Q. Is there a different R in the community compared to hospitals and care homes?
Hancock says of course there is a higher incidence amongst health and social care staff, but it’s not rising as a proportion.
But the measures you must take in health and social care settings are different to get transmission down, he adds.
Q. Why have you made face masks compulsory for hospital staff now, was it because of a lack of PPE before?
Hancock says the change is about face masks for staff and face coverings for patients.
Q. When will there be guidance on how a regional lockdown will work in practice?
Q. Are you speaking to regional mayors and local authorities about protecting their populations and enforcing local lockdowns?
Hancock says there is engagement through test-and-trace with regional and devolved leaders.
Q. At what point [re the R number] do you put the brakes on easing measures?
Hancock says Sage’s assessment is that the overall UK R is between 0.7 and 0.9.
Hancock confirms R is closer to 1 in north-west and south-west England
Q. Studies suggest the R could be above 1 in some areas, such as Liverpool and Manchester, and is rising due to increased mixing between households. Should people still exercise all the new freedoms or extra caution?
Hancock says everybody should exercise caution.
They’re moving towards a more local as opposed to national approach to lockdown, he adds.
Sage says the R is between 0.7 and 0.9, higher in the south-west and north-west of England, but remains below 1, he says.
The focus is on localised lockdowns, he says.
Q. Is the infrastructure in place to enact a local lockdown should one happen tomorrow?
Hancock says yes, as in Weston-super-Mare.
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Q. What are the chances of a no-deal, given Michel Barnier said trade talks aren’t progressing well?
Hancock says he hopes not because the UK’s position is very reasonable.
Any agreement must reflect that the UK is an independent sovereign state, he says.
They will work hard to bring the vision based within the political declaration to the final agreement, he says.
Q. The chief scientific adviser once said keeping deaths below 20,000 would be a good outcome. How do you assess the outcome of more than 40,000 deaths?
Hancock says this is a time of sorrow for us all.
His heart goes out to all the families whose lives will never be the same again.
We need to keep the R below 1, he says.
Q. Is the R being around 1 in the south-west and north-west of concern and might there be a case for more regional restrictions?
Hancock says this is right and Sage advises R is below 1 in all regions.
However, local lockdowns in the event of flare-ups will be important.
The joint biosecurity centre is looking into areas where there have been flare-ups, he adds, to deal with the sources of outbreaks.
Q. When will UK zoos be able to reopen?
Hancock says this is close to his heart because he comes from Chester and knows Chester Zoo “extremely well”.
But they must be reopened in a safe way, he adds.
He is taking questions from members of the public now.
Q. How do you square the Bank of England’s £1.8bn bailout scheme for airlines with your promises of a “green transport revolution”?
Hancock says greenhouse gas levels have fallen sharply due to lower numbers of flights during lockdown.
Net zero emissions remains an important goal, he says.
But we do need an airline industry and a long-term trajectory to getting to net zero, he adds.
Protect yourself and loved ones by not protesting this weekend, says Hancock
Ahead of further protests this weekend, Hancock says he understands why people are deeply appalled and upset.
But, we still face a real threat from coronavirus, he says, so it is vital to protect yourselves and your families this weekend.
He says, for the safety of your loved ones, do not attend large gatherings, including demonstrations, of more than six people this weekend.
All hospital staff, visitors and outpatients must wear face coverings from 15 June
We must remain vigilant to protect the NHS, Hancock says.
As the NHS reopens across the country, it’s critical to stop the spread among staff, patients and visitors, he says.
All hospital visitors and outpatients will need to wear face coverings, he says.
New guidance will also be provided to NHS staff in England, coming into force on 15 June, he adds.
All hospital staff will be required to wear Type 1 or 2 surgical masks at all times, not just when they’re on the front line, he says, except areas designated as covid-secure.
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7,080 people remain in hospital with Covid-19, down from 8,285 last week, he says.
A further 357 people died following a positive test, showing we have so much more to do, he says.
Tests carried out and posted out reached 207,231 as of 5 June, he says.
A further 1,650 cases were confirmed as of 5 June, he adds.
Through the antibody tests, which find out if you have had the virus, you can help make a difference, Hancock says.
By donating your blood, which has your antibodies in it, you can help someone in hospital suffering with Covid-19, he says.
If you have had coronavirus, you can go to the NHS blood and transplant website to do this.
The health secretary is speaking now, going straight into the slides.
He says the R value for the UK is estimated to be between 0.7 and 0.9, according to Sage.
And the ONS survey estimates the number of new infections stands at 39,000 per week – roughly 5,600 per day, which is lower than similar estimate last week, he says.
