Posted on June 2020 By Aaron Liffen
Today's daily government coronavirus conference was led by PM Boris Johnson, joined by Chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance – the same line-up as the first ever press briefing on coronavirus. Today's briefing marks the 'end of an era' as the PM announced earlier today this will be the final 'daily' briefing and any future briefings will likely take place after key decisions have been made only.
The Department of Health has released the latest daily COIVD-19 stats. It says there have been 237,142 tests since yesterday. 847 more people have tested positive for the virus and sadly 171 more people have died. The number of people tested is still "unavailable".
Key points to take away from today's speech are:
The PM took us through the latest daily data and said it "provides confidence we are still meeting the first test" - which is to protect NHS.
Goal of fall in daily death rate 'still being met'
Johnson stated the government is confident the third test is being met - that rate of infection is diminishing.
PM 'satisfied the fourth test is being met'
Johnson said he's 'satisfied all five tests are still being met'
The PM confirms what he told MPs earlier - that the two-metre recommended social distancing is being changed to one-metre plus where two metre is not possible.
That means people should be facing away from each other, there should be hand washing facilities, screens and masks.
So places able to reopen from 4 July include: Hotels, B&Bs, caravan parks, campsites, places of worship, libraries, restaurant, cafes, bars, pubs, cinemas, bingo halls, galleries, hair salons, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms.
It is still be possible for police to break up large and irresponsible gatherings - but neither the police nor the public want every aspect of behaviour to be subject to criminal law, Johnson says.
Johnson warned "the fight is far from over - this is a nasty virus which wants to take advantage of our carelessness". He cautioned "there will be local outbreaks" and "if the virus were to begin to run out of control I will not hesitate to put on the handbrake and reverse some of these changes - at local or national level as required".
The R rate - the number of people the average person with COVID-19 passes it on to is between 0.7 and 0.9 - that seems to be below one across the UK, he adds.
Sir Patrick Vallance: '0.06% of people in UK still have the virus'
Sir Patrick said it's "coming back down towards normal - but don't be fooled that means it's gone away". He added it's "growing" across the world and Britons still have to be "COVID-secure".
The PM confirmed the daily briefings will stop. This is because he wants to "make sure that we have something really important to say". Johnson said he wants people to stay informed and given local flare ups of the virus may happen, "I don't think you've seen the last of us by any means".
The PM urged everyone to remain "cautious". "I take a responsibility, the government takes responsibility to these decisions... It is our responsibility to choose." Prof Whitty says his comments on two-metres was "shorthand" and people should ideally be staying two-metres apart - that hasn't changed.
Prof Whitty said if people don't take mitigation seriously and hear a distorted version of what's being said and think everything's fine "yes we will get an uptick for sure - it is absolutely critical people stick to the guidance that's been given".
Johnson said it's "great" to see people out shopping and he "can't wait" to go to a pub or restaurant. "I want to see bustle, I want to see activity... I want to see everyone being careful, staying alert and following the guidance."
In regards to international travel Johnson said people should "avoid non-essential travel" but the situation will be reviewed on 29 June.
To see the key changes to lockdown measures announced today by government click here.
To read a brief summary of last night's points and important measures click here.