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Day 95: 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 Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who was joined by Baroness Dido Harding, who's leading the UK's track and trace systems on a day that the government has U-turned on its plans for a track and trace phone app - a change in design will see the app's roll-out delayed from this month to the autumn.

The health secretary also announces there have been a further 135 COVID-19 deaths in the UK across all settings. This takes the UK's total death toll to 42,288.

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

  • Hancock said there have now been a total of 7,259,555 tests for COVID-19, with 136,516 carried out in the 24 hours to 9am on Thursday.

  • There were a further 1,218 positive tests results, taking the UK's total number of confirmed cases since the outbreak began to 300,469.

  • Mr Hancock added that from 31 May to 13 June, there was an estimated average of 33,000 people with the virus in the community.

  • Matt Hancock appealed for people to continue attending vaccinations for routine diseases during the pandemic.

  • On the prospect of a vaccine for the coronavirus, Matt Hancock said the Oxford vaccine is being manufactured now "should the science come off". The health secretary added that the government will "prioritise those in most need" when it comes to vaccinating people in the future, should one be discovered.

  • Matt Hancock said the approach to a vaccine is to "throw everything at it, as fast as we can, and rigorous test to ensure they're safe for deployment".

  • On the contact-tracing app, Matt Hancock said it has been "rigorously tested" in recent weeks and that during that testing, "we discovered a technical barrier which every other country is facing".

  • Hancock - "We've agreed to join forces with Google and Apple and use the best bits of both systems," Matt Hancock

  • Baroness Dido Harding set out the latest figures for manual contact tracing. Of the 5,949 people who tested positive for coronavirus between 4 and 10 June, 73% provided details of who they had been in close contact with, Mr Hancock says. Of the however, 44,895 people who were identified as close contacts of these people - and potentially at risk of having caught COVID-19 - more than 40,900 (90%) were reached and asked to self-isolate.

  • Asked when the contact-tracing app will be ready, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said "we're working on it, we're not going to put a date on it". "Because I'm absolutely determined that, whilst this technology can help, it's got to be working effectively" he added.

  • Matt Hancock said there are localised outbreaks of the coronavirus in parts of Leicester and Kirklees in Yorkshire and mobile testing units have been sent to those areas.

  • On the Track & Trace App issues, Matt Hancock said "we backed both horses" in developing a centralised system while also assessing the feasibility of the Google-Apple model.

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