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Day 55: Key points from today's conference

Posted on May 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today’s daily coronavirus conference was by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, joined by deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam. The transport secretary said 1.7m coronavirus tests have been carried out in the UK. 3,896 more people have tested positive for coronavirus since yesterday. 346 more people have died in all situations since yesterday, he said.

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

  • Mr Shapps said public transport cannot go back to where it was before due to social distancing. With a full service, with the 2m rule, there would only be capacity for one in 10 passengers in parts of the network, he said.

  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said 96,878 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 9am on Saturday, down from 97,029 the day before.

  • He said a £2bn package will be made available now to put cycling and walking at the heart of of the lockdown easing measures. £250m will make cycling and walking safer - cycle lanes and wider pavements.

  • Mr Shapps said more than 20,000 extra deaths are attributed to bad air each year. He said an e-scooter scheme will be brought forward to next month from next year so people can rent them.

  • Mr Van Tam said there are several thousand new cases each day. He said this is difficult to interpret because compared to the beginning, we have so much more testing so there will obviously be more cases.

  • He says he is confident R - the number of people who are infected by one COVID-19 patient - is less than one, but adds: "We will have to be very cautious, careful and measured about what happens next."

  • The UK is on a par with France, Spain and Italy when it comes to deaths, and the US is an outlier as it has many many more. He said the data cannot be that accurate until we get excess mortality data from all the countries.

  • On the aviation industry, Mr Shapps said the government has said if furloughing and grants do not work for individual companies then they can get bespoke solutions for them.

  • Mr Shapps said outside London almost half of commuter journeys are less than three miles so cycling and walking are completely feasible.

  • Mr Shapps says it is hard to give blanket advice on whether people should cancel their summer holidays, as different countries have different policies, and different situations.

  • Prof Van Tam said care homes are extremely difficult because they are primarily indoor environments and COVID-19 spreads more quickly indoors. People are elderly in care homes and he said it is now very very clear the severity of the disease increases with each decade in age.


  • He said lots of them will have underlying conditions as well, so there is a perfect storm of age, underlying illnesses and an indoor environment.

  • Shapps says the four nations have "largely moved in lockstep" but the prime minister will saying more on the next phase of the pandemic response tomorrow.

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