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Day 46: Key points from today's conference

Posted on April 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Boris Johnson having chaired a cabinet meeting, led today's daily coronavirus briefing for the first time since his return to work. It comes on a day that Boris Johnson told Britons the coronavirus lockdown must "keep going" despite pressure from some businesses to ease it. Today the Prime Minister was joined by England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, and the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

There have been a further 674 recorded deaths from the coronavirus, Mr Johnson has said with these figures include those outside of hospital settings. The total number of deaths is now 26,711. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says 81,611 people were tested for coronavirus yesterday, an increase of almost 30,000 on the day before. This takes the government 80% of the way to meeting its goal of doing 100,000 daily coronavirus tests by today, the last day of April.

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

  • ​Mr Johnson has thanked the NHS for "getting me back here" after he was treated in intensive care for the coronavirus.

  • The prime minster said hospital admissions are falling along with the number of people in intensive care.

  • Mr Johnson said "we are past the peak of this disease" and we are "on the downward slope".

  • The "R" rate is based on the average number of people each infected person transmits coronavirus to. 

    Mr Vallance said the current rate is thought to be between 0.6 and 0.9.

  • Mr Vallance has said the total number of coronavirus cases in the UK is on the way down.

  • Mr Vallance finished by saying the "message is the R rate is down", "the number of cases is down", and this is leading to a decrease in the number of hospital admissions and deaths.

  • Mr Johnson replies by saying the fact pressure has been taken off the NHS means it can now focus on other areas of urgent care such as mental health treatment.

    Mr Whitty said there are contact details available on the NHS website as well as charity organisations that can help.

  • Mr Johnson has said a second spike could cause "lasting economic damage" and so the government will need to "unlock the economy gradually".

  • Professor Whitty has said once the "R" rate of infection goes above number one you restart exponential growth... and sooner or later the NHS will be at risk of being overwhelmed and the number of cases will increase.

  • Mr Johnson has said he thinks the economy will "bounce back strongly" and the government will want to help the economy to do so.

  • Mr Johnson has said people will still "get the treatment they need" when it comes to "urgent cancer care" during the pandemic.

  • Professor Whitty has said "we are nowhere near the end of this epidemic" despite having passed the peak.

  • The prime minister said face masks will be useful for "giving people confidence" when it comes to going to back to work. He added there will be more on that next week. 

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