Government Pays Tribute To Captain Tom Moore's 'Astonishing' Fundraising
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The government has paid tribute to Captain Tom Moore in today's coronavirus press briefing, celebrating the 'astonishing' efforts and announcing he would be the guest of honour at the opening of the new Nightingale hospital next week.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick said: "We've all been humbled by the gestures large and small from people across the country to show support for those working so hard to protect the NHS and to save lives, none more so than Captain Tom Moore, who has raised an astonishing £23m this week for NHS charities.
"I can't think of a more worthy person to be guest of honour at the opening of the new Nightingale hopsital in Harrogate next week, also fittingly the county of his birth."
In his speech, Jenrick also promised that parks would remain open, but stressed that people must still 'abide by social distancing rules' to make green spaces safe for everyone.
He said: "There have been examples of some parks around the country closing.
"This cannot be right. While the virus does not discriminate, we know that the lockdown is much harder for people who don't have a lot of living space, for people who don't have a garden, and for those who don't have anywhere for their children to run around.
"People need parks. That's why I've made it clear to councils that all parks must remain open. For the health of the nation people should be able to enjoy, safely, fresh air and green space - and for the health of the nation, people must abide by social distancing rules and not congregate in groups in those parks."
Jenrick also announced there would be £1.6 billion ($2bn) of new funding to support local councils, saying every part of the government is 'working together' in this national effort, and that nowhere was this clearer than 'on the front lines of our communities'.
He said: "Today I am providing an additional £1.6bn of new funding to support councils, with the pressures that they face as they respond to Covid-19. This funding takes the total amount given to councils to help them through the pandemic to over £3.2bn.
"We are backing councils to ensure vital services, such as adult social care, children's services, support for the most vulnerable and waste collection continue despite the increased pressures.
"We're also helping councils with the inevitable cashflow challenges by deferring £2.6bn in business rates - payments to central government - and paying them £850m in social care grants up front this month."
As of 9am 18 April, 460,437 tests have concluded, with 21,389 tests on 17 April.
357,023 people have been tested of which 114,217 tested positive.
As of 5pm on 17 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 15,464 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/yZmas1wSvS
- Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) April 18, 2020
As of 5pm on 17 April, 15,464 people have sadly died - an increase of 888.
As of 9am today, 114,217 people have also tested positive for the virus.