Save Big Today on This Editor-Approved Weighted Vest for Workouts

If there’s a shortcoming to building a workout routine around bodyweight training, it’s this: Over the long term, it can get challenging to make movements tougher. Sure, you can add pauses, pulses and iso-holds, and several unilateral moves can be absolutely vicious.

But bodyweight can take you only so far, especially if your goal is serious strength and muscle. Somehow, you need to overload your body, challenging it with more weight to see musce growth. And a weighted vest, like Hyperwear’s Elite Weighted Vest, can help.

This form-fitting vest can add up to 20 pounds of load to your bodyweight, and it’s the perfect way to up the intensity for a bodyweight strength workout. Moves like pushups, planks, squats, and lunges instantly get a bit more challenge, and more rigorous exercises like pullups and L-sits suddenly become nearly impossible. You’re now placing new and challenging stimulus on the body, potentially driving serious muscle growth.

When you use a weighted vest, you’re also adding load in a way that still permits athletic movement. You wouldn’t want to run or do box jumps with a 20-pound kettlebell, but a 20-pound weighted vest? Yes, you can work through entire CrossFit workouts in it, and do burpees in it. too. Hyperwear’s model gets bonus points, too, since it fits snugly against your body and won’t get jostled around, even during intense sprint sessions.

Best of all, the Hyper Vest Elite Weighted Vest is currently on sale for $44 off, knocking down the price from $219.99 to just $175.99.

Hyper Vest ELITE Weight Vest

hyperwear.com


BUY IT HERE

I use it mostly as a way to mix up cardio workouts, adding a little bit of load and challenge to, say, a treadmill sprint or a set of burpees. What makes the Hyperwear work for this is that it hugs the body, so even when I’m doing box jumps or muscle-ups, I never have to worry about it swinging all over the place and throwing off my momentum.

“The vest is fitted and the weight is dispersed evenly, unlike other bulky, front-loaded vests I’ve tried,” says Fitness Editor Brett Williams. “That makes it much more appealing to slip on for bodyweight work, or even if I just want to make my at-home compound lifts a little tougher.”

It’s a perfect way to add load to your training if you want to try something different from dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells. But act fast, because this great deal won’t last for long.

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New On Shudder In April 2020: Cursed Films And All The Friday The 13th Movies

If you’re looking for a bit of a scare and escape from your day-to-day activities, there’s no better place to go than Shudder, AMC’s horror-themed streaming service. This month, you can binge-watch the Friday the 13th series or check out the new docuseries Cursed Films. Here’s everything coming to Shudder in April.

On April 1, Shudder has almost all of the Jason Voorhees movies coming to the service. Every movie in the main Friday the 13th saga is coming your way. If you want to watch Jason on a boat, check out Jason Takes Manhattan. If you want to see Jason get his trademark mask, check out Part 3 of the series. If you want to see someone pretend to be Jason, check out A New Beginning. If you want to see Jason’s mother kill people, check out the original Friday the 13th movie. I only know this much about the series because I’ve written about it many times.

That’s not all you should check out. Beginning on April 2, you can check out Shudder’s new original series, Cursed Films. The docuseries dives deep into Hollywood myth and lore, uncovering curses placed on certain films. Spoiler alert, there are no curses. However, the series does fully document each myth and why it happened.

In order to celebrate it being halfway to the spookiest holiday of the year–Halloween–each week, Shudder will present Halfway to Halloween, which isn’t something to watch. You can call up the Shudder hotline and get recommendations for movies to watch for one hour a week. The streaming service did this last October as well. So if you’re spending all your time just trying to find something to watch, why no just ask an expert?

Below, you’ll find everything coming to Shudder for the month of April. For more streaming news, check out what’s coming in April for Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.

What’s new to Shudder in April

April 1

  • Friday the 13th
  • Friday the 13th Part 2
  • Friday the 13th Part III
  • Friday the 13th The Final Chapter
  • Friday the 13th A New Beginning
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
  • Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
  • Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini
  • To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story
  • The Exorcist (Director: William Friedkin)

April 2

  • Cursed Films: Episode 1 – The Exorcist

April 3

  • Halfway to Halloween Hotline (3 PM – 4 PM ET)

April 6

  • Haunters: The Art of the Scare (Director: Jon Schnitzer)

April 9

  • Cursed Films: Episode 2 – The Omen
  • Cursed Films: Episode 3 – Poltergeist

April 10

  • Halfway to Halloween Hotline (3 PM – 4 PM ET)

April 13

  • Absentia (Director: Mike Flanagan)
  • Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (Director: Phil Rubenstein)
  • We Are What We Are (Director: Jim Mickle)

April 16

  • Cursed Films: Episode 4 – The Crow
  • Cursed Films: Episode 5 – Twilight Zone: The Movie

April 17

  • Halfway to Halloween Hotline (3 PM – 4 PM ET)

April 20

  • Extremity (Director: Anthony DiBlasi)
  • Voice From The Stone (Director: Eric D. Howell)

April 23

  • 0.0Mhz

April 24

  • Halfway to Halloween Hotline (3 PM – 4 PM ET)
  • The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs (9 PM ET)

April 27

  • The Siren (Director: Perry Blackshear)
  • To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (Director: Derek Dennis Herbert)

April 30

  • Wolf Creek: Season 2

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Queen to address the UK on coronavirus crisis in special TV broadcast this Sunday – The Sun

THE Queen has recorded a special broadcast on the coronavirus outbreak to be broadcast on Sunday, Buckingham Palace said today.

Her Majesty will address the nation as the deadly bug continues to spread across the UK, already claiming more than 3,000 lives.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Expectation has been growing about when the head of state would make a public statement about the unprecedented events that have seen the country go into lockdown to combat the pandemic.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

"The televised address will be broadcast at 8pm on Sunday 5th April, 2020.

"The address was recorded at Windsor Castle."

The 93-year-old is currently staying in Windsor with husband Prince Philip.

She left for Windsor two weeks ago – one week earlier than planned as the government issued the strict lockdown laws.

Prince Philip, 98, flew from Sandringham to be with her, with the couple expected to remain there for quite some time.

But despite self-isolating, the Queen has remained busy with her royal duties.

She even continued with her weekly audience with the PM – speaking to him over the phone.

And the precaution appears to have been wise after Boris Johnson later confirmed he had contracted the deadly bug.

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Buckingham Palace has previously confirmed the Queen was in good health.

It is also understood she is following all the appropriate advice with regards to her welfare.

The announcement of a national address comes after Prince Charles again resumed his royal duties after contracting the virus.

The 71-year-old had to self-isolate in Scotland after testing positive.

But the future king today officially opened the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in London – appearing via videolink.

Speaking from his Scottish home of Birkhall, Prince Charles said his thoughts and prayers would be with the patients who needed treatment for the deadly bug.

He told the crowd, which stood apart according to social distancing rules: "It is without doubt a spectacular and almost unbelievable feat of work in every sense – from its speed of construction as we’ve heard to its size and the skills of those who have created it.

