The daily coronavirus press briefing at Number 10 is set to be scrapped as TV figures are reportedly low. The weekend conference is usually reserved for lower cabinet ministers but Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and housing minister Robert Jenrcik have all addressed the nation on a Sunday.
The Government has delivered daily press conferences from Downing Street to update the British public on the coronavirus pandemic.
But the press briefings, which include questions from the media and members of the public, will no longer take place at weekends.
Number 10 has said they will stop the weekend editions of the coronavirus updates because of low TV ratings.
As the UK begins to ease lockdown restrictions, it appears Boris Johnson will also be winding down the daily updates.
Coronavirus press conferences at weekends have been scrapped
Housing minister Robert Jenrick announced plans to import PPE from Turkey over a weekend briefing
According to reports, Mr Johnson will now only do one press conference a week but there is a chance he may do more.
A spokesperson told Huffington Post: “It is just a fact that the numbers of people viewing at weekends do tend to be significantly lower.
“The PM will do a press conference every week, it’s possible he could do more.
“We are absolutely committed to keeping people updated, we will be continuing to do this through regular press conferences. media interviews and parliamentary updates.”
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Home Secretary Priti Patel has also addressed the nation over a weekend briefing
Since the outbreak of the deadly pandemic, the daily briefings have provided up-to-date figures on the number of deaths and new infections across the UK.
During the weekend updates, the less high profile cabinet ministers gave the briefings and it’s claimed that many of the figures are not accurate.
ITV reported there is a ‘weekend effect’ on the figures on deaths and hospitalisations.
However, it was over a weekend when housing minister Robert Jenrick announced a 24-hour emergency plan to import PPE from Turkey.
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UK coronavirus map
On one Sunday Mr Johnson also addressed the nation on the government’s plan to begin easing lockdown.
It was during this address that Mr Johnson announced plans to begin to reopen primary schools as of June 1.
This was met with criticism across teachers’ unions who claimed it was ‘too early’ and a risk for both the teachers and the pupils.
As schools returned on Monday, six members of staff at the same primary school in Derby tested positive for coronavirus, forcing the school to shut on the day some pupils across England returned to classrooms.
The positive test results came after one worker suffered symptoms of the virus and self-isolated – although it is unclear whether that staff member has had a positive test result since.
This ‘road map’ out of the crisis was reportedly surpassed the audience figures for the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “We have moved into a new phase of the pandemic response.
“We have obviously taken some cautious steps with easing the social distancing measures, more schools are now open to more pupils, and you are seeing more easing in the rules around social contact.
“So we are moving into a different phase of the response but in terms of the pandemic, it continues to be the absolute priority for every department across Whitehall.”