Last updated: Thursday 14th January
Another coronavirus briefing has been scheduled for today, set to be led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock from Downing Street.
The announcement follows the release of the latest NHS England data, which showcases the impact coronavirus has had on waiting times for patients to access key diagnostics tests and hospital treatments. According to the data, more than 4.5 million people were waiting to begin hospital treatment in England in November 2020 – the highest number recorded to date.
Yesterday’s figures reported the highest daily increase in coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, with 1,564 people reported to have died within 28 days of receiving a positive coronavirus test.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, told ITV’s Peston last night that the high death numbers would “carry on for some weeks. It’s not going to come down quickly even if the measures that are in place now start to reduce the infection numbers. So we’re in for a pretty grim period, I’m afraid.”
Hancock may also discuss the new variant of the virus reported in Brazil, and what measures the UK is taking to avoid its spread, including a potential flight ban.
On a more positive note, the vaccine rollout is continuing in the face of this uncertainty, with more than 2.5 million people having received their first dose across the UK. Three pharmacies have also begun to administer the vaccine as of today.
Here’s everything you need to know about today’s coronavirus briefing.
When is the coronavirus briefing time today?
The update will be broadcast from around 5pm today (Thursday 14th January).
A BBC News special will begin at 4:30pm to offer coverage of all the announcements.
Until the end of June, the government had been holding daily COVID-19 briefings from Downing Street, but in the time since it has only been addressing the public when there has been significant new information to report. Since England went into its third national lockdown, the briefings have become increasingly more frequent.
Where can I watch the coronavirus briefing today?
Matt Hancock’s briefing will be broadcast live from Downing Street on BBC One. You can also tune into BBC One live via BBC iPlayer.
As with previous updates, a BBC News special will air shortly before the briefing on BBC One, starting at 4:30pm.
The briefings are also usually broadcast live on the dedicated BBC News 24 channel.
Who is leading today’s coronavirus briefing?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will be leading today’s coronavirus update.
In previous briefings, government figures have been joined by medical and science experts including NHS England’s regional medical director for London Dr Vin Diwakar.
What will be included in today’s briefing?
It is not yet known what will be included in today’s coronavirus briefing, but it is likely it will cover updates on the vaccine rollout, including whether pharmacies may begin administering it across the country.
The briefing could also offer insight into the latest data showing the impact of coronavirus on NHS England waiting times and the government’s measures to stop the spread of a new coronavirus variant found in Brazil. A travel ban is expected to be confirmed later today.
Will Boris Johnson be at the coronavirus briefing?
No, the Prime Minister will not be leading today’s address.
Johnson has led several briefings in recent weeks which have been used to declare crucial information, such as the announcement of the third national lockdown and updates on the UK’s vaccination programme.
Other ministers who have led briefings in the past include Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, 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.
In November 2020, he underwent another period of self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who tested positive, but this has since come to an end.
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