The government has pledged more than £40million to support the UK's leading scientists and manufacturers develop the world's first COVID-19 vaccine.


Speaking at today's Downing Street Press Conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said human trials would be starting this week, as work was accelerated, and he announced more than £40m in funding to support two projects for clinical trials.


"The upside of being the first country in the world to develop a successful vaccine is so huge that I am throwing everything at it," he said.


"In the long run, the best way to defeat the virus is a vaccine," he said. "The UK has been at the forefront of the global effort and spent more money than any other country on the global search for a vaccine and two leading advances are taking place here at home, at Oxford University and Imperial College.


"Both projects are making rapid progress and I have told the scientists we will do everything in our power to support them. At the same time, we are investing in manufacturing capability so if either of these vaccines work, we can make it available for British people as soon as humanly possible.


"The virus is a powerful enemy, but the power of human ingenuity is stronger."


New Coronavirus business support finder tool launched to signpost businesses to the right grants, loans and funds


A new 'support finder' tool launched today by the government will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.


The new online platform on gov.uk asks business owners and the self-employed to fill out a quick and simple online questionnaire. They will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for. You can find out more about the tool here.


Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Businesses of all shapes and sizes play a vital role in our economy, which is why we want to make it as easy as possible for all of them to access our wide-ranging package of financial support during this challenging time."


Industry steps up to UK Government PPE and ventilator challenge


Support from the UK's manufacturing industry is about to deliver a new stream of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for the NHS and other key workers.


Speaking at today's Downing Street Press Conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked the more than 8,000 companies who had come forward to offer support in manufacturing PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). And he said that the government had already identified 159 potential UK manufacturers who were starting to come onstream.


"I have said many times I am determined to get people the PPE that they need," he said.


"This is a 24/7 operation; the biggest cross-government operation I have ever seen and I am grateful to all my colleagues across the government for their tremendous hard work on this.


Meanwhile, more than 5,000 businesses have contacted the government offering support in the production of ventilators since Prime Minister issued the challenge on 16 March.


Today the government confirmed that having reviewed all offers of support specifically relating to ventilators against the MHRA specifications, it is now working with a number of organisations and consortia on the accelerated production and distribution of different types of ventilators.


Manufacturing of prototypes, both new designs and modified existing designs, is commencing. Once this is completed extensive testing to demonstrate they are safe, and meet clinical requirements, will follow.


In the short term, production and distribution of ventilators across the UK is expected to ramp up significantly. If you have any queries relating to the ventilator challenge, email ventilatorchallenge@cabinetoffice.gov.uk





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  • Letter from the Economic Secretary, John Glen, to front line staff working to provide essential banking services.
  • Letter from James Brokenshire and Lord Stephen Greenhalgh in response to the Fire Brigades Union on the government's actions to support fire services.
  • Letter from the Local Government Minister Simon Clarke to councils thanking them again for their efforts responding to the coronavirus pandemic and setting out further details of additional funding
  • Biometrics Commissioner statement on the use of symptom tracking applications, digital contact tracing applications and digital immunity certificates.




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