Coronavirus live blog as it happened: Star Wars actor and healthy 19-year-old among latest victims of coronavirus

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 8:02 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 6:13 pm

Scroll down and read our coronavirus live blog as it happens.

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A woman crosses London Bridge during what would usually be the busy pre-9am rush-hour (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
(Image: WHO)

We will be providing live updates until 7pm this evening.

Coronavirus live blog, March 31

Last updated: Tuesday, 31 March, 2020, 17:07

Italy death toll rises by 837

The number of people in Italy who have died with coronavirus has risen by 837 in the past 24 hours.

Dr Stephen Powis: 'we must not take our foot off the pedal'

As Sir Patrick Vallance did yesterday,  Dr Stephen Powis is explaining that the use of public transport has been dramatic and that members of the public appear to be adhering to social distancing measures. 

He adds that the number of infections is "plateauing" as a results, but calls for caution claiming it is still early days. 

These are "green shoots, but only green shoots" and we "must not take our foot off the pedal according to Dr. Powis. 

He says that in the next few weeks "our hope is that the number of hospitalisations will also start to reduce."

"If we reduce the number of infections, we will reduce the number of hospitalisations and we will reduce the number of deaths," he adds.

Rapid clinical testing on anti-malarials

10,767 people have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19 according to Gove. 

He says more NHS staff are returning to the frontline and the rate of testing is increasing, but admits that "we must go further faster". 

He adds that the availability of tests globally is impacting the increasing of tests. 

There are currently 8,000 ventialtors at UK hospitals but more are being purchased "including from EU nations".

This weekend the "first thousands" of ventilators will be produced and delivered to the NHS.

Rapid clinical trials on anti-malarials being carried outwhich may be able to alleviate symptoms of Covid-19. 

Daily press briefing underway

Michael Gove is speaking now. 

He is joined by Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries NHS England national medical director Dr Stephen Powis.

D-Day veteran, 97, dies after testing positive

Tributes have been paid to a D-Day veteran who died after testing positive for coronavirus while being treated in hospital.

Harold Pearsall, aged 97 and from Tamworth in Staffordshire, died at Sutton Coldfield's Good Hope Hospital on Sunday, the 1944 Alliance Normandy-Market Garden veterans association said.

The Royal Artillery veteran, who received the Legion D'Honneur in December 2015, landed alongside Canadian forces during the Normandy campaign.

Star Wars actor dies

Star Wars actor and film dialect coach Andrew Jack has died aged 76 as a result of coronavirus, according to his agent.

Jill McCullough said in a statement: "He died this morning of Covid-19 at St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey.

"Andrew lived on one the oldest working houseboats on the Thames, he was fiercely independent but madly in love with his wife; also a dialect coach: Gabrielle Rogers.

"Tragically she is stuck in quarantine in Australia having just flown in from NZ last week. She was unable to see or talk to him at the end of his life and there is a chance a funeral may not be held.

"Andrew was full of life - he was tall and striking with flowing white hair. You wouldn't miss him if he walked into a room. He was still working full-pelt, currently coaching on the new Batman.

"I'm receiving so many messages saying how much he will be missed. Our community has lost one of it's brightest and clearest voices."

Daily press briefing in 10

Michale Gove will be joined by Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries NHS England national medical director Dr Stephen Powis

Michael Gove to chair press briefing

Michael Gove will chair today's daily press briefing at 5pm in place of the Prime Minister who is still self-isolating.

UK death toll rises to 1,789

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