The BBC has announced an urgent change to today’s television schedule, pencilling in a new coronavirus update in a rare mid-morning slot.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the government hosted daily briefings which regularly drew in huge viewership, as people across the country anxiously awaited news on how the crisis was developing.
These have since been scaled back to less frequent updates, which are usually held in the mid to late afternoon, making today’s last-minute morning edition an unusual occurrence.
The meetings have included Prime Minister Boris Johnson, other cabinet ministers and experts such as Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty, with questions posed by the public and news outlets.
Here’s everything you need to know about the coronavirus briefing…
What time is today’s coronavirus briefing?
Today’s coronavirus briefing is expected to begin at 10.45am.
On Tuesday 23rd June, the government declared that it was no longer going to be holding daily COVID-19 briefings from Downing Street, but would instead only be addressing the public when there was significant new information to report.
Since then, there have been a handful of briefings – including one earlier this month, where Education secretary Gavin Williamson addressed plans for all schools to reopen in September, with classes kept in separate “bubbles”.
Earlier briefings have raised questions about Dominic Cummings. Johnson’ senior advisor previously gave a statement explaining his decision to travel from London to Country Durham during lockdown with his child and wife, who had COVID-19 symptoms at the time.
The Prime Minister’s chief adviser said he has acted “reasonably” and within the law, adding that he doesn’t regret his actions.
Where can I watch the coronavirus briefing?
The daily update is broadcast live from Downing Street on BBC One.
The daily briefings have been broadcast live on the BBC News 24 channel in the past, while the BBC also scheduled a special coronavirus BBC News programme each day that featured the daily briefing.
Who is leading today’s coronavirus briefing?
It is not yet clear who will lead this morning’s briefing.
What will be included in today’s briefing?
It has not been made clear exactly what today’s briefing will cover, but it could be an update on how the country is faring as lockdown measures are eased nationwide.
The government has decided to allow many shops and restaurants to reopen in England, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak even unveiling his “eat out to help out” campaign, offering discounted meals.
However, some members of the public have felt that it’s too soon for such measures, arguing that they could lead to a second spike in cases if people take advantage of them.
There have also been concerns as of late about job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with figures revealed yesterday suggesting that 649,000 fewer people in the UK were employed in June (compared with March).
When the furlough scheme ends later this year, it is feared that even more people could find themselves out of work, despite a £30 billion package, which included plans to protect jobs and help younger workers.
Will Boris Johnson be at the coronavirus briefing?
Johnson has led several briefings since returning to work after his severe case of coronavirus. However, other senior ministers have stepped in for him on numerous occasions.
Ministers that have led briefings in the past include Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Does Boris Johnson have coronavirus?
Johnson announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday 27th March via a video on his Twitter account.
Nine days later he was admitted into hospital and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab deputised in his absence.
Johnson was discharged on Sunday 12th April and returned to work on the week commencing 27th April.
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