RECAP as education secretary Gavin Williamson leads UK daily coronavirus press conference
The daily coronavirus figures have been released (Image: PA) The UK government held it daily press conference this afternoon to discuss the Britain fight against covid 19.
Once again, reopening of schools was the main subject of the briefing today, with Mr Williamson defending the plans for a phased return to classrooms starting June 1.
The education minister maintained that the science has suggested it is now the time for small numbers of children to return to school, with priority being given to certain year groups.
He emphasised that there are consequences for many vulnerable children if the schools remain closed, and that the most disadvantaged children will be the ones who will fall furthest behind.
It comes as the UK announced an additional 244 coronavirus related deaths in hospital settings.
England reported 181 new deaths, Scotland had 41, Wales recorded 18 and Northern Ireland had four.
The daily increase of 244 is down slightly from the 256 reported on Friday.
The Department for Health and Social Care reported a total of 468 deaths across all settings on Saturday. This brings the total of deaths across all settings in the UK to 34,466.
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However, the true death toll including fatalities in places such as care homes and private homes is likely to be higher than 41,500, according to the latest official figures.
A total of 136,486 tests were performed on Friday, bringing the number of tests in the UK to 1,742,028.
Of those, 240,161 have tested positive for the virus, and increase of 7,010 from yesterday figures.
Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock led the briefing alongside deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries and Dr Nikki Kanani, director of primary care for NHS England.
Much of the conference based on the reopening of schools, and the situation in the nations care homes.
When asked about schools reopening, Mr Hancock says he thinks it “really important that this is a team effort”.
He said: “Everybody understands that trying to get schools open in a way that is safe has to be done in a way that keeps control of the virus.”
When asked about care home residents below the age of 65 struggling to get tested, Mr Hancock says that those working age people in care homes also need support.
He said: “It is true that age is the biggest factor in terms of risk but we need to make sure care homes for people of working age have access to tests too.”
## ## Asked whether people with learning disabilities have been put at the back of the queue, he says that is not the case. added: thing I would say, not just to unions but to all organisations that represent schools and governors, my door is always open.
always keen to listen and talk to them, I been meeting both representative organisations of school groups but also unions every single week, not just since schools were closed but actually beforehand as well.