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Day 17: Key points from today's conference

Posted on March 2020 By Jamie Southwell

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Presenting tonight's daily press conference was Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who was joined by Prof Yvonne Doyle the Medical Director at Public Health England.

Sharma started off tonight by saying a boy as young as 13 has unfortunately passed away within the last 24-hours, showcasing that the virus truly does not discriminate. All of our thoughts and prayers are with those who have died so far and their families affected.

Key points to take away from today's speech are:

  • The Business Sectary took a moment to thank the whole country, from the front line workers treating COVID-19 patients, to INEOS for building a new hand sanitizer plant within just 10 days.

  • Local authorities received £12 billion for them to distribute among struggling local businesses, in the form of a grant.

  • We're beginning to see a 'concerning' increase in motor vehicle traffic says the Public Health England's Medical Director. She adds that the message here is clear, people should be staying at home, illustrated below in blue is the usage of motor vehicles, compared against public transport.

  • 10,000 tests are currently being performed per day, but Prof Yvonne Doyle is confident the government will be able to push this to 25,000 daily instead. Doyle also reiterated a point from the Chief Medical Officer that "Something worse than no test, is a wrong test".

  • The testing numbers for frontline NHS workers is "relatively small", however there is the capacity for up to 3,000 tests a day, and this will increase when new drive-in centres open.

The overall amount of cases in the UK has now risen to 29,474, with that being 4,324 new cases since yesterday. Total number of deaths is now at 2,352.

To read a brief summary of last night's points and important measuresclick here.

Here's the full conference, courtesy of BBC: