The Prime Minister held a special press conference with Professor Chris Whitty, the Government’s Chief Medical Adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser. This was the 100th such briefing since March.
Mr Johnson began reassuring students that plans are in place to allow them to return to their families at Christmas, if they choose to do so. The rise in cases in the UK shows why the Government’s plan is so essential and we “have to stick to it together and with confidence”.
He added that in “many ways” we are in a much better place now than in March but stressed that the Government “will not hesitate” to put further measures in place if needs be. He warned that any new measures will be “more costly than the ones we have put into effect now”.
On essential supplies, 32 billion items of PPE have been ordered – and there is a four-month stockpile of masks, visors, gowns and other items for key workers this winter. The number of ventilators in the NHS has trebled to 31,500 and 14 million people have now downloaded the official coronavirus app.
The Prime Minister promised to provide “regular updates” himself through further press conferences.
Professor Whitty said that despite a recent increase in hospitalisations, the NHS currently has capacity to deal with new cases. It is important to say the NHS is “absolutely open for business” for other kinds of care.
Asked about a return to national lockdowns, the Prime Minister said:
“What we are not doing at the moment is going back to the situation we had in March. I really don’t want to do this – I don’t want to go back to a national lockdown where the guidance is to stay at home.”
The slides to accompany today’s press conference can be found here.