What was discussed in today's coronavirus press briefing on Friday, May 8?

DESPITE the fact that Boris Johnson has returned to Number 10, cabinet ministers continue to deputise for him at the daily coronavirus briefings. 

Today was no exception to that, as George Eustice held the press briefing this afternoon.

Who spoke at the briefing?

Environment Secretary George Eustice spoke at the press conference on VE Day to outline the UK government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was accompanied by Professor Stephen Powis,  the National Medical Director of NHS England.

What happened at the press briefing today?


The Environment Secretary insisted the government would continue with Brexit, despite the ongoing pandemic.

He said: "We're still going ahead with it. Brexit is in fact something that happened in January."

Easing lockdown

When asked what Boris Johnson would be discussing in his speech on Sunday, May 10, 2020, Mr Eustic revealed the prime minister would unveil his plans for relaxing lockdown.

"He's going to set out effectively a roadmap of how we can evolve our restrictions at the moment," he explained.

"There isn't going to be any dramatic overnight change."

He added: "The PM will be setting out a timetable."

Fast-food chains reopening

Mr Eustic was quizzed on fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's, KFC and Costa reopening for delivery and drive-thru.

The Environment Secretary made a point of saying that the government had not forced these chains to close.

However, he explained that fast-food restaurants are not essential but could operate "safely" in the current climate.

"It is quite possible for these venues to reopen and reopen safely. We never mandated they should close," he said.

Bank holiday weekend

The Environment Secretary urged Brits to stay at home this weekend, despite the predicted warm weather.

He said it is "vitally important" the public continues to follow guidelines in spite of the "sunny bank holiday weekend".

What time was the press briefing today?

The press conference began around 5pm and was held at Downing Street.

These meetings have taken place here since March 16 following the outbreak of Covid-19.

On the weekends, the press briefings are held at 2.30pm.

Our coronavirus live blog, details all the latest news and updates regarding the deadly virus.

What was said at yesterday's briefing?

Secretary of State, Dominic Raab, gave the updates on coronavirus yesterday afternoon, during the daily Downing Street press briefing.

He said: “The virus is not beaten yet. It remains deadly and infectious… Because we held firm three weeks ago we are in a position where we can start to think about the next steps.

“To get this right we will have milestones. At each point when we take these decisions they will be based on the five steps and the scientific advice.”

Raab added the UK has “passed the peak” of the virus.

He thanked the British public and the NHS for a “monumental effort”.

The conferences are co-chaired by experts and officials from the health and scientific communities, who also give updates on how their departments are supporting the Government.

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