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Day 56: Key points from Prime Minister's speech

Posted on May 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today's usual coronavirus conference was replaced by a speech from the Prime Minister himself as he set out the next phase of the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. In his pre-recorded message, the PM laid out a roadmap for the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown and the beginning of a return to a semblance of normality for the public.

The UK death toll has now reached 31,855 - including deaths in hospitals, care homes and the community - which is a rise of 269 in the past 24 hours. The "stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives" slogan has been replaced with "stay alert, control the virus, save lives" in England

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

  • Boris Johnson begins his address by saying: "It is now almost two months since the people of this country began to put up with restrictions on their freedom - your freedom - of a kind that we have never seen before in peace or war.

  • "To chart our progress and to avoid going back to square one, we are establishing a new COVID Alert System run by a new Joint Biosecurity Centre," Boris Johnson says.

    "And that COVID Alert Level will be determined primarily by R and the number of coronavirus cases.

  • Boris Johnson says: "The higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be. "There will be five alert levels. "Level One means the disease is no longer present in the UK and Level Five is the most critical - the kind of situation we could have had if the NHS had been overwhelmed.

    "Over the period of the lockdown we have been in Level Four, and it is thanks to your sacrifice we are now in a position to begin to move in steps to Level Three."

  • "When I look at where we are tonight, we have the R below one, between 0.5 and 0.9 - but potentially only just below one," Boris Johnson says. "And though we have made progress in satisfying at least some of the conditions I have given. "We have by no means fulfilled all of them.

  • PM: Anyone who can't work from home 'actively encouraged' to return to work. "We said that you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must.

    "We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.

  • "From this Wednesday, we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise," Boris Johnson says.

  • In step two - at the earliest by June 1 - after half term - we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

  • "And step three - at the earliest by July - and subject to all these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing."

  • "Throughout this period of the next two months we will be driven not by mere hope or economic necessity," Boris Johnson says. "We are going to be driven by the science, the data and public health. "And I must stress again that all of this is conditional, it all depends on a series of big Ifs.

  • "To prevent reinfection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time - with transmission significantly lower - to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air," Boris Johnson says.

    See the full speech here

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