Government to drop daily Downing Street coronavirus press briefings

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Downing Street has announced the daily coronavirus briefings are to be scrapped. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)

The government is ending its daily Downing Street coronavirus press conferences.

Slides with data about the outbreak will continue to be available, a government spokesman said, but future conferences from today will only be held for “significant announcements”.

The decision comes as Boris Johnson announced England’s lockdown will ease further, with pubs and restaurants allowed to reopen soon amid other changes.

“From today, the press conferences will no longer be daily,” the spokesman said.

“We’ll continue to hold press conferences to coincide with significant announcements, including with the prime minister.

“We will be publishing all of the data which has previously been included in the press conference slides on gov.uk every week day.”

The televised and live-streamed briefings would feature a government minister talking through slides with data about the coronavirus outbreak and be used to announce new policies.

They would be accompanied by government experts who could also provide information.

Journalists were then able to ask questions by videolink and later members of the public were able to submit their own.

The government has already scrapped its weekend briefings because of low viewing figures.

Earlier on Tuesday, Boris Johnson confirmed pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and hairdressers can reopen from 4 July in England if they have taken steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Changes to social distancing measures were also unveiled, with England’s previous two-metre rule now adjusted to what was branded “one-metre plus” during his speech to the House of Commons.

There have been 42,647 deaths linked to COVID-19, according to government figures, and 305,289 cases have been recorded since the outbreak began.

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