Last updated: Friday 22nd January
Another coronavirus briefing has been scheduled for today, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson leading the press conference.
The announcement comes as the government considers paying £500 to people who test positive for COVID-19, in the hope that this would encourage them to self-isolate.
The development comes in response to rising concerns that low-income workers simply cannot afford to self-isolate when they come down with the virus.
However, there is doubt over whether such a policy could be universally implemented in the near future, as it would come at a huge cost to the treasury during an already difficult time for the economy.
There has also been talk this week that the UK could close its borders entirely in a bid to drive down infection rates, as hospitals across the country continue to be pushed to their limits.
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 this week.
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 (Friday 22nd 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?
Boris Johnson’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, most likely 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?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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 to offer an update on the number of new cases and deaths reported over the past 24 hours.
Other topics for discussion could be the proposed £500 payout for people self-isolating after a positive test for COVID-19, as well as the issue of whether the UK will have to close its borders in the fight to drive down cases.
No doubt that the government will also want to discuss the ongoing vaccine rollout, which continues to offer a small glimmer of hope in an otherwise gloomy news cycle.
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?
Yes, the Prime Minister will 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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