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Day 64: 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 Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was joined by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England.

Raab opens the news conference by saying 100,678 tests were carried out yesterday - above the government's target. Overall a total of 2,682,716 tests have been carried out, and 246,406 cases have been confirmed positive. He also confirms that 160 more people have died - taking the total to 34,796.

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

  • Raab says of the UK's next coronavirus phase that "of course people have concerns, they have questions". He confirms that the alert level remains four and the government wants to push it down to three. 

  • He repeats there is still a "very real risk of a second peak" so people should continue social distancing.

  • Prof Van-Tam takes us over the latest figures/charts for the day

  • Raab says primaries schools will be reopened from 1 June and some shops from 4 July as part of a "conditional roadmap". He says that will only happen "based on the scientific advice that tells us we can responsibly do so".

  • Raab says the government is being "very mindful" of a second peak and minister won't "sanction" any measures that take the R number - the average amount of people someone with the virus passes is on to - above one.  "We're hoping not to have a second wave," says Prof Van-Tam and that's why social distancing is being unlocked "one piece at a time". 

  • Prof Van-Tam is told the new symptom for coronavirus was adopted by France in March and asked if the UK has been too slow? He says anosmia has been "recognised for some time" as a "possible symptom" but when it's unpicked you have to ask how early it comes in the illness? 

  • Coughing and fever are "absolutely the most prominent" and it's "very rarely indeed" that anosmia is the sole symptom. 

  • Raab says "good progress" has been made on the track and trace scheme with the 21,000 recruits and 61,000 downloads of the app on the Isle of Wight. 

  • Prof Van-Tam is asked how far SAGE has got in the idea of two household bubbles being able to join? The foreign secretary says "we want this review to command the strongest support" and has to be impartial and get to the bottom of how the outbreak happened. Prof Van-Tam says his mum lives on her own so he appreciates how difficult and stressful it is for people. "SAGE is looking at this at the moment, the matter is under review."

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