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Day 66: 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 Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, joined by Stephen Powis, national medical director at NHS England. It comes on a day where lockdown restrictions faced it's most testing time as Britain basks on hottest day of the year as temperature hits 27C

The briefing starts with the latest number of daily tests is 177,216, a further 363 more people have died since yesterday - taking the total so far in the UK to 35,704.

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

  • Dowden confirms that the Queen has agreed to delay her birthday honours list until the autumn, so heroes helping tackle the coronavirus pandemic can be recognised in it.

  • Dowden announces that £71m from dormant bank accounts and building societies will be used to help charities and social enterprises affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  • The money will go to: 

    £10m for Youth Futures Foundation to help organisations that support disadvantaged, unemployed young people into jobs.

    £45m will go to Big Society Capital to fund emergency loans for charities, social enterprises and some small businesses facing cash-flow problems due to the pandemic. 

    £65m is earmarked for Fair4All Finance, to support affordable credit providers to increase access to fair products and services for those struggling financially. 

    £30m to Access - The Foundation for Social Investment, supporting social enterprises, with a further up to £10m pledged for emergency support through social lenders. 

  • Dowden says people's calendars have been "strangely bare" without live sport - so he's setting up a taskforce to help them "bounce back" made up of experts on how to find new and different ways to get industries back up and running.

  • Prof Powis takes us over the latest figures and charts:

  • Dowden says the UK is "standing by our commitments" by spending 0.7% of the country's income on aid.

  • Dowden says the government's aim has been to make sure the NHS isn't overwhelmed and now it has more capacity built up.

  • Prof Powis says what's most important is keeping the R number below one. He adds: "An effective track and trace strategy is a very important component of keeping the infection under control but it's not the only thing" - it must be combined with "other social distancing measures".

  • The next question is about football - and if the government will be asking if matches will be available on free-to-air channels? And should people be buying the commercial antibody tests? Dowden says "we have to respect the existing rights" broadcasters have but there is "flexibility" because Saturday 3pm football matches aren't shown on TV. He says that's an "opportunity" for "some Premier League" to be "free-to-air".

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