. He says research is being carried out and more information will be shared as they learn more.

Sarah Hodgson

Face masks

Mr Gething says he wants to speak to Wales’ chief medical officer before making any comment on the public wearing face masks.

Sarah Hodgson

Health minister denies Betsi being in special measures affected how Covid-19 figures were reported

Mr Gething says every single health board in Wales is now using the same reporting system. It comes after Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board delayed reporting their figures.

He denies that the error had anything to do with the health board being in special measures.

Mr Gething has praised the health boards across the country for their hardwork in the battle against coronavirus.

Sarah Hodgson

Disease in children linked to coronavirus deaths

England’s health secretary Matt Hanock has expressed his concern after some children in the UK have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome which has been linked to COVID-19.

Mr Gething says he is not aware of any deaths related to that in Wales.

Sarah Hodgson

Wales is getting ‘fair share’ of ventilators

Mr Gething says we have enough ventilators, but there are more coming through as well. He hails it as a success story that Wales has not had to use all of its critical care capacity.

He says we will get more ventilators as time goes on and they will arrive in batches over the coming weeks.

The minister says we are going to get our fair share of the UK’s purchase of ventilators.

Sarah Hodgson

How many gowns are used in Wales?

Mr Gething says around 40,000 to 50,000 gowns are used in Wales each week. The PPE deliveries this week from overseas will last Wales for around a month, he says,

He said he wants to make sure we have enough supplies in Wales, but Wales will supply items to other parts of the UK to make sure no key worker goes without.

Mr Gething adds if we want help in the future, we must also provide help when it is needed.

Sarah Hodgson

Concerns over people not seeking medical help

Mr Gething says he is concerned that people are avoiding urgent care appointments due to fears over coronavirus. He says unavoidable harm and death is taking place due to this.

He urges people who do need medical treatment to seek help.

Sarah Hodgson

PPE plane to land today

A plane from Cambodia carrying 200,000 PPE gowns will land in Cardiff this afternoon, Mr Gething says.

A further 460,000 gowns will arrive from China later this week, he confirms.

Sarah Hodgson

North Wales testing centre to open tomorrow

The North Wales testing drive-thru in Llandudno will open tomorrow, he says.

Police, firefighters are among those who will be able to book an appointment to be tested.

A testing centre will also open in Camarthen, Mr Gething says.

He adds that they are looking at how to increase testing in other parts of Wales, including in Powys.

Sarah Hodgson

Welsh Government briefing underway

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething says this morning’s minute’s silence was “poignant” and a chance to remember workers who have died and those who are continuing to go above and beyond.

Sarah Hodgson

Welsh Government ministers during minute’s silence

They took time out of their roles to join a minute’s silence for frontline workers who have lost their lives. The health minister is set to give an update from the Welsh Government shortly.

Sarah Hodgson

How North Wales hospital patients and staff are helping in the search for coronavirus cure

More than 20 patients from North Wales’ three hospitals have been recruited to take part in a national trial in a bid to find a cure for coronavirus. Ysbyty Gwynedd, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor Hospital are among 165 hospitals taking part across the UK. So far, they have recruited 26 patients as well as clinicians and researchers from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to test the effects of potential drug treatments for those with Covid-19

The Wrexham team involved in the clinical trial being led by Consultant Dr David Southern (centre).

The Wrexham team involved in the clinical trial being led by Consultant Dr David Southern (centre). (Image: Daily Post Wales)

Sarah Hodgson

More than 6,500 coronavirus-related deaths outside of hospital so far

More than 6,500 deaths involving coronavirus have occurred in England and Wales outside of hospital, official figures show.

Care homes notified the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of 4,343 deaths of residents in homes between April 10 and 24 in England, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

It is the first time the CQC death notifications for suspected or confirmed Covid-19 in care homes have been published.

Care home operators said they feared the sector will become “sadly the most affected area of society in terms of deaths from Covid-19”.

Prior to April 10, there were 1,000 deaths registered in care homes, Nick Stripe, head of health analysis, told the BBC.

Separately, the ONS said there were 1,220 deaths which occurred outside hospital, excluding care home deaths, in England and Wales up to April 17.

Of these:

– 883 took place in private homes

– 190 in hospices

– 61 in other communal establishments, and

– 86 elsewhere

The ONS and CQC figures added together make a total of 6,563 deaths outside hospital.