"An example, if ever one was needed of how the impossible can be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity."

 

 

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Teen Jenna From ’13 Going On 30′ Remade The Movie On TikTok — But With A Twist

She’s not 30, flirty, and thriving quite yet, but Christa B. Allen is already paying homage to her iconic rom-com role. On Thursday, the 28-year-old actor who played Young Jenna recreated her 13 Going on 30 scenes on TikTok. Allen memorably starred as the 13-year-old version of Jennifer Garner, who makes a wish to be 30 after her birthday goes wrong in the charming 2004 movie.

From her school picture drama ("It’s Jenna!") to the moment when Jenna wished herself to be "30, flirty, and thriving" instead of being 13 and embarrassed at her birthday party, Allen’s recreations are spot on They also come with a twist ending. In the movie, young Jenna’s wish ends up turning her into Garner, but things turn out a little differently in the TikTok video. Since Allen is at home like everyone else right now, she uses a filter to offer viewers a new vision of Jenna at 30.

As a whole, the video is the perfect dose of nostalgia — and it’s almost certainly going to make you want to rewatch the movie immediately. (The sweet rom-com which also stars Mark Ruffalo is streaming on Starz right now, if you can’t wait.) And hey, even if you don’t have time to rewatch 13 Going on 30 right now, Allen’s TikTok plays like a highlight reel of some of the movie’s best scenes (minus Jenna and Matty’s "Thriller" dance).

Allen has been doing lots more than just making TikTok recreations since starring in 13 Going on 30. The actor previously had starring roles on Revenge and Baby Daddy, and has two projects currently in the works, including the animated series Adults Only, per IMDb. She’s also a total doppelgänger for Garner, proving 13 Going on 30‘s casting director was an actual genius.

In a January 2019 interview with Today, Allen revealed that she still gets recognized for her role in 13 Going on 30, which she attributes to the enduring love for the movie that many fans have. "I think because it meant so much to so many people, and it was just such a beloved film, that people are all so excited to see a person that was part of that zeitgeisty moment in the flesh," she told the morning show.

The actor also noted that the line that gets quoted back to her the most is "30, flirty, and thriving" — that’s unlikely to change anytime soon now that she’s recreated the moment for TikTok. Allen doesn’t seem to mind though, in fact she’s planning on embracing the iconic line when she does turn 30. "People always quote back ’30 and flirty, and thriving,’" she said. "I can’t wait for that to be the theme of my 30th birthday."

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Heartwarming notes left on bins to thank binmen for collecting rubbish during coronavirus lockdown – The Sun

HEARTWARMING notes have been left on bins to thank dustmen and women for collecting their rubbish during the coronavirus lockdown.

Binmen across the county have previously spoken about their fear of being exposed to the deadly virus.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Almost every house in The Stewarts, a cul-de-sac in Bishop's Stortford, had a thank you message on their black bins during this week's collection.

Joe Connolly, who came up with the idea, told the Daily Mirror: "I often see the binmen working and they have to rush around to meet the very tight schedules they are given.

“They aren't paid a lot and do well for us at the best of times so I thought it was the least we could do on our lovely estate is to say 'thank you'.

"I understand they even stopped briefly to take photos on their phones of some of the messages which is very touching.

"The community is really coming together in such difficult times.

"There are lessons we can learn from all this and we’ll be the better for it."

Touching thank you notes have also appeared on bins across Birmingham.

One said: "Thank you for carrying on and doing this. We appreciate it. Take care and stay safe."

Another wrote: "Thank you to our binmen – you are appreciated."

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Birmingham city councillor John O'Shea said: "It's great that their effort to give their very best in such circumstances is being recognised by the people of Birmingham.

"The positive words are having a great effect on morale. I want to formally place my thanks and gratitude on behalf of the council alongside those kind comments from residents."

The heartwarming gesture comes as refuse collectors complained they have not been provided with basic protection, such as hand sanitiser and face masks.

Workers said they were also struggling to cope with the extra waste caused by moronic Brits panic buying food in bulk.

Councils across the country have scaled back household bin collections and many recycling centres have shut.

Stuart Richards, of the GMB union, said: "Our members working on the bins are key workers. The least they can expect is for their employers to take some responsibility and put adequate measures in place to keep them safe."

Bin collection bosses admitted they were struggling to get hold of sanitiser.

Richard Kirkman from Veolia, the UK's largest waste collection contractor, said they were doing "everything in our power to get more protective equipment".

He added: "Safety has ­always been, and particularly now, our number one priority."

Deaths from coronavirus in hospitals in the UK rose a record 563 to 2,352 yesterday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video posted on Twitter that it was a "sad, sad day" and his "thoughts go out to the families of the victims".

The PM, who is self-isolating after contracting the disease, is under increasing pressure over delays and missteps in ramping up testing.

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Police can use force on children suspected of flouting lockdown rules

Lockdown police are told they can use force on CHILDREN who go outside – and fine parents £60 for failing to stop them

  • Police will be able to use ‘reasonable force’ on children if they flout lockdown 
  • The College of Policing allows officers to remove children from the streets 
  • Officers also have power to fine parents £60 for stopping a child from going out 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Police will be able to use force on children if they flout the coronavirus lockdown.

Guidance from the College of Policing says ‘reasonable force’ can be used if a youngster is believed to be ‘outside of their premises without reasonable excuse’.

Officers also have the power to fine parents £60 for failing to stop a child from going out.

The guidance spells out that officers can remove a youngster from the streets and anyone with them if they refuse to go home. 

The briefing drawn up by the National Police Chiefs’ Council urges officers to make sensible decisions and use enforcement as a last resort.

It also says checks on every vehicle are ‘disproportionate’ and the public should not be punished for travelling a reasonable distance to exercise. 

Police patrol the streets near Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus

Forces including North Yorkshire and Devon and Cornwall have put road blocks into place or deployed high visibility patrols to quiz motorists about their plans.

Derbyshire Police also faced a backlash after using drones to film walkers who had driven to the Peak District. 

The guidance states: ‘Use your judgment and common sense – the police will apply the law in a system that is flexible, discretionary and pragmatic. 

‘If you believe anyone is outside of their premises without reasonable excuse, including a child, you can use reasonable force in the exercise of the power.’ 

Police community support officers patrolling Brighton seafront talk to a skateboarder

Police community support officers patrolling Brighton seafront talk to a member of the public

The guidelines advise officers to maintain a distance of at least 6ft from members of the public. 

Bill Skelly, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, said officers had to stop some motorists: ‘Caravans heading down the M5 – they are clearly not travelling for essential reasons.’ 

Yesterday the chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Katy Bourne, urged forces not to be ‘overzealous’. 

She said: ‘In order for these measures to be truly effective, the police will need to maintain public confidence.’

