Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is leading today’s daily coronavirus press conference
Dominic Raab says: “Step by step, our action plan aims to slow the spread of the coronaviorus so fewer people need hospital treatment at any one time.”
The Foreign Secretary says they have been following the science at every stage, and increased capacity for the NHS.
He confirms the number of deaths in the UK of those hospitalised with coronavirus has now reached 13,729 and pays tribute to them.
“They are heartbreaking losses for everyone affected,” he adds.
Raab: The advice is that relaxing any of the measures in place would risk public health and damage the economy.
The current measures must remain in place for the next three weeks.
Raab: Indications the measures we’ve put in place have been successful at slowing the spread of the virus, but it’s a mixed picture.
Raab: We still don’t have the infection rate down as much as we need to.
Raab: Any change to social distancing measures would threaten a second peak in the spread of the virus.
Mentioning other countries that are taking the decision to relax their restrictions, Raab says:
“We’ve got to do what’s best for the British people based on our experts.”
Dominic Raab sets out the conditions the UK would need to meet in order to end the lockdown measures
The Foreign Secretary went in to list five points that will influence the government’s decision:
- Making sure the NHS can cope
- Evidence showing a sustained and consistent fall in daily death rates
- Reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels
- Being confident in the range of operational challenges, like ensuring testing and the right amount of PPE, are in hand
- Being confident any adjustments will not risk a second peak
Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Patrick Vallance on vaccines
Prof Patrick Vallance says he “completely agrees” that vaccines and therapeutics are “critically important” when it comes to reducing the effects of this disease and reducing transmission.
He says the measures in the UK are needed now to get transmissions down to a low level, and “at that point, there may be decisions on which to relax and which not to relax”.
Prof Vallance concedes there may be “a number of measures” that have to continue to allow the virus to be controlled until a vaccine comes along.
“But that is very different from saying the ones now need to be in place long term,” he adds.
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