Top scientist to give live Covid-19 briefing this morning

Top scientist to give live Covid-19 briefing this morning

Top scientists to give live Covid-19 briefing this morning

The government’s chief medical officer is to hold a live TV briefing on action against coronavirus this morning (Monday).

Anticipation is mounting ahead of the announcement by Prof Chris Whitty, due to start as 11am, after the prime minister spent the weekend considering whether to introduce further measures in England.

Prof Whitty, who will appear alongside the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, will explain how the virus is spreading in the UK and the potential scenarios that could unfold as winter approaches.

They will draw on data from other countries such as Spain and France, which are experiencing a second surge, to underline how their experience could be replicated in the UK.

They will not be joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson or any members of the cabinet, and will not take questions from journalists.

In a statement ahead of the briefing, Professor Whitty said the country was at “a critical point” in the pandemic.

Yesterday (Sunday) a further 3,899 daily cases and 18 deaths were reported in the UK.

The prime minister is understood to be considering a two-week mini lockdown in England – being referred to as a “circuit breaker” – in an effort to stem widespread growth of the virus.

He held a meeting at Downing Street yesterday, along with Prof Whitty, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, to discuss possible measures, which could be announced as early as tomorrow.

Mr Hancock said that with hospital admissions for the disease doubling “every eight days or so”, further action was needed to prevent more deaths.

He warned the country was facing a “tipping point”.

“If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdown,” he said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he would support any new measures but warned that a second national lockdown was becoming more likely because the Test and Trace programme was in a state of “near collapse”.

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