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How To Plague: Advice On Helping Friends With Coronavirus

The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

Hi, I’m Katie Notopoulos, a tech reporter here at BuzzFeed News, and I have no actual expertise in epidemiology, but I sure do enjoy telling people how to live their lives. Which means I’m the perfect person to tell you How to Plague. This is BuzzFeed News’ advice column for these incredibly confusing times. The coronavirus pandemic is changing rapidly, with new information coming out seemingly by the hour. I’ll try to help with your queries about social distancing etiquette and ethical dilemmas large and small, and call up some actual experts to weigh in when needed.

Send me your questions at [email protected], or sign up for our text messaging service below to send me questions that way.

My close friend has had sore throat, ongoing chest pain, and difficulty breathing for the past 3 days. She just went into the ER tonight for COVID-19. She is extremely healthy, fit, and in her early 30s. I’m hopeful she will recover, but I don’t know how to help as they aren’t allowing visitors. Any thoughts on how to help?
–Anonymous, Minnesota

Let’s assume there are two scenarios: 1) Your friend is seriously ill and is admitted to the hospital or 2) your friend is discharged quickly to recuperate at home.

In scenario one, there’s not much you can do for her directly while she’s in the hospital since you can’t visit her or bring things to the hospital for her. But if she has a partner or kids at home, you can definitely support them. There are two ways you can help support her family right now:

Offer to act as the press secretary. Ask her partner (or close relatives if she lives alone) if they’d like your help, obviously. It can be very stressful for her family to deal with a flood of texts and emails asking for updates on her health. Do a group text, email list, or even Facebook updates that will let her wider social circle know what’s going on or how they can help.

Offer to act as the conductor of a meal train. Instead of having eight people drop off lasagnas all on the same day, have people sign up to take a day and meal to drop off food and supplies. Leave instructions for how people can safely drop off food without bothering the family or exposing themselves. This website is helpful for organizing a meal train — you can include tasks like grocery shopping that they can’t do themselves right now.

In scenario two, she’ll get out quickly but will still need help around her home — and will be unable to go out shopping and probably pretty sick. Find out what items she wants and needs, whether it’s medicine or food or toiletries. Do the meal train with her friends so that she can rest and focus on recovery and not worry about cooking or shopping.

My son’s daycare is still open as they are hospital-owned. However, on Friday, they told us that they were only going to allow families who work in healthcare, police, fire, or military. They were doing this so that they could free up childcare for the hospital workers. My husband is on mission with the National Guard right now, but I have been working from home and taking my son to daycare. Our daycare director thinks we could still qualify for childcare because of my husband. I technically could keep my son home, but then I wouldn’t be able to do my job and I am worried I would lose my job. Do we give up our spot for a healthcare worker or keep it so that my family can stay in our home, feed ourselves, pay bills, etc. (I am the primary breadwinner).
–Anonymous

Per the daycare’s own rules, you qualify because your husband is in the military. If the daycare director says that it’s OK, it’s OK. He is serving to keep people safe, just like health care workers. The National Guard is being deployed in certain states and areas to help specifically with coronavirus aid, so he’s involved in the effort. I think you don’t need to feel guilty about keeping your kid’s spot in the daycare.

However, a question you might ask yourself is if you really want to have your kid in a daycare with health care workers’ kids, since that may put him at higher risk to exposure.

Should I plan to see my family for Easter? None of us have symptoms, and we’ll have all been quarantined from the rest of society for 7 days by next weekend. I have never not spent Easter with my family. We do not plan to go to church, just a brunch at home.
—Kaitlin

Unlike Jesus, your family members will not rise from their grave after three days if they catch COVID-19 from one of you and die. This year, skip it. Don’t worry, the Easter Bunny will still come on Zoom.

Is it safe to pick up clothes from the dry cleaners? I left my bedroom comforter at a dry cleaner right before all this started, and just got it back today because I’m pretty sure they could shut down at any time. It came in a tied plastic bag, which I took off and disposed of before I entered the house. Should I have somehow disinfected the fabric too, or is going through the dry cleaning process enough?
–Anonymous

Unfortunately, there isn’t a scientific answer for how long you should wait before touching dry-cleaned clothes, because there’s been no testing on this. Researchers have studied how long the coronavirus can live on metal and plastic (two to three days) and cardboard (up to one day), but there haven’t been firm studies on fabric. The CDC’s recommendation for doing laundry if someone in your home has COVID-19 is to do it on the warmest setting possible and wash your hands after.

In general, transmission is far more likely to happen person-to-person than person-to-comforter-to-person, so this probably isn’t going to be your biggest worry — going out to pick up the dry cleaning is potentially more risky than the laundry itself.

If you don’t need that comforter immediately (which it sounds like you don’t, since you left it languishing at the cleaners for a few weeks anyway), and it’ll put your mind at ease, give it two to three days before using it. A comforter should make you feel warm and reassured, not unsettled and panicked. ●

More How To Virus

  • How To Plague: How Can I Stop Feeling Angry At Everyone?Katie Notopoulos · March 28, 2020
  • How To Plague: Can I Share An Elevator With My Neighbor?Katie Notopoulos · March 26, 2020
  • How To Plague: Our Coronavirus Advice Column On Amazon Orders, Fake Nails, And Petting DogsKatie Notopoulos · March 21, 2020
  • Katie Notopoulos is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture and is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.

    Contact Katie Notopoulos at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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UK gave up on containing coronavirus too soon, leading expert claims

Britain gave up on containing the killer coronavirus outbreak TOO SOON and ‘went down the wrong path’ by not launching mass testing regime, claims leading scientist

  • Professor Devi Sridhar said UK Government had been following wrong advice 
  • Britain is still not mass testing and gave up on contact tracing as cases surged 
  • South Korea, by comparison, had stringent testing and tracing from the start 
  • Comes as record 381 coronavirus deaths and 3,009 cases recorded in UK today
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The UK gave up on containing the coronavirus outbreak ‘too soon’ because scientists assumed most people would become infected anyway, a leading expert has claimed.

Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at the Edinburgh University, said the assumption led officials to abandon measures that could help slow the pandemic.

Those measures include mass testing and stringent contact tracing – two actions which have helped South Korea keep COVID-19 fatalities below 200. 

Early on in the UK’s outbreak, the Government suggested one way of beating the virus was by allowing 80 per cent of Britons to get infected to build ‘herd immunity’. 

Professor Sridhar tweeted today that this kind of thinking ‘resulted in the UK giving up on containment too early.’

‘Planning and preparing for unprecedented testing and using big data/apps for tracing were taken off the table. In my view, we went down the wrong path,’ she said.

It comes as a record-breaking 381 coronavirus deaths and 3,009 cases were declared in the UK today, which is now officially Britain’s darkest day so far in the ever-worsening crisis. 

Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at the Edinburgh University, said the UK gave up ‘too soon’ on containing the coronavirus outbreak because scientists assumed most people would become infected anyway

Statistics released this morning revealed basic details about the first 108 people in Britain to have COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate. Elderly people and men were the worst affected, the data showed

By March 20, the coronavirus had become a contributing factor or direct cause in one in every 100 deaths in the UK, according to the latest date from the Office for National Statistics

Britain has been slow to test – less than 5,000 daily swabs were being carried out until March, compared to South Korea’s 15,000.

The UK also gave up on tracing infected patients’ close contacts as cases began to surge and had to impose a nationwide quarantine to stop the virus’ spread.

Whereas South Korea tracked down associates of infected patients and isolated them immediately, meaning it as not needed to enforce such draconian measures.  

In a separate series of tweets she added that the UK’s current lockdown was like ‘pressing pause’ on the virus’ spread and ‘playing catch up’.

‘South Korea never had lockdown, only 152 deaths, and didn’t expose health staff to unnecessary risk & pressure,’ she said.

‘Each day in lockdown: kids fall into poverty, domestic abuse increases, social fabric comes apart, major economic hit. Lockdowns are expensive. We need to use the time.

‘We will be stuck in lockdown until we get test, trace, isolation plan. We are basically pressing pause on the spread of virus while we race to catch up.

‘If we’re not using the time now, then we’re just wasting days/months in lockdown not aggressively figuring out where virus is.’ 

Michael Gove today said the UK must go ‘further, faster’ in ramping up its coronavirus testing efforts

CHEMICAL REAGENTS: NECESSARY FOR TESTING BUT IN HIGH GLOBAL DEMAND 

A global shortage of the chemicals needed to produce coronavirus tests has emerged as another setback in the UK’s plans to test more people.

Industry bosses say chemical reagents that are used in the test are in short supply around the world as countries have scrambled to test their citizens for COVID-19. 

Lab tests for the coronavirus work by regrowing a patient’s DNA in a lab and examining it to find traces of genetic material left behind by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

For this to work, technicians need a chemical called a reagent to trigger the chemical reaction which starts the process. 

There are various types of reagents which can be used in a COVID-19 test, supplied by different companies around the world, but they are in high demand everywhere. They are not unique to coronavirus and are the same reagents used in tests for illnesses such as flu.

The US has 10 different types of reagent listed in the priority list by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is not clear whether the UK is using reagents manufactured on home soil or importing them. 

Some NHS labs have now resorted to make their own in ‘home brew’ situations so they can test patients, The Times reported.

Officials are now scrambling to see if there are alternatives to their first choice, according to the newspaper, and are also trying to shore up supplies of swabs, which are vital for tests.

CEO of pharmaceutical company Roche, Severin Schwan, said ‘demand is outstripping supply’ for the reagents. ‘Widespread testing is simply not possible,’ he added.

While the Professional Association of Laboratory Medics in Germany said: ‘The materials required for testing – sample kits, materials for extracting samples, and reagents – are becoming scarce’.

The Australian Medical Association sounded the alarm there two weeks ago, when it said some parts of the government had failed to stockpile the right reagents, The Guardian reported.

It said global demand was ‘exceeding supply’ and that ‘there are particular concerns around supplies of swabs and DNA extraction kits’.

Michael Gove today admitted the government’s coronavirus testing operation must go ‘further, faster’ after Downing Street suggested a target of 25,000 daily checks may not be met until the end of next month.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office said the lack of availability of crucial chemicals which are needed in the testing process was a ‘critical constraint’ on the UK’s efforts.

He said Boris Johnson and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock were now working together to try to source the globally in-demand material that Britain needs.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Mr Gove said: ‘While the rate of testing is increasing we must go further, faster. A critical constraint on the ability to rapidly increase testing capacity is the availability of the chemical reagents which are necessary in the testing.

‘The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary are working with companies worldwide to ensure that we get the material we need to increase tests of all kinds.’

Critics today labelled the UK’s efforts a ‘catastrophe’ and ‘dismal’ when compared to what is being done in Germany where 500,000 tests are being carried out every week.

Downing Street had earlier hinted at Mr Johnsons’s apparent frustration at the slow progress on ramping up Britain’s capacity, with a spokesman saying he wants ‘as much progress to be made on this as possible’.

The UK is currently managing just under 10,000 tests a day with the government having previously said it wants to get to 25,000 by the middle of April.

But today Number 10 said the timetable was ‘mid to late April’ – seemingly an admission that efforts have stalled.

Politicians from different parties are now lining up to criticise the government’s approach while business chiefs are doing the same.

Jeremy Hunt, the Tory former health secretary, said mass testing in the community must be carried out by the government while Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the efforts so far were an ’embarrassment’.

Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne told MailOnline the government’s ‘dismal’ handling of the testing crisis will send vast numbers of British businesses to the wall – and delay the country’s economic recovery.

Experts have insisted ‘organisation’ rather than a shortage of facilities is to blame for the painfully slow rise in checks.

However, there are also suggestions that the UK is struggling to obtain enough of the tests themselves, with Germany seemingly able to acquire them from domestic manufacturers while Britain is having to import them.

A nurse takes a swab from an NHS worker at a testing facility in Chessington yesterday

Germany is set to start mass immunity testing within weeks 

Germany has also been leading the way on testing for individuals who have already been through the virus and emerged with immunity. Such checks could potentially allow people to be issued with certificates saying they are safe to go back to work – easing the lockdown crippling the economy.

The UK government has ordered 17.5million ‘antibody’ tests, but they have yet to go through clinical trials and it is not clear when they can start being used.

A study due to start in Germany in mid-April will see the blood of more than 100,000 volunteers tested for Covid-19 antibodies. 

The process will be repeated at regular intervals, with the sample scaling up to track the progress of the epidemic.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: ‘Germany appears to be leading the way in the testing and we have much to learn from their approach. 

‘I’ve repeatedly called for more testing and contact tracing in the UK, and we should be looking at initiatives like this closely.’ 

It came amid reports that NHS England and NHS Wales ended up bidding against each other for testing equipment at the end of last week, prompting the four Home Nations to agree that all procurement will be done in Whitehall.

Germany has been conducting 500,000 tests a week and is aiming to hit 200,000 tests a day in the near future.

Part of the difference between the UK and Germany is reportedly that the latter has more tests available domestically.

There are also claims that a shipment of testing kit parts from the European mainland has been found to be contaminated with the virus, in another potential delay.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admitted this morning that the government was struggling with the logistical challenge of increasing testing, saying it was not a ‘trivial or straightforward’ task.

‘This is never going to be enough,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. We always need to be pushing.’

Ministers boasted on Sunday that they had reached a target of 10,000 tests a day.

However, while the capacity has been reached, the government has yet to actually carry out that number. The latest figures from Public Health England were 8,278 in the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday, which was actually down from 9,114 the previous day.

The numbers have sparked widespread concerns about the UK approach to testing.

Mr Hunt, the chairman of the Health Select Committee, said it would be ‘very worrying’ if the UK chose not to follow the lead of the likes of Germany and South Korea.

