BORIS Johnson has promised to deliver a "comprehensive plan" next week to set out "how we can get our economy moving", how people might travel to work and how children can go back to school or into childcare.

Fronting his first Downing Street press conference since recovering from Covid-19, the Prime Minister thanked the NHS for his care, adding that the country was now "past the peak of this disease" and "on the downward slope".

  • Almost 1,200 people across the North-East and North Yorkshire have died in hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus.Latest figures published on Thursday afternoon confirmed that a further 24 coronavirus patients had died in our region - the death toll stands at 1,187. It comes as NHS England said a further 391 people across England had now died after catching the virus.
  • Patients at Darlington Memorial Hospital now have access to iPads to speak with loved ones as over 70 are bought using money from NHS Charities, which Captain Tom Moore raised £30 million for ahead of his 100th birthday on Thursday, and even more devices have been donated privately. He has been given an honorary colonel title.
  • Members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are being urged not to travel through County Durham during the lockdown period.Wit h the annual gathering at Appleby Horse Fair cancelled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, Durham County Council has said it will not provide the ten temporary stopover areas it usually provides in May and June.
  • Suspected coronavirus cases are being tested at a health trust within hours after a team of scientists set up a new system in record time. The programme at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust means tests for suspected Covid-19 can be completed and results shown within just six hours once in the laboratory.
  • A Teesside hotes is re-opening its doors to support those performing vital roles amidst the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Holiday Inn Express Middlesbrough - Centre Square, on Albert Road - will provide much-needed accommodation for power station contractors living away from their families during lockdown.
  • Two-thirds of UK businesses have applied for Government help paying wage bills for furloughed staff, but less than a fifth have received support so far, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme was the most popular support programme, with 66% of firms surveyed having applied. The data revealed that 19% of firms that have applied have received help since it went live on April 20.
  • B&Q has reopened all its stores across the UK following the coronavirus shutdown. The DIY retailer has gradually reopened its 288 UK stores over the past two weeks, with its last remaining sites opening their doors to the public on Thursday. Customers have flocked to its stores, resulting in long queues of shoppers after social distancing measures were put in place.
  • Home-testing kits will be used to track the spread of coronavirus within the community as part of an “ambitious” new programme, the Government has said. The Department of Health is planning on sending swab tests to 100,000 randomly-selected people across England to see if they currently have Covid-19. Scientists are also assessing antibody tests with the intention of them eventually being used at home in a second phase of the study named the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (React).
  • Sainsbury’s warned of a coronavirus hit of more than £500 million to the current year’s profits as it said social distancing measures together with falls in clothing and fuel sales would offset surging grocery trade. The retail giant said the impact of Covid-19 is expected to leave underlying pre-tax profits broadly flat for the year to March 2021, despite £450 million in business rates relief.
  • Sir John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said he hoped some results of a human trial of a coronavirus vaccine would be available by the middle of June. He said "several hundred" people have been vaccinated and the challenge now is to be able to manufacture at scale once it is approved by the regulators.