Boris Johnson to hold 21st coronavirus press conference in Downing Street

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Pa

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a media briefing at 10 Downing Street. Photograph: PA Video. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson will be joined by his medical and scientific advisors later for a coronavirus press conference - his 21st time since the pandemic started.

The prime minister will be flanked by chief medical officer for England professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

It is not clear if anything particularly significant will be announced, but on Tuesday the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The purpose of that is to provide an update on the latest statistics. It is not because there is some specific set of new announcements to make.”

The daily briefings came to an end on June 23 with the public told that briefings would only take place in future to “coincide with significant announcements”.

Since then there have been seven coronavirus briefings, with Wednesday’s being the eighth since the daily briefings stopped and the 100th overall.

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Johnson made his debut at the coronavirus briefing podium on March 16, and today will be the 21st time he will have led the press conference.

He may have led more if he had not been struck with Covid-19 himself, getting so ill that he was moved to intensive care after his symptoms worsened on April 6.

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Just this week Johnson declared he is as “fit as a butcher’s dog”, dismissing speculation he had not fully recovered.

Other ministers had led the briefing before Johnson got ill but at this stage the government had no choice but to send out other ministers to inform the nation and take questions from the press.

Overall, health secretary Matt Hancock has led the most briefings with a total of 24, the PM is in second place, while foreign secretary Dominic Raab is in third place having led 12.

Rishi Sunak, Robert Jenrick, Michael Gove, Grant Shapps, George Eustice, Gavin Williamson, Oliver Dowden and Alok Sharma have all led less than 10 each.

Home secretary Priti Patel has led the least briefings with just three in total, making the dozens of press conferences very male-dominated affairs.

The only woman to appear as frequently as other men was deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries who stepped up to the podium 20 times.

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