He said mass testing allows for ‘a lot less’ disruption to daily lives because those who have the disease can be isolated and prevented from passing the virus on.

He said: ‘It is internationally proven as the most effective way of breaking the chain of transmission.

‘So however difficult it is to source the reagents, to ramp up the capacity of laboratories up and down the country, it is essential that mass community testing is part of our national strategy.’

Mr Farage told MailOnline: ‘Testing is a catastrophe. It’s an embarrassment. We do not appear to have done anything in six weeks to get ourselves in a better position on this.

‘If I was an NHS frontline worker waiting week after week after week for this I would be furious.’

He added: ‘70,000 tests a day in Germany, a million tests now conducted in America, and we in six weeks have managed to do as many tests as the Germans do in two days.

‘Everybody wants to believe in their leader during a crisis and everyone has given Boris the benefit of the doubt… I think public opinion is beginning to ask very serious questions.’

Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne told MailOnline that the government’s ‘dismal’ handling of the testing crisis will send vast numbers of British businesses to the wall – and delay the country’s economic recovery.

The gym mogul and former Dragons’ Den star said: ‘The Government must get on top of testing immediately. The longer we are in lockdown the more businesses will go bust.

‘My business hands over £39million to the Government every year in VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. As long as we are closed they get nothing.

‘Their handling of the testing issue has been dismal to say the least.’

UK waives duties so it can boost import of coronavirus testing kits, ventilators and other vital medical equipment as it faces furious backlash over lagging behind Germany which is testing 500,000 people every week

Britain will waive import taxes on coronavirus testing kits, ventilators and other vital medical supplies in a bid to boost the fight against the deadly disease amid widespread criticism of the government’s testing operation. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced this evening that NHS suppliers will no longer have to pay customs duty and import VAT on specified medical items coming from outside the EU.  

It came as Michael Gove admitted the government’s coronavirus testing efforts must go ‘further, faster’ as Downing Street suggested a target of 25,000 daily checks may not be met until the end of next month. 

The Minister for the Cabinet Office said the lack of availability of globally in-demand crucial chemicals which are needed in the testing process was proving a ‘critical constraint’ on expanding checks. 

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Mr Gove said: ‘While the rate of testing is increasing we must go further, faster. A critical constraint on the ability to rapidly increase testing capacity is the availability of the chemical reagents which are necessary in the testing.

‘The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary are working with companies worldwide to ensure that we get the material we need to increase tests of all kinds.’ 

Mr Gove also revealed the first wave of new ventilator devices will roll off the production line this weekend and be delivered to the NHS next week when they will be ‘rapidly distributed to the frontline’.

Meanwhile, the medical director of NHS England Professor Stephen Powis warned that while there are ‘green shoots’ of hope in relation to the spread of coronavirus after an apparent plateau in the number of new cases, the UK must not be ‘complacent’.    

‘It is really important not to read too much because it is really early days,’ he said. ‘We are not out of the woods, we are very much in the woods.’

Critics today labelled the UK’s efforts on testing a ‘catastrophe’ and ‘dismal’ when compared to what is being done in Germany where 500,000 tests are being carried out every week. 

Rishi Sunak today announced that he is waiving import duty on medical supplies like coronavirus testing kits 

Downing Street had earlier hinted at Mr Johnson’s apparent frustration at the slow progress on ramping up Britain’s capacity, with a spokesman saying he wanted ‘as much progress to be made on this as possible’. 

The UK is currently managing just under 10,000 tests a day with the government having previously said it wants to get to 25,000 by the middle of April.

But today Number 10 said the timetable was ‘mid to late April’ – seemingly an admission that efforts have stalled. 

Experts have insisted ‘organisation’ rather than a shortage of facilities is to blame for the painfully slow rise in checks.

However, the UK is struggling to obtain enough of the tests themselves, with Germany seemingly able to acquire them from domestic manufacturers while Britain is having to import them. 

The competition for the tests was illustrated today by reports NHS England and NHS Wales ended up bidding against each other for equipment at the end of last week, prompting the four Home Nations to agree that all procurement will be done in Whitehall.

It is hoped that the Chancellor’s decision to waive customs duty and import VAT on key medical supplies will make it easier to ship in the tests.

Mr Sunak said: ‘We are taking decisive action to ensure our NHS has everything it needs to fight this outbreak.

‘Waiving import taxes on vital medical equipment such as ventilators will speed up and increase the supply of critical items going to our frontline health workers.’  

However, the government will have to dramatically increase its efforts if it is to win over its critics who today slammed ministers for not doing enough. 

Jeremy Hunt, the Tory chairman of the Health Select Committee, said it would be ‘very worrying’ if the UK chose not to follow the lead of the likes of Germany and South Korea. 

He said mass testing allows for ‘a lot less’ disruption to daily lives because those who have the disease can be isolated and prevented from passing the virus on.  

He said: ‘It is internationally proven as the most effective way of breaking the chain of transmission.

‘So however difficult it is to source the reagents, to ramp up the capacity of laboratories up and down the country, it is essential that mass community testing is part of our national strategy.’

Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, labelled the UK’s testing efforts a ‘catastrophe’, telling MailOnline: ‘It’s an embarrassment. We do not appear to have done anything in six weeks to get ourselves in a better position on this.

‘If I was an NHS frontline worker waiting week after week after week for this I would be furious.’

He added: ‘70,000 tests a day in Germany, a million tests now conducted in America, and we in six weeks have managed to do as many tests as the Germans do in two days.

‘Everybody wants to believe in their leader during a crisis and everyone has given Boris the benefit of the doubt… I think public opinion is beginning to ask very serious questions.’

Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne told MailOnline that the government’s ‘dismal’ handling of the testing crisis will send vast numbers of British businesses to the wall – and delay the country’s economic recovery.

The gym mogul and former Dragons’ Den star said: ‘The government must get on top of testing immediately. The longer we are in lockdown the more businesses will go bust. 

‘My business hands over £39million to the Government every year in VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. As long as we are closed they get nothing.

‘Their handling of the testing issue has been dismal to say the least.’ 

Meanwhile, Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh’s Medical School, suggested the UK was struggling to ramp up testing because of the strategy it had earlier adopted to the outbreak. 

She tweeted that she feared the government had given up ‘on containment too early’ due an apparent belief that most people in the UK would eventually get the disease. 

That resulted in ‘planning and preparing for unprecedented testing’ being ‘taken off the table’ which Ms Sridhar said she believed was the ‘wrong path’.

Germany has been conducting 500,000 tests a week and is aiming to hit 200,000 tests a day in the near future. 

Part of the difference between the UK and Germany is reportedly that the latter has more tests available domestically. 

There are also claims that a shipment of testing kit parts from the European mainland has been found to be contaminated with the virus, in another potential delay. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admitted this morning that the government was struggling with the logistical challenge of increasing testing, saying it was not a ‘trivial or straightforward’ task.

‘This is never going to be enough,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘We always need to be pushing.’

