BREAKING:

405,000 volunteers have come forward in just 24 hours – to support staff on the front line working in the health sector during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson says “that figure (405,000) is the population of Coventry” and thanked them – you can sign up online here.

At his daily news conference, the Prime Minister also praised the efforts of the NHS, which he said has “limited” numbers of staff and equipment, then reiterated the advise to stay at home.

It follows the Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s announcement from the Cheif Executive – first reported in an exclusive interview with Isle of Wight Radio – that there are now eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Island.

Maggie Oldham praised the efforts of staff at St Mary’s Hospital but warned that “a surge in very unwell people is imminently coming” and urged us to follow the Government guidelines.

21-year-old Chloe Middleton from Buckinghamshire is reportedly the youngest person with no underlying health conditions – to die after contracting the deadly virus.

This morning Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus. According to Clarence House the 71-year-old is self-isolating in Scotland with the Duchess of Cornwall, who has not contracted COVID-19.


In Parliament…

Boris Johnson has been battling it out in Prime Minister’s Questions against the outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in what was his last PMQs as leader of the opposition. 

After coming under fire about construction workers still going to work and a lack of testing kits being rolled out- the Prime Minister promised further details to support the self-employed. These are expected to be announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak tomorrow (Thursday).

The Coronavirus Bill has also been passed by MPs this afternoon – a clause put forward by the MP for the Isle of Wight, Bob Seely, has been given the nod by ministers, which will relax competition law – allowing the Island’s ferry firms to have ‘resilience planning talks’. 

The unprecedented move will allow essential goods to be transported here and enable patients to continue to undergo treatment on the mainland.

Parliament has ended for an early Easter recess now, with it not expected to sit before April 21.

As previously reported by Isle of Wight Radio, yesterday (Tuesday), the Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for 250,000 volunteers to offer to support NHS workers. 405,000 have signed up overnight.

Mr Hancock also outlined plans for the ExCel Centre in London to be transformed into a hospital and said final year medics and nurses will start work imminently.


On the Isle of Wight…

Today on the Isle of Wight, key workers are being offered a free vehicle recovery service – if you are not a member of breakdown firm already.

It comes as drivers have been granted a six-month extension for their MOT.

The Isle of Wight Council has also done a u-turn on regulations for the floating bridge – it WILL allow passengers on board but key workers will be prioritised.

Meanwhile, if you are vulnerable and need support you can contact the Isle of Wight Council on its (01983) 823600 helpline.

Alternatively, you can also seek help and advice from Mountbatten.

Read the latest COVID-19 news and advice for the Isle of Wight here.

More follows…