THE Health Secretary has heralded the trial of a new drug as potentially 'the biggest step forward in treatment since the coronavirus crisis began'.

During today's (Tuesday, May 26) daily briefing from Downing Street, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new drug being trialled for selected NHS patients - called Remdesvir - had 'promising results' in shortening the recovery time from coronavirus by around four days.

Mr Hancock also highlighted that the UK was making significant progress in controlling the virus but urged everyone to stay resilient.

He said that for the first time since March 18, there had been no new recorded deaths in Northern Island, and said the UK had its lowest number of deaths from Covid-19 for six weeks.

However he said 134 people had died from the virus yesterday, and that there were currently more than 8,000 people still in UK hospitals being treated for coronavirus, including 98 NHS colleagues 'some of whom are seriously ill'.

"This is why we cannot let up on this," Mr Hancock said.

"We must keep our resolve."

Giving an update on PPE manufacture and distribution, Mr Hancock said domestic production had been ramped up so that two billion pieces of PPE are ready to be made here in the UK.

The Health Secretary added that with deals agreed to import further PPE, the UK was not just meeting demand, but beginning to replenish stocks.

Mr Hancock told the Downing Street briefing he believes that Mr Cummings acted within the guidelines set out by the Government.

He said: "My view is that what he did was within the guidelines.

"I can understand why reasonable people can take a different view, but my judgment, which is the same as the Prime Minister's judgment, is that what Mr Cummings did was within the guidelines.

"After all, the guidelines allow for exceptional circumstances, particularly with regards to childcare and we've stated before that if you're unable to look after a small child, that is an exceptional circumstance."