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08 Jun 2020


The Health Secretary struck a more positive tone as he led today’s daily press conference, highlighting the declines across the board in coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and deaths. He announced that 55 people died from the virus yesterday; this is the lowest since 21 March and this decline in deaths indicates that we are “winning the battle” against coronavirus.

In the press conference the Health Secretary also echoed his earlier statement in Parliament about a new social care taskforce being set up. David Pearson, who has previously held senior public health and social care positions, will lead the taskforce to stop infections in care settings and support homes to care for their residents.

Daily Press Conference

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary

  • 5,713,576 coronavirus tests have now been carried out in the UK, 138,183 of these taking place yesterday.
  • The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 287,399, with 1,205 of these being confirmed yesterday; this is the lowest since the end of March.
  • The data from hospitals also shows a continued fall:
    • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there were 519 Covid-19 admissions on 5 June, down from 661 on 29 May.
    • In the UK, 516 mechanical ventilator beds were occupied by Covid-19 patients on 7 June, down from 681 on 31 May.
    • In the UK, 6,403 people are currently in hospital with Covid-19, down from 7,543 from this time last week.
  • The R is estimated to be below 1 in all regions.
  • 55 people are confirmed to have died yesterday in the UK with coronavirus, this is the lowest figure since 21 March. The data is different around weekends so the figure is expected to rise, but the trend continues to decline.
  • A total of 40,597 people are confirmed to have died in the UK from coronavirus.
  • There were no coronavirus deaths recorded in London hospitals and Scotland yesterday.
  • We are “winning the battle” against coronavirus.
  • On Care Homes:
    • The number of people dying in care homes is falling – there is a 79% decrease in deaths in the most recent figures compared to the peak at the end of April.
    • Over 80s are 70x more likely to die from coronavirus according to the latest ONS figures.
    • David Pearson will be overseeing the next phase of social care, ensuring care homes have the support, training and resources they need to control the virus.
    • All adult care homes in England will be able to order the whole care home testing service for residents and staff. Across adult social care, everyone can access a coronavirus test whether symptomatic or not.

David Pearson, National Covid-19 Social Care Support Taskforce Chair

  • There are 1.5m people working in social care in England. These people are owed gratitude.
  • The Taskforce will bring central and local Government together with care providers to stop infections in these settings and support their operations, both now and in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Key Government Activity

  • BEIS Working Groups. Business Secretary Alok Sharma launched 5 new business-focused groups to consider measures to support the economic recovery and ensure the right skills and opportunities are in place in the workforce over the next 18 months. The ‘recovery roundtables’ will bring together businesses, business representative groups and leading academic around 5 themes: the future of industry, green recovery, backing new businesses, increasing opportunity, the UK open for business.
  • Quarantine Policy. The Government’s new travel quarantine rules are effective as of today. Travellers arriving in the UK must self-isolate for 14 days, except for those who are travelling from Ireland or in a select few professions such as diplomats. British Airways’ owner (IAG) has begun legal proceedings against the policy, with Ryanair and EasyJet also supporting the legal action against the “disproportionate and unfair” measures. Political Editor of The Sun, Tom Newton, has reported that senior Cabinet ministers will finalise criteria this week to start negotiating international travel corridors with other countries in order to circumvent the quarantine measures. The Labour Party has called on the Government to set out plans to “safely ease” the quarantine restrictions to provide hope for industry, tourism and holiday makers.
  • Free School Meals. The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to request funding for free school meals over the summer holidays. She cites figures which show that 300,000 children have descended into poverty during the pandemic, and states that it “reflects very poorly on the importance the Government places on children that within £132bn of spending you cannot find a few million pounds to keep children fed”.
  • Home Secretary Statement. Priti Patel has urged the public not to attend future protests. In a statement to MPs, she said any large gatherings are “currently unlawful” and we are still “in the grip of an unprecedented national health emergency”. Referring to the criminal damage and violence at some protests over the weekend, the Home Secretary stated “the thugs and criminals responsible are already being brought to justice”; 135 people have so far been arrested. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, sympathised with the peaceful protesters, tweeting “whilst our progress feels slow, I promise you it is permanent”.