Good evening from Downing Street, where I’m joined by Steve Powis, Medical Director of the NHS and Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England.
Earlier today, the government’s independent fiscal watchdog…
…the Office for Budget Responsibility, the OBR…
…published a report into the impact of coronavirus on the economy and public finances.
It’s important to be clear that the OBR’s numbers are not a forecast or prediction.
They simply set out what one possible scenario might look like – and it may not even be the most likely scenario.
But it’s important we are honest with people about what might be happening to our economy.
So before I turn to the health figures, I want to spend a few minutes explaining what the OBR have said – and let me thank them for their continued work.
There are three brief points I want to make.
First, the OBR’s figures suggest the scale of what we are facing will have serious implications for our economy here at home…
…in common with other countries around the world.
These are tough times – and there will be more to come.
As I’ve said before, we can’t protect every business and every household.
But we came into this crisis with a fundamentally sound economy, powered by the hard work and ingenuity of the British people and British business.
So while those economic impacts are significant – the OBR also expect them to be temporary…
…with a bounce back in growth.
The second point I want to make is that we’re not just going to stand by and watch this happen.
Our planned economic response is protecting millions of jobs, businesses, self-employed people, charities and households.
Our response aims to directly support people and businesses while the restrictions are in place…
…and to make sure as restrictions are changed, we can, as quickly as possible, get people back to work; get businesses moving again; and recover our economy.
The OBR today have been clear that the policies we have set out will do that.
The OBR today have been clear that if we had not taken the actions we have, the situation would be much worse.
In other words, our plan is the right plan.
The third point I want to make is this: right now, the single most important thing we can do for the health of our economy is to protect the health of our people.
It’s not a case of choosing between the economy and public health – common sense tells us that doing so would be self-defeating.
At a time when we are seeing hundreds of people dying every day from this terrible disease, the absolute priority must be to focus all of our resources…
…not just of the state, but of businesses, and of all of you at home as well, in a collective national effort to beat this virus.
The government’s approach is to follow scientific and medical advice through our step-by-step action plan…
…aiming to slow the spread of the virus, so fewer people need hospital treatment at any one time, protecting the NHS’s ability to cope.
I said in my Budget a month ago that whatever the NHS needs, it will get – and we have honoured that promise:
Yesterday we published an update showing that we’ve given our public services an extra £14.5 billion in recent weeks.
We are taking action to increase NHS capacity, with more beds, more key staff and more equipment on the front-line.
And the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care will be updating on our plans for social care tomorrow.
This is why we are instructing people to stay at home, so that we can protect our NHS and save lives.
I can report that through the government’s ongoing monitoring and testing programme, as of today:
- 302,599 people in the UK have now been tested for coronavirus, with 93,873 people testing positive
- 19,706 people in the UK have been admitted to hospital with the virus, down from 20,184 people yesterday;
- Sadly, of those in hospital, 12,107 people have now died – an increase of 778 fatalities since yesterday.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have lost their lives.
These figures are a powerful reminder to us all of the importance of following the government’s guidance:
Stay at home. Protect our NHS. And save lives.
Thank you – I’ll now hand over to Steve to take you through today’s data in more detail, before we take questions from the media.