Coronavirus: Downing Street to give daily update on fight against outbreak

Boris Johnson addressing the media over the pandemic. Credit: PA

The government is to hold daily televised press conferences to update the public on the fight against coronavirus, Downing Street has said.

From Monday, Boris Johnson or a senior minister will address the media to ensure people are informed about how to protect themselves.

It follows criticism of No 10 for an apparent lack of transparency over its plans to stem the spread of the virus.

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that every Briton over the age of 70 will be told “within the coming weeks” to stay at home for an extended period to protect themselves.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the government is “committed” to keeping the public informed about what it is doing to fight the spread of the virus, and will always be led by science to “bring forward the right responses at the right time”.

Mr Johnson will host the press conference on Monday, alongside Prof Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical adviser, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

The PM or a senior minister will host each briefing, and answer media questions, while supported by a range of medical and scientific experts, No 10 said.

His speech to the media is set to happen after he chairs an emergency Cobra meeting on Monday afternoon, when further decisions could be made on actions to stop the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The meeting will discuss the “next steps” on government plans to shield the elderly and vulnerable people from the virus, and whether mass gatherings should be banned.

In a phone call on Monday, Mr Johnson will encourage leaders of the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – to back the World Health Organization response, and provide funding and expertise to speed up the development of a vaccine.

Earlier, Mr Hancock told the BBC that leading British manufacturers are being asked to help produce vital medical equipment, such as ventilators, to help with an expected surge in demand.

A total of 35 people have died in the UK after contracting Covid-19.

Italy reports 368 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Latest updates

Over 1,800 killed so far in Italy, the worst-hit country after China, with total number of cases hitting nearly 25,000.

Italy on Sunday reported 368 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak as the country’s death toll hit 1,809 while the number of positive cases rose to 24,747 from 21,157 on Saturday, the country’s civil protection authority said.

Governments around the world have stepped up restrictions on the movement of their citizens to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 5,800 people with over 153,000 infected globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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