Priti Patel: Fighting coronavirus requires ‘extraordinary national effort’

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said fighting the coronavirus pandemic requires an ‘extraordinary national effort.’

Joined at the daily press briefing by Martin Hewitt from the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, Patel said she was ‘immensely grateful’ to everyone for heeding Government advice.

She also thanked police officers and staff who she said had been working ‘tirelessly’.

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But Patel said the ‘overwhelming majority’ of people are listening to the guidelines.

Coronavirus

She added that Prime Minister Boris Johnson ‘continue to make good progress’.

Patel confirmed that a further 917 people have died in hospital with coronavirus. A total of 9,875 have now died in the UK.

She said: “My thought, prayers and heartfelt condolences are with their friends, family and loved ones.”

Total crime has dropped in the country but fraudsters are ‘exploiting’ coronavirus, according to Patel.

She said losses to victims have already exceeded £1.8million.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline has received a 120 per cent increase in calls.

She said a national communications campaign is being launched to reach out to those at risk.

Martin Hewitt said policing continues and the pandemic is a ‘very challenging situation for everybody’.

He said officers will continue to be guided by principles of ‘fairness, proportionality and common sense’.

Across the last four weeks there has been a 21 per cent fall in overall crime compared to the same period last year, according to Hewitt, but he urged people to keep reporting crime.

Professor Stephen Powis said there has been a ‘levelling off’ of cases. He paid tribute to the ‘vast majority of the British public’ who were complying with government guidelines.

But he said the country is still seeing a high number of deaths. He said the number of deaths will be the ‘very final’ thing which will start to decrease.

Professor Powis added: “We’re confident if everyone complies and follows the instructions we have all been given that will begin to translate in the next few weeks to a reduction.”

He urged people to stay at home over Easter.

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