Boris Johnson to do first coronavirus briefing since becoming ill

Prime minister Boris Johnson speaking at a news conference inside 10 Downing Street. Picture: PA

Prime minister Boris Johnson speaking at a news conference inside 10 Downing Street. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson will front his first coronavirus press conference in Downing Street on Thursday since falling ill with the disease in March.

The prime minister is expected to release coronavirus testing figures which ministers concede may be below the 100,000-a-day target the government set in early April.

Figures for Thursday will be released on Friday. The most recent figures show that 52,000 tests were carried out on Tuesday.

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Pressuring is also mounting on Johnson to outline government plans to exit the lockdown. Downing Street is downplaying any chances of a drastic easing of restrictions on May 7.

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Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has been similarly cautious, saying on Wednesday night that she was 'far from convinced' measures could be eased on the next review date.

She said: 'People talk about lifting the lockdown, that is not going to be a flick of the switch moment - we're going to have to be very careful, very slow, very gradual.'

The UK has the third highest coronavirus death toll in the world after the US and Italy.

NHS Providers - a group representing NHS trusts and hospitals in England - released a report on Thursday revealing details that the NHS was in a 'poor state'.

It said the health system constantly 'struggled' with a 'clear, effective and well communicated strategy' on testing.

Chief executive Chris Hopson said: 'Testing is one area where, despite all the work delivered by trusts and the NHS, the health and care system as a whole has struggled to develop an effective, co-ordinated approach.'

The group called the 100,000-a-day target a 'red herring' which distracted from structural issues in the government's long-term coronavirus planning.

In another development Michael Gove admitted the government was not prepared for the coronavirus in a Commons select committee on Wednesday.

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