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Day 62: Key points from today's conference

Posted on May 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today's government coronavirus conference was led by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who was joined by Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England. Today's briefing comes on a day where  the children's commissioner for England warned the government and teaching unions to "stop squabbling and agree a plan" to reopen schools safely from 1 June.


There were 136,486 coronavirus tests in the UK on Friday, according to figures from the Department of Health. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirms there have been 468 deaths across all settings in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of people to have died in the UK after testing positive for Covid-19 to 34,466. 10,484 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus.


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

  • Williamson to pupils: " I can only say how sorry I am that this has happened this year. The sacrifices that you have had to make.. has made things incredibly though for all of you"

  • Thanking teachers and others who have cared for children. "You have simply been outstanding and we are so grateful for what you have done" - Williamson

  • Yr 1 and Yr 6 will be allowed back and yr 10 and 12 to come back to school on a limited basis

  • Students in Yr 10 and 12 - "it's vital we do all we can to help them do well. It's also important for vulnerable"

  • Mr Williamson says the longer schools are closed, the more children miss out. "Some would like to delay the wider opening of schools, he says, but adds "the longer schools are closed, the more children miss out. Teachers know this."

  • Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, presents a slide which shows that transport levels have dropped since the lockdown began on 23 March.

    She says the latest daily total of 136,486 tests is the highest so far.




  • When asked about diabetics, after info the other days saying diabetics had a higher death rate . JH says it is important that other underlying conditions are taking into consideration, but SAGE are looking at all groups to see if they need to be added to those who are shielding

  • There are 10,484 people with Covid-19 in hospital in the UK, down from 11,872 this time last week, says Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England. She says the death rates are also continuing to fall.

  • SAGE has put in input from a huge amount including doctors, and very considerable thought and consideration about behaviour has gone into it. Two groups at potential risk - children - "they definitely don't get as ill". For younger children they may be less likely to pass it on. For teachers cases are "very low in comparison to other professions"

  • Latest ONS data said 1 in 400 with infection, in a few weeks time it will be half that rate says Harries.

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