Sarah Hodgson

Welsh Government briefing

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, will hold a press conference to update on the latest coronavirus situation in Wales. That takes place at 12.30pm – we’ll bring you the latest from that.

Sarah Hodgson

Haven’s Hafan y Mor, Greenacres, and Presthaven holiday parks have closure periods extended

Haven’s three holiday parks in North Wales will remain closed until at least June.

In March the holiday giant said all its parks would shut as UK and Welsh governments took action to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

This impacted Hafan y Mor in Pwllheli, Greenacres in Porthmadog, and Presthaven, at Gronant, near Prestatyn.

Sarah Hodgson

Pictures from Deeside’s Rainbow Hospital

Signs have now gone up at Deeside’s Rainbow Hospital. The area’s leisure centre has been transformed to treat Covid-19 patients.

A rainbow heart painted on the entrance to the Deeside rainbow hospital

A rainbow heart painted on the entrance to the Deeside rainbow hospital (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

The former Deeside Leisure Centre nears it's transformation into a field hospital to help with patients during the Coronavirus pandemic

The former Deeside Leisure Centre nears it’s transformation into a field hospital to help with patients during the Coronavirus pandemic (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

The former Deeside Leisure Centre nears it's transformation into a field hospital to help with patients during the Coronavirus pandemic. The facility has been rebranded and renamed Deeside Rainbow Hospital

The former Deeside Leisure Centre nears it’s transformation into a field hospital to help with patients during the Coronavirus pandemic. The facility has been rebranded and renamed Deeside Rainbow Hospital (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

Sarah Hodgson

Silence at Wrexham Maelor

A few people also gathered at the Wrexham Maelor to remember workers who have lost their life including hospital theatre assistant Andy Treble.

A minute's silence at Wrexham Maelor Hospital to remember those who have died working on the frontline during the Coronavirus pandemic

A minute’s silence at Wrexham Maelor Hospital to remember those who have died working on the frontline during the Coronavirus pandemic (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

Sarah Hodgson

North Wales patients enroll in clinical trial to test cure for coronavirus

Clinicians and researchers across Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board are taking part in a national clinical trial to test the effects of potential drug treatments for COVID-19 patients.

There are currently no specific treatments for COVID-19 and The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial will provide doctors and the health service with information they need to determine which treatments should be used.

Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd Hospital and Wrexham Maelor Hospital are amongst 165 hospitals in the UK taking part in the trial, which is sponsored by Oxford University, and have so far recruited 26 patients.

Sarah Hodgson

Police pay respect to fallen key workers

The country fell silent for the minute’s silence in memory of those who have lost their lives. Here are officers in Wrexham paying their respects.

Sarah Hodgson

RAF fly-past for Captain Tom Moore

There will be an official RAF fly-past to mark NHS fundraiser Capt Tom Moore’s 100th birthday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

The Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar had originally planned an aerial salute over Capt Tom’s Bedfordshire home on Thursday using a Mark 9 Spitfire named The Spirit of Kent.

But Mr Shapps said the RAF would now be doing the honours and he blamed the media for spoiling what he said had been “meant to be a surprise for Tom”.

Sarah Hodgson

The five things that will determine when schools in Wales will re-open and how it will work

Schools in Wales will re-open in phases when coronavirus lockdown measures are lifted – but the Welsh Government has warned that it will be a challenge. At the moment schools are only open to vulnerable youngsters and children of key workers, with many local councils adopting a hub approach rather than opening all schools in their area. But today, the education minister Kirsty Williams will set out plans for when and how schools will re-open following the Covid-19 pandemic

Sarah Hodgson

McDonald’s gives update on when it could reopen its UK restaurants

McDonald’s has given an update about when it might reopen its doors. It comes after reports that the fast food chain could reopen in a limited capacity next month. Drive-thrus and deliveries are some of the options being considered

Sarah Hodgson

Elvis-inspired video shows amazing way mum and daughter are spreading cheer during lockdown

A talented mum-and-daughter duo have recorded a video version of a classic Elvis Presley song to comfort care home residents during the coronavirus lockdown. Nia Davies Williams recorded herself performing a close harmony duet of Can’t Help Falling In Love with her daughter, Hawys, 20. The video is now being distributed by Pendine Park to its eight care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon.

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