10 Downing Street published this live stream of Boris Johnson’s press conference of 31 October 2020.
The broadcast has been delayed several times in the afternoon and early evening of 31 October. The three speakers emerged at 18:48pm GMT.
It is widely expected that Boris Johnson will be announcing a second national lockdown for the UK, as hospitalisations and deaths are rising rapidly in the nation’s “second wave” of covid-19 infections.
Coronavirus press conference (31 October 2020)
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister
Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer (England)
Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser10 Downing Street YouTube Channel
News of the lockdown was leaked to the press on Friday 30 October, after days of mounting speculation.
The press conference opened with Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, explaining the current Covid-19 situation, with the use of several slides.
He proceeded to explain how the R rate (of covid-19 infections) are going up across the whole of the UK, despite measures being in place.
Sir Patrick Vallance explained that they believe 50,000+ people per day are catching the virus, currently, and that around half a million people are currently infected.
He showed several models, which, he said, will result in the potential for the second wave to be “twice as bad” as the first wave of infections, which killed more than 40,000 British people.
The projected hospital admissions, he said, would also exceed the first wave:
Boris Johnson said “no Prime Minister can ignore” the above figures. “No-one wants to be imposing these kinds of measures, anywhere.”
He explained that the local restrictions imposed had been done in an effort to prevent the need for a national response.
“We have got to be humble in the face of nature and in this country as alas in Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario.”
Even in the South West, where cases have been low, he said, “it is clear hospitals will run out of capacity in the matter of weeks.”
The situation, he said, would mean doctors and nurses would have to choose “who would live, and who would die.”
“Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative.”
“From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home, except for education, for work – if you cannot work from home – for exercise, to shop for food and essentials, and to provide care as a volunteer.”
Non essential shops, pubs, bars and restaurants must close, except for takeaways.
If you are clinically vulnerable, or over 60, you should be especially careful, the Prime Minister said, but they would not implement “shielding” in the same manner as the first wave of infections.
They would extend the furlough system through November, in order to support workers through this period, but “there will be some differences, compared to March” he said.
“Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different” Johnson said.
These measures still need to be passed by UK Parliament on Wednesday – unlike the first lockdown, during which the UK Government erroneously called the measures “rules” before they had been debated in the House.
“We will get through this, but we must act now to contain this autumn’s surge.” The Prime Minister said.
“Stay at home. Protect the NHS and save lives.”
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