Ministers boasted on Sunday that they had reached a target of 10,000 tests a day.  

However, while the capacity had been reached, the government is yet to actually carry out that number. The latest figures from Public Health England were 8,278 in the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday, which was actually down from 9,114 the previous day.

Professor Anthony Costello, an ex-director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) who is now based at University College London, this morning dismissed the idea that the UK does not have enough laboratory facilities to process tests. 

‘We need a policy of mass community testing as well as the blunt instrument of social distancing,’ he told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme. 

‘We need to do that because we want to arrow in on detecting cases and contact and quarantine. We need to have enough tests to protect our health workers… 

‘But most important when we want to loosen up the lockdown we want to have control over that. 

‘There will be much less disruption if we can do that rather than isolating the entire economy.’

He went on: ‘In answer to can we do it, we have 44 molecular virology labs in the UK. 

‘If they were doing 400 tests a day we would be up to Germany levels of testing and that is perfectly feasible.

Asked whether he was saying that the UK has the capacity but is just not organising it properly, Prof Costello said: ‘Yeah, correct. I don’t see why we cannot get these 44 molecular virology labs up and running, finding the cases and testing. 

‘PHE were slow and controlled, and they only allowed non-PHE labs to start testing two weeks ago. But that was after the strategy shift to stopping community tests.

‘We need to be like Korea…. their death rate is three per million and they have suppressed the virus.’ 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised countries like South Korea have for their wide-scale testing regimes, which have helped limit cases.  

However, the UK shelved efforts to test everyone with symptoms on March 12, when Britain’s response moved into a ‘delay’ phase.

Instead people who thought they had the illness were urged to self-isolate unless their conditions became so severe they needed medical help. 

Amid criticism, Mr Johnson then declared just under a fortnight ago that there would be a big expansion of tests from under 5,000 a day to 25,000. 

Routine testing is only just being offered to NHS staff, with 800 per day expected to get access to tests. There are fears that many will have been put at risk, amid complaints that they do not even have enough personal protection kit.  

A global shortage of the chemicals needed to produce coronavirus tests has emerged as another setback in the UK’s plans to test more people.

Industry bosses say chemical reagents that are used in the test are in short supply around the world as countries have scrambled to test their citizens for COVID-19. 

Lab tests for the coronavirus work by regrowing a patient’s DNA in a lab and examining it to find traces of genetic material left behind by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

For this to work, technicians need a chemical called a reagent to trigger the chemical reaction which starts the process. 

There are various types of reagents which can be used in a COVID-19 test, supplied by different companies around the world, but they are in high demand everywhere. They are not unique to coronavirus and are the same reagents used in tests for illnesses such as flu.

The US has 10 different types of reagent listed in the priority list by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is not clear whether the UK is using reagents manufactured on home soil or importing them. 

Some NHS labs have now resorted to make their own in ‘home brew’ situations so they can test patients, The Times reported.

Germany has also been leading the way on testing for individuals who have already been through the virus and emerged with immunity. Such checks could potentially allow people to be issued with certificates saying they are safe to go back to work – easing the lockdown crippling the economy.

The UK government has ordered 17.5million ‘antibody’ tests, but they have yet to go through clinical trials and it is not clear when they can start being used.

A study due to start in Germany in mid-April will see the blood of more than 100,000 volunteers tested for Covid-19 antibodies. 

The process will be repeated at regular intervals, with the sample scaling up to track the progress of the epidemic.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: ‘Germany appears to be leading the way in the testing and we have much to learn from their approach. 

‘I’ve repeatedly called for more testing and contact tracing in the UK, and we should be looking at initiatives like this closely.’  

The scale of the problem facing the UK was underlined today with figures suggesting the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak could be 24 per cent higher than NHS figures show.

Patients who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificates numbered 210 in England and Wales up to March 20, the Office for National Statistics revealed.

That was 24 per cent higher than the 170 deaths recorded by NHS England and Public Health Wales during the same time frame.

If the ratio has stayed true since that time, the true current number of fatalities could be around 1,739 instead of the official 1,408.

Michael Gove admits the UK must go ‘further, faster’ to increase its coronavirus testing operation after government admits it may not hit 25,000 a day target until end of next month

Michael Gove today admitted the government’s coronavirus testing operation must go ‘further, faster’ after Downing Street suggested a target of 25,000 daily checks may not be met until the end of next month. 

The Minister for the Cabinet Office said the lack of availability of crucial chemicals which are needed in the testing process was a ‘critical constraint’ on the UK’s efforts. 

He said Boris Johnson and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock were now working together to try to source the globally in-demand material that Britain needs. 

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Mr Gove said: ‘While the rate of testing is increasing we must go further, faster. A critical constraint on the ability to rapidly increase testing capacity is the availability of the chemical reagents which are necessary in the testing.

‘The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary are working with companies worldwide to ensure that we get the material we need to increase tests of all kinds.’ 

Critics today labelled the UK’s efforts a ‘catastrophe’ and ‘dismal’ when compared to what is being done in Germany where 500,000 tests are being carried out every week. 

Downing Street had earlier hinted at Mr Johnsons’s apparent frustration at the slow progress on ramping up Britain’s capacity, with a spokesman saying he wants ‘as much progress to be made on this as possible’. 

The UK is currently managing just under 10,000 tests a day with the government having previously said it wants to get to 25,000 by the middle of April.

But today Number 10 said the timetable was ‘mid to late April’ – seemingly an admission that efforts have stalled. 

Politicians from different parties are now lining up to criticise the government’s approach while business chiefs are doing the same. 

Jeremy Hunt, the Tory former health secretary, said mass testing in the community must be carried out by the government while Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the efforts so far were an ’embarrassment’.

Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne told MailOnline the government’s ‘dismal’ handling of the testing crisis will send vast numbers of British businesses to the wall – and delay the country’s economic recovery. 

Experts have insisted ‘organisation’ rather than a shortage of facilities is to blame for the painfully slow rise in checks.

However, there are also suggestions that the UK is struggling to obtain enough of the tests themselves, with Germany seemingly able to acquire them from domestic manufacturers while Britain is having to import them. 

It came amid reports that NHS England and NHS Wales ended up bidding against each other for testing equipment at the end of last week, prompting the four Home Nations to agree that all procurement will be done in Whitehall.

Michael Gove today said the UK must go ‘further, faster’ in ramping up its coronavirus testing efforts

A nurse takes a swab from an NHS worker at a testing facility in Chessington yesterday

Germany has been conducting 500,000 tests a week and is aiming to hit 200,000 tests a day in the near future. 

Part of the difference between the UK and Germany is reportedly that the latter has more tests available domestically. 

There are also claims that a shipment of testing kit parts from the European mainland has been found to be contaminated with the virus, in another potential delay. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admitted this morning that the government was struggling with the logistical challenge of increasing testing, saying it was not a ‘trivial or straightforward’ task.

‘This is never going to be enough,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. We always need to be pushing.’

