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Day 57: Key points from today's conference

Posted on May 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today’s daily coronavirus conference was by the PM himself Boris Johnson, amidst various statements made in recent days including a statement made to the nation last night regarding eases to the nationwide lockdowns. Today the Prime Minister was joined by England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and the UK government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance as he provides more clarity and answered questions regarding the changes.

After introducing two questions submitted by members of the public for those fronting the briefing to answer, Downing Street is today upping that number to eight. Journalists are expected to get four in total.

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

  • Mr Johnson begins by setting out the latest statistics. He says 32,065 people have now died with the virus in all settings - an increase of 210 in 24 hours. There were a further 100,409 tests yesterday, he explains, adding that 3,877 more people have tested positive for the virus since yesterday.

  • A graph shows what the Prime Minister outlined last night - the dates when he hopes social distancing rules might be eased to allow schools and some businesses to reopen.

  • Referring to the government's new scale for measuring the COVID-19 risk in the UK, Mr Johnson says the country is "now in a position to begin moving to level three in steps" - down from level four. He cautions any tweaks to the lockdown must "avoid what would be a disastrous second peak that overwhelms the NHS".

  • Explaining the government's new slogan "stay alert" - that replaces the "stay at home" one - Johnson says "staying alert for the vast majority of people still means staying at home as much as possible".

  • Johnson says you can go to the park to exercise on your own or with members of your household - if you go with someone outside your household it "should be a one-on-one thing but with social distancing". Prof Whitty adds making things "sustainable" is an "extremely important" element to the new measures.

  • The government has put out this three-point explainer on how it aims to limit coronavirus infections. As we have heard in the last few weeks, crucial to the strategy is to keep the reproduction number - the "R" - low.

  • Johnson says "what we do want is people who cannot work from home whose jobs do require them to go to work to talk to their employers about doing that". He adds workplaces people are going back to "should be safe" and "COVID-secure" and only when that happens should they go into work.

  • Johnson says "everyone's got the clarity" of the original stay at home message and "it couldn't be starker". But "when you come to take small steps back to normality.. clearly the message becomes finer, more complicated". He reiterates the new advice which is that if you can't work from home they should go into work - so long as they're able to and it's safe.

  • Asked if it is possible there will not be a coronavirus vaccine, Boris Johnson says he hopes one will be developed. However this is "by no means guaranteed". He adds that there is not one for Sars "after 18 years".

  • Johnson says there are 1 million people who are vulnerably with underlying health conditions. "I'm afraid we must still protect them."

  • Over 70s should "take care" but "it's not right to say they're shielded".

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