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Matt Hancock’s press conference
The health and social care secretary will lead this afternoon’s daily press briefing solo, due to begin shortly.
It comes as the UK’s official toll of reported deaths after a positive coronavirus test across all settings passed the awful 40,000 milestone (see 3.47pm.) and the R number in England rose to between 0.7 and 1 (see 2.35pm.).
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People should wear masks in shops, public transport and where social distancing not possible, says WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its guidance on wearing masks in public to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking during a virtual briefing on Friday afternoon, the WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said governments should encourage people to wear masks in shops, on public transport, and in areas where social distancing is not possible.
He said people aged 60 and over, or those with underlying health issues, should wear medical masks in situations where social distancing was not possible.
But he added:
Masks alone will not protect you from Covid-19, they are not a replacement for hand hygiene and social distancing.
The WHO previously stressed there was no evidence that wearing a mask – whether medical or other types – by healthy people in the wider community could prevent them from being infected with respiratory viruses.
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The lacklustre response to the BAME Covid-19 death toll and and absence of recommendations in Public Health England’s report risk fuelling tensions over racial injustice in Britain, MPs have warned.
Haroon Siddique and Josh Halliday report that BAME MPs have said the government’s failure to tackle the disproportionate number of BAME deaths from coronavirus makes a mockery of Matt Hancock’s statement in the Commons that “black lives matter”.
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the MP for Slough, who has lost three relatives to coronavirus, said:
It’s all very well saying black lives matter, but if you’re not going to be taking any action to make sure that, yes, those lives do matter, then those are just hollow words.
People have been talking about these injustices for so long, and if the government doesn’t take action, I think that that anger and exasperation will only increase, and that doesn’t benefit anybody.”
Chi Onwurah, the MP for Newcastle Central, said:
To use the phrase ‘black lives matter’, then to go on to not do anything about the clear outstanding case of black people dying disproportionately, reeks of hypocrisy and will undermine faith in the government’s desire or intention to take action.
Read the full story here:
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Wales will consider making face coverings compulsory on public transport, the first minister has said.
Mark Drakeford said England’s decision to bring in a requirement for coverings had raised issues for people commuting between the two countries.
On Friday, the first minister was questioned about his government’s position on non-medical coverings after a trade union representing doctors in Wales said bringing in rules would help control the spread of Covid-19 in areas where people can’t socially distance and to save lives.
Drakeford told the government’s daily press briefing in Cardiff:
The context for face coverings has changed because of an announcement made yesterday in England about mandatory use of face masks on public transport.
That will not come in until 15 June, and that gives us a short number of days in order to consider the position here in Wales recognising that changed context.
Drakeford said a “definitive statement” on the issue would be made in the first part of next week, and that detailed questions about England’s new rules would be explored with ministers and officials in Westminster.
But he said the UK government had not discussed or given advanced notice of the decision with Wales, and questioned whether England was concerned with “making the headline, and then worrying about the detail afterwards”.
Earlier on Friday the British Medical Association (BMA) Wales called on the Welsh government to change its stance on non-medical face coverings, and ensure a supply are available to the public.
The trade union’s council chair for Wales, Dr David Bailey, said:
There still remains a considerable risk of infection, and emerging evidence has shown that if mouths and noses are covered when people are in areas where they cannot socially distance, it may help in controlling the spread of infection of Covid-19 and therefore save lives.
BMA Cymru Wales is calling on the Welsh government to change their position immediately, to lessen the risk of the public spreading the virus.
The meeting between Boris Johnson, European commission president Ursula von der Leyen and president of the European Council Charles Michel is expected to take place before the next European council summit on 19 June.
Sources expect that the face-to-face meeting being sought by chief negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier will then happen towards the end of June or beginning of July.
However, some commentators think there may also be a high level political meeting between Johnson and a leading EU premier, likely to be Emmanuel Macron before the summit too.
This would be along the lines of the Wirral summit Johnson had with Leo Varadkar outside Liverpool last October which led to the breakthrough on the Irish border that helped the prime minister get the Brexit deal over the line.
We reported earlier that the Scottish health secretary has written to health board chiefs warning them that failures to routinely test care home staff for coronavirus will be made public in a weekly league table from next week.
Asked what sanctions were available should this new policy not be met, a government source confirmed that the standard board escalation route – the Scottish equivalent of special measures – would be used to make sure the job was done.
They added it is important to note that many boards are implementing the testing policy but there is a need for consistency and transparency, hence the weekly publication of data.