Ministers boasted on Sunday that they had reached a target of 10,000 tests a day.  

However, while the capacity has been reached, the government has yet to actually carry out that number. The latest figures from Public Health England were 8,278 in the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday, which was actually down from 9,114 the previous day.  

The numbers have sparked widespread concerns about the UK approach to testing. 

Mr Hunt, the chairman of the Health Select Committee, said it would be ‘very worrying’ if the UK chose not to follow the lead of the likes of Germany and South Korea. 

He said mass testing allows for ‘a lot less’ disruption to daily lives because those who have the disease can be isolated and prevented from passing the virus on.  

He said: ‘It is internationally proven as the most effective way of breaking the chain of transmission.

‘So however difficult it is to source the reagents, to ramp up the capacity of laboratories up and down the country, it is essential that mass community testing is part of our national strategy.’

Mr Farage told MailOnline: ‘Testing is a catastrophe. It’s an embarrassment. We do not appear to have done anything in six weeks to get ourselves in a better position on this.

‘If I was an NHS frontline worker waiting week after week after week for this I would be furious.’

He added: ‘70,000 tests a day in Germany, a million tests now conducted in America, and we in six weeks have managed to do as many tests as the Germans do in two days.

‘Everybody wants to believe in their leader during a crisis and everyone has given Boris the benefit of the doubt… I think public opinion is beginning to ask very serious questions.’

Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne told MailOnline that the government’s ‘dismal’ handling of the testing crisis will send vast numbers of British businesses to the wall – and delay the country’s economic recovery.

The gym mogul and former Dragons’ Den star said: ‘The Government must get on top of testing immediately. The longer we are in lockdown the more businesses will go bust. 

‘My business hands over £39million to the Government every year in VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. As long as we are closed they get nothing.

‘Their handling of the testing issue has been dismal to say the least.’         

CHEMICAL REAGENTS: NECESSARY FOR TESTING BUT IN HIGH GLOBAL DEMAND 

A global shortage of the chemicals needed to produce coronavirus tests has emerged as another setback in the UK’s plans to test more people.

Industry bosses say chemical reagents that are used in the test are in short supply around the world as countries have scrambled to test their citizens for COVID-19. 

Lab tests for the coronavirus work by regrowing a patient’s DNA in a lab and examining it to find traces of genetic material left behind by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

For this to work, technicians need a chemical called a reagent to trigger the chemical reaction which starts the process. 

There are various types of reagents which can be used in a COVID-19 test, supplied by different companies around the world, but they are in high demand everywhere. They are not unique to coronavirus and are the same reagents used in tests for illnesses such as flu.

The US has 10 different types of reagent listed in the priority list by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is not clear whether the UK is using reagents manufactured on home soil or importing them. 

Some NHS labs have now resorted to make their own in ‘home brew’ situations so they can test patients, The Times reported.

Officials are now scrambling to see if there are alternatives to their first choice, according to the newspaper, and are also trying to shore up supplies of swabs, which are vital for tests.

CEO of pharmaceutical company Roche, Severin Schwan, said ‘demand is outstripping supply’ for the reagents. ‘Widespread testing is simply not possible,’ he added.

While the Professional Association of Laboratory Medics in Germany said: ‘The materials required for testing – sample kits, materials for extracting samples, and reagents – are becoming scarce’.

The Australian Medical Association sounded the alarm there two weeks ago, when it said some parts of the government had failed to stockpile the right reagents, The Guardian reported.

It said global demand was ‘exceeding supply’ and that ‘there are particular concerns around supplies of swabs and DNA extraction kits’.

Professor Anthony Costello, an ex-director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) who is now based at University College London, dismissed the idea that the UK does not have enough laboratory facilities to process the tests. 

‘We need a policy of mass community testing as well as the blunt instrument of social distancing,’ he told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme. 

‘We need to do that because we want to arrow in on detecting cases and contact and quarantine. We need to have enough tests to protect our health workers… 

‘But most important when we want to loosen up the lockdown we want to have control over that. 

‘There will be much less disruption if we can do that rather than isolating the entire economy.’

He went on: ‘In answer to can we do it, we have 44 molecular virology labs in the UK. 

‘If they were doing 400 tests a day we would be up to Germany levels of testing and that is perfectly feasible.

Asked whether he was saying that the UK has the capacity but is just not organising it properly, Prof Costello said: ‘Yeah, correct. I don’t see why we cannot get these 44 molecular virology labs up and running, finding the cases and testing. 

‘PHE were slow and controlled, and they only allowed non-PHE labs to start testing two weeks ago. But that was after the strategy shift to stopping community tests.

‘We need to be like Korea…. their death rate is three per million and they have suppressed the virus.’ 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised countries like South Korea have for their wide-scale testing regimes, which have helped limit cases.  

However, the UK shelved efforts to test everyone with symptoms on March 12, when Britain’s response moved into a ‘delay’ phase.

Instead people who thought they had the illness were urged to self-isolate unless their conditions became so severe they needed medical help. 

Amid criticism, Mr Johnson then declared just under a fortnight ago that there would be a big expansion of tests from under 5,000 a day to 25,000. 

Routine testing is only just being offered to NHS staff, with 800 per day expected to get access to tests. There are fears that many will have been put at risk, amid complaints that they do not even have enough personal protection kit.  

A global shortage of the chemicals needed to produce coronavirus tests has emerged as another setback in the UK’s plans to test more people.

Industry bosses say chemical reagents that are used in the test are in short supply around the world as countries have scrambled to test their citizens for COVID-19. 

Lab tests for the coronavirus work by regrowing a patient’s DNA in a lab and examining it to find traces of genetic material left behind by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

For this to work, technicians need a chemical called a reagent to trigger the chemical reaction which starts the process. 

There are various types of reagents which can be used in a COVID-19 test, supplied by different companies around the world, but they are in high demand everywhere. They are not unique to coronavirus and are the same reagents used in tests for illnesses such as flu.

Germany is set to start mass immunity testing within weeks 

Germany has also been leading the way on testing for individuals who have already been through the virus and emerged with immunity. Such checks could potentially allow people to be issued with certificates saying they are safe to go back to work – easing the lockdown crippling the economy.

The UK government has ordered 17.5million ‘antibody’ tests, but they have yet to go through clinical trials and it is not clear when they can start being used.

A study due to start in Germany in mid-April will see the blood of more than 100,000 volunteers tested for Covid-19 antibodies. 

The process will be repeated at regular intervals, with the sample scaling up to track the progress of the epidemic.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: ‘Germany appears to be leading the way in the testing and we have much to learn from their approach. 

‘I’ve repeatedly called for more testing and contact tracing in the UK, and we should be looking at initiatives like this closely.’ 

The US has 10 different types of reagent listed in the priority list by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is not clear whether the UK is using reagents manufactured on home soil or importing them. 

Some NHS labs have now resorted to make their own in ‘home brew’ situations so they can test patients, The Times reported.

