PM to lead Thursday’s Covid-19 briefing
Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to lead the daily coronavirus briefing from Downing Street for the first time since returning to work on Monday.
Johnson, who celebrated the birth of his son on Wednesday, will inform the public about the steps the government is taking to defeat coronavirus, according to a statement from Downing Street.
The chief scientific adviser to the government Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty will also be present at the briefing.
Meanwhile, Professor John Newton, a scientist who has been advising the government on Covid-19 testing, is confident that it will meet its target of 100,000 tests per day by the end of April, despite only 52,000 being conducted on Tuesday this week.
However, he said it would not be clear whether the target had been hit until the end of the week due to a data delay.
In addition, justice minister Robert Buckland has expressed doubt that the target will be met on time, but stressed the government was on course to “ramp up” testing nonetheless and that it was "straining every sinew" to reach its targets.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies [SAGE] will also meet on Wednesday ahead of the next review of UK lockdown measures due on May 7, but Buckland hinted that specific details about easing lockdown measures may not be forthcoming.
Buckland said: "Being absolutely frank, I don't think you're going to hear specific detail - I think that would be premature."
The official number of Covid-19 deaths in the UK has surpassed 26,000 after factoring in deaths in care homes and the wider community.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said at Wednesday’s briefing that the UK was still “coming through the peak” of the outbreak and urged citizens to continue to adhere to social distancing measures “until we are out of the woods”.