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Day 87: Key points from today's conference

Posted on June 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today's daily government coronavirus conference was led by PM Boris Johnson as he continues to lead at least one daily briefing per week as announced this month. He was joined by Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser.

Announcing the latest death figures, the PM says there have been 245 more reported deaths since yesterday.

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

  • Mr Johnson says Health Secretary Matt Hancock will tomorrow provide an update on how the government's test-and-trace scheme is performing.

  • The PM says the government believes all five tests for easing the lockdown are still being met. This means further adjustments to the lockdown can be made.

  • Adults living alone in England, including single parents with children under 18 in England to be allowed to form 'social bubble' with one other household. This means anyone living alone can essentially visit one other family without restriction. They can not however choose multiple different households to visit.

  • The PM also confirms outdoor attractions, such as zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas will also be allowed to re-open from Monday. Places of worship will be opened for individual prayer, Mr Johnson adds.

  • After scrapping plans to return all pupils to school before the summer holidays, the PM says that it is the government's intent to get pupils back in classrooms in September.

  • Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, says the R rate of infection is at 0.7 to 0.9 across the UK.

  • Mr Johnson says "of course" the government would like to be in a position where the remainder of primary school pupils could have returned to classrooms before the summer holidays. He adds the prevalence of the disease is not down far enough to reduce social distancing measures in schools enough.

  • Prof Chris Whitty responds to the claim that, if lockdown measures were introduced a week earlier, then the number of deaths could have been halved. He says that "part of the problem we had at that stage" was a limited amount of information about the virus.

  • "We're going to have to look back at all of it and the lessons we can learn," replies the PM, but suggests it is "premature" to do that now. Sir Patrick says: "Will we have got everything right? No." He adds we "shouldn't be guessing what those things are now".

  • The PM is asked about the possible relaxing of the two-metre rule. He says there is a "balance of risk to be struck" and it depends on "how far down we can get the incidence" of the disease down. "It's not down as low as I would like," Mr Johnson adds and says he has to be "mindful" of new outbreaks.

  • Mr Johnson says schools are "safe to go back to", but says certain measures - such as smaller class sizes and the two-metre rule - are required. He says, therefore, the physical size of schools restricts how many pupils they can have.

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