What did Gavin Williamson say at the coronavirus government press conference today? – The Sun

NUMBER 10 held today's press conference at 4pm and it centred around education.

We heard more on the government's plans to improve distance learning as well as analysis on the fight against coronavirus.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

When are the daily press conferences held?

Today's press conference began at 4pm and was broadcast live by the BBC as well as on the Downing Street YouTube account.

It is generally held in Downing Street between 4pm and 6pm and lasts 15 to 30 minutes.

The briefings have been ongoing since March 16.

You can also watch a recap on our YouTube channel.

Who hosted today's briefing?

Today Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson hosted.

He was joined by Deputy CMO Dr Jenny Harries.

The speaker gave us a big clue as to what will be discussed – Matt Hancock will likely cover health and social care for example.

The conference is always co-chaired by officials from the scientific, police and health community to give an update on the UK's battle against coronavirus.

Ministers that often make an appearance are Rishi Sunak (government spending and tax), Alok Sharma (business, energy and industry), Dominic Raab (foreign affairs, travel), Robert Jenrick (housing, communities and local government) and Priti Patel (Policing).

What was discussed in today's briefing?

Gavin Williamson gave us an update on the latest coronavirus figures, stating that there have been 596 more UK cases from yesterday, and of those that have been hospitalised, 16,060 people in the UK have now died from the virus.

"Behind every single statistic there is a heartbreaking story, and my sincerest condolences go out to those who have lost ones they love" the Education Secretary said.

He thanked the key workers supporting every one of us, and gave particular thanks to those working in nurseries, schools, colleges, universities and children's services, who provide a vital role.

Williamson said that he wants "nothing more but to see schools back and back to normal, that children are learning and experiencing the joy of being at school, but I can't give you a date, because before we do we need to meet five tests."

  • The NHS' ability to cope
  • See daily death rates coming down
  • Reliable data that shows the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels
  • Be confident that testing capacity and PPE is being managed, with supply able to meet future's demand,
  • Be confident that any changes we do make will not risk a second peak in the rate of infections.

"Having covered these five essential points, we can work with the sector to consider how best to open schools and colleges when the time is right."

He said that the first priority is protecting the wellbeing of children and young people.

Families of seriously ill and disabled children are particularly worried at this time, and the Education Secretary said he is grateful to staff working to support them.

"All our teachers have had to adapt very quickly to new ways of working, change the ways they support their students and one another."

"We have already published an initial list of high quality online educational resources.

The Oak National Academy, a new initiative led by forty brilliant teachers, available for any teacher in the country to use if they wish to do so."

Williamson added "I recognise the challenge families will be facing at the moment, we are determined to support parents whose children are learning from home.

The BBC has developed resources for families, available on TV and online from tomorrow morning."

He said that the government is ordering laptops to help disadvantaged pupils who will be sitting key exams, and free 4G routers will be provided to get those sitting exams to keep them connected and able to complete online learning tasks.

He applauded the remarkable way the education community has responded: "Schools are supporting communities in many ways, universities working flat out to develop tests and vaccines to help us defeat this invisible enemy."

He thanked young people whose education has been disrupted, and ended by saying, "The global pandemic is the biggest threat that our country has faced in modern times, if we continue to work together we will come out the other side and be able to begin the task of rebuilding our communities."

There was an update on the number of deaths and cases in the UK and the medical or scientific officer will tell us how our efforts are paying off.

Please find our top headlines to keep you up to date on what's going on on our home page here.

Here are the latest updates from the Sun's Online News team

Here are some of our explainers to give you a bit of background:

  • Do n95 surgical face masks protect against coronovirus?

  • How can I get tested for Coronavirus in the UK?

  • How does the home test kit work?

  • When to go to hospital if you think you have coronavirus symptoms

  • What is PPE? Guidance on who needs protective equipment and when to wear it

  • Why are young people dying from coronavirus?

What happened in yesterday's briefing?

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick chaired.

He pledged a further £1.6 billion to help out rough sleepers, the UK's homeless and our community care workers.

The extra funding would see the total support for councils reach £3.2 billion.

He said more than 5,400 vulnerable people had been helped off the streets during the pandemic.

The briefing also detailed thousands of care packages that are being sent to the extremely medically vulnerable who have no other support.

Jenrick said that all parks, cemeteries and graveyards are to remain open but that social distancing rules really need to be taken seriously.

He showed sympathy to those who don't have gardens and need parks to get a bit of air and outdoor exercise during lockdown.

Asked about the disproportionate effect of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, Mr Jenrick promised "swift" research to "better understand" what is going on.

He said that the UK now has 10,606 ventilators within the NHS and that 400 thousand gowns will arrive tomorrow along with a "very large consignment" of 84 tonnes of PPE.

It was confirmed that the UK had 888 deaths and 5,526 cases in the last 24 hours. Our total sits at 114,217 cases and 15,464 deaths.

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