Germany has also been leading the way on testing for individuals who have already been through the virus and emerged with immunity. Such checks could potentially allow people to be issued with certificates saying they are safe to go back to work – easing the lockdown crippling the economy.

The UK government has ordered 17.5million ‘antibody’ tests, but they have yet to go through clinical trials and it is not clear when they can start being used.

A study due to start in Germany in mid-April will see the blood of more than 100,000 volunteers tested for Covid-19 antibodies. 

The process will be repeated at regular intervals, with the sample scaling up to track the progress of the epidemic.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: ‘Germany appears to be leading the way in the testing and we have much to learn from their approach. 

‘I’ve repeatedly called for more testing and contact tracing in the UK, and we should be looking at initiatives like this closely.’  

The scale of the problem facing the UK was underlined today with figures suggesting the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak could be 24 per cent higher than NHS figures show.

Patients who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificates numbered 210 in England and Wales up to March 20, the Office for National Statistics revealed.

That was 24 per cent higher than the 170 deaths recorded by NHS England and Public Health Wales during the same time frame.

If the ratio has stayed true since that time, the true current number of fatalities could be around 1,739 instead of the official 1,408. 

Lord Hague today warned Mr Johnson he must show UK businesses a ‘way out’ of the coronavirus crisis by the end of April – or risk thousands of firms permanently closing their doors. 

Lord Hague said many businesses will choose to shut down if they are not given ‘hope’ in the form of a government plan for what will happen after the current state of lockdown ends.

The former foreign secretary said the government’s blueprint for recovery must include a ‘massive and compulsory’ testing programme so the UK is better able to withstand future outbreaks of the deadly disease.  

He said the ability to test and trace people in the way that South Korea has been doing will be key because it will give ministers the ability to contain the spread and allow businesses to stay open. 

The ex-Tory leader said a failure to pursue massive testing capacity would likely result in the UK facing an economic depression rather than just a recession. 

And he called for one minister to be put in charge of overseeing the development of the future action plan so they are not distracted by day-to-day events.

 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?

What is the coronavirus? 

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ 

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. 

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’  

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. 

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. 

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.

Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. 

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.   

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.   

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.

However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.

Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.

Can the virus be cured? 

The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. 

Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

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BTS perform on James Corden's The Late Late Show from home

https://youtube.com/watch?v=kVbRakHt9kE%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

BTS appeared from their home in South Korea for fans across the world on James Corden’s special quarantine edition of The Late Late Show on Monday night.

The episode, titled Home Fest, was shot from the comfort of the host’s garage and saw the band give a virtual performance of Boys With Luv from their shared rehearsal space – and it was definitely the pick-me-up we all needed.

Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook oozed loungewear chic as they grabbed their mics and raised the roof with their stunning vocals and choreographed number.

Sharing a message for audiences at home, RM said: ‘During a time when social distancing is crucial, we’re so grateful we can connect with  you from here.

‘It may seem like we’re isolated, but we’re still connected through our shared experiences, our courage and our laughter.’

BTS’ performance was a welcome sight for many fans across the globe, especially as BTS were forced to postpone tour dates in South Korea and North America due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As it stands, their Japan and Europe dates are still scheduled to take place.

Elsewhere during the special, James was joined by John Legend, Dua Lipa, Andrea Bocelli and Billie Eilish, who all also gave virtual concerts from their homes in isolation.

Speaking about how he’s coping amid the pandemic, James opened up: ‘I’ve found it tougher than I ever thought I would. I found myself having these incredible spikes of anxiety and sadness when I allowed myself to think about my family back home in England, or my friends, or the people I love.

‘You feel so out of control. It feels so out of our comprehension, all of it. I found I get sort of overwhelmed with the sadness, really.

‘It’s OK to feel anxious. The best thing we can all do is kind of breathe through that and put our minds in a positive place.’

The Late Late Show With James Corden airs on CBS in the US.

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The Plane Explosion On ‘Manifest’ Is The Most Mind Boggling One So Far

Spoilers ahead for Manifest Season 2, Episode 12. Ben has a new calling on Manifest of the plane exploding, and he can’t figure out what it means. He spent the majority of Michaela’s wedding episode trying to solve the explosion calling, and — just when he thought he cracked it — he turned out to be wrong.

Unlike many of the callings, which seem to preview something happening in the future, this calling appears to be more of a memory of the past. Ben witnessed the plane exploding in Season 1, and this calling is a snippet of that moment. Confused by its meaning, and the fact that no one close to him was also having this calling (not TJ, Michaela, Cal, or even Zeke), Ben returned to the airport where he first saw the plane explode in real life.

Soon, he was joined by another passenger who had been having the same calling. He was the flight’s safety inspector and believed he was being haunted by the image of the explosion because he’d done something wrong when he’d inspected the plane. Ben was able to help show him that the inspection team after the plane landed found nothing mechanically wrong. Whatever happened to the flight, it wasn’t the original inspector’s fault. Then, when leaving the man’s apartment, Ben then found his mom’s old bridal veil being sold at a thrift store, which in turn helped Michaela see that marrying Zeke was the right thing to do. These connections were enough to convince Ben that he’d solved the explosion calling. But he had it again at the end of the episode, which means he hasn’t discovered the true explanation yet.

In an interview with TV Line, Josh Dallas, who plays Ben, said that the callings in this episode "push us toward the end of the season, and they are significant." The finale airs next week on April 6, and while the synopsis says nothing about the explosion calling, it does hint at what’s to come.

All season long, creator Jeff Rake has been teasing that we’ll finally learn whether the death dates can be stopped by the finale. Perhaps the explosion calling has something to do with that. When the plane originally exploded, some theorized that it was showing the passengers how they were originally supposed to die — in a fiery plane crash. Now, their death date is still a few years off, but maybe the calling will help Ben figure out how to stop the death date and save Zeke before his final day runs out.

There’s also a theory posed by the Manifest828 blog that the plane’s explosion is a sort of reset, like how Michaela thought the lab explosion in Season 1 was a reset for the callings. They went 10 days without one after that event. If Ben can figure out the explosion calling, maybe it will take them back to when the plane originally exploded and buy them all some more time?

Since Ben and the flight inspector are so far the only passengers having this calling, it will be a little tougher for him to solve it. He usually relies on Michaela and TJ also having insight on the situation. But whatever the answer ends up being, Dallas hinted to TV Line that it has huge ramifications for the future of the show. "[The finale is] going to tie up a certain idea about these callings and how we use them; and I think it’s also going to ask more questions."

The first time this group had a calling about the plane, they were drawn to the airport just to watch it explode. Now that some of them are having a calling about it exploding, will they be drawn back to learn something new about why the plane exploded? At the time, Michaela believed that "as for whatever force brought us all here, it had no interest in being investigated" and that’s why it exploded. Maybe now that force is ready to reveal itself to Ben, at the very least. Whatever happens with the explosion calling next, Dallas promised that "the end of the season is jaw-dropping."

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