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Day 65: 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  Environment Secretary George Eustice, who was joined by Professor Dame Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser at the Ministry of Defence.

George Eustice begins the briefing by confirming 89,784 coronavirus tests were carried out yesterday. He says that sadly 545 more people have died with the virus - taking the total to 35,341.

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

  • Eustice repeats what ministers have been saying at these briefings for days now, that the government will try to take steps to reduce the alert level to three.

  • A new "pick for Britain" website had been launched to check what jobs are available and match employers with people seeking a job - particularly those who have been furloughed. He urges people who want to get out, play a part in the virus response and supplement their income to visit the website.

  • George Eustice reports 89,784 tests were carried out yesterday - this is below the government’s target of 100,000 daily tests.

  • Prof Maclean takes over to present the daily data charts - saying there have been "some increase" in cars and heavy goods vehicle usage but public transport usage has "stayed very low".

  • Eustice says from the beginning that the UK has been roughly two to three weeks behind Italy and France and many of the approaches the UK has taken mirrored theirs. 

  • Prof Maclean singles out South Korea, saying the country "made inspiring use" of different types of contact tracing. "That is an experience we are aiming to emulate."

  • Eustice says testing capacity has been "expanding" and that now anyone over the age of five with symptoms can get a test. There are also more than 20,000 people hired to staff the new track and trace programme, he adds, saying that will be "quite crucial".

  • Prof Maclean says she's not getting up update on what's going to happen when on Thursday in regards to potential school openings

  • Eustice says he "doesn't accept the characterture that we took an approach that was wrong" and "very early on" there was guidance for care homes. As the situation developed then more stringent policies were introduced on discharge. 

  • Prof Maclean says "the advice we gave took account of what testing was available - it was the best thing to do with the testing we had". He says the government "had to prioritise where those tests were needed" - and that was the NHS.

  • Eustice says the UK wants to prioritise sovereignty and wants its own seat at the World Trade Organisation and to be able to set its own fishing quotas.

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