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Day 32: Key points from today's conference

Posted on April 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab continued to step in for Boris Johnson as the prime minister recovers from the coronavirus and led todays briefing alongside Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser.

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

  • Raab: Any change to social distancing measures would threaten a second peak in the spread of the virus.

  • Raab: The advice is that relaxing any of the measures in place would risk public health and damage the economy. The current measures must remain in place for the next three weeks.

  • On other countries beginning to relax their restrictions, Raab says: "We've got to do what's best for the British people based on our experts."

  • On the lockdown, Raab says "we know it's rough going", but he says "we must keep up this national effort for a while longer". He adds that the UK is at a "delicate stage" in its fight against COVID-19.

  • Dominic Raab says he wants to be "up front with British people" about when the government can relax measures.

  • He lists five points that will influence the government's decision: 

    • Making sure the NHS can cope

    • Evidence showing a sustained and consistent fall in daily death rates

    • Reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels

    • Being confident in the range of operational challenges, like ensuring testing and the right amount of PPE, are in hand

    • Being confident any adjustments will not risk a second peak

  • ​Dominic Raab says there have been indications that social distancing measures in place are showing success. However government advisers say the evidence is "mixed and inconsistent"

  • ​Raab: "irresponsible" to give a definitive timeframe and could "prejudice the evidence" being collected by scientific advisers.

  • Questions raised on the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on people from BAME communities. Dominic Raab says "absolutely we're on the side of everyone, the virus doesn't discriminate" and the government will examine what the data says.

The overall amount of cases in the UK has now risen to 103,093 with that being 4,617 new cases since yesterday. Total number of deaths is now at 13,729.

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