The UK government on Tuesday confirmed the launch of a new trial for selected coronavirus patients of remdesivir, a drug which is believed to shorten the recovery time from COVID-19. “This is probably the biggest step forward since the coronavirus crisis began,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced at the daily Downing Street briefing.
“Until a treatment or vaccine comes good there is no simple way to treat the virus, and we must continue to stay alert,” he said.
Updating the latest figures, the Cabinet minister revealed the UK’s death toll from the deadly virus is now 37,048 – a rise of 134 over the previous day.
He also revealed that for the first time since March 18 there had been no deaths recorded from coronavirus in the region of Northern Ireland.
However, as in the previous daily briefings since the weekend, the media questions centred around UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide and his nearly 420-km drive which has been seen as a breach of the coronavirus lockdown.
Nearly 40 of Johnson’s own Conservative Party MPs are now demanding Dominic Cummings either resign or be sacked after junior minister for Scotland Douglas Ross resigned from the government over the issue earlier on Tuesday.
“I regret the anger that people feel. It’s incredibly important that as a country we focus on what we need to do now,” said Hancock, in an attempt to move on from the controversy.
"What Mr Cummings did was within the guidelines, I can understand why reasonable people would take a different view,” he said.
Cummings addressed his own lengthy press conference on Monday evening to say he had driven from London to Durham on March 31 to ensure his four-year-old son had childcare in case he and his wife became very ill with coronavirus.
However, the furore over the issue has refused to die down, with a public poll suggesting that over 70 per cent of people believe Cummings broke the stay-at-home rules.