UK coronavirus live: minister admits more testing capacity needed for care homes

Health minister Edward Argar concedes government still needs to ‘make available’ Covid-19 testing capacity so all care home residents

Transport for London says there were 10% more Tube journeys made between 5am and 6am this morning than the same period last week, although demand has fallen compared with yesterday, PA Media reports.

And data published by location technology firm TomTom shows that the level of road congestion in London at 8am on Thursday was 19%, up from 16% a week earlier. Other cities to experience an increase in traffic over the same period include Belfast (from 12% to 15%), Birmingham (from 9% to 11%), Cardiff (from 8% to 11%), Edinburgh (from 12% to 15%) and Manchester (from 10% to 13%).

The UK’s biggest mobile operator O2 is partnering with environmental charity Hubbub to encourage people to donate old or unused smartphones to help elderly and vulnerable “digitally disconnected” members of the community.

The trial of so-called ‘Community Calling’ will involve hundreds of handsets being distributed to residents of Southwark in London, which has been badly affected by the pandemic. An estimated 1.9m UK households are deemed ‘digitally excluded’ with no internet access. In the UK, an average of four phones sit unused for every phone in use.

Community Calling offers a simple way to get unused smartphones to people who need them most during the current pandemic, allowing them to access essential services, to educate their kids or to stay in touch with loved ones. Plus it has the bonus environmental benefit of avoiding electrical waste going to landfill or incineration. We’re trialling the approach with O2 in Southwark and if successful, we’ll look to replicate it elsewhere in the UK.

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