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Hancock focuses on PPE and treatment, while asking the public to keep its resolve "whatever the headlines"

26 May 2020

By Gareth Jones, Newgate Public Affairs

Health Secretary Matt Hancock led today’s Downing Street press conference, focusing on updates on PPE and treatments in tackling coronavirus. Stating that the virus was now past the peak, with the lowest number of deaths in six weeks (and no deaths in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours), Hancock stressed that “whatever the headlines, we can’t let up on this” - a clear reference to the ongoing questions about the conduct of Dominic Cummings and whether he violated the government’s own lockdown guidance with his trip to Durham and Barnard Castle. 

On PPE, Hancock announced that the government has signed contracts to manufacture 2 billion items of PPE here in the UK to ensure that 'we are not simply keeping up with demand, we are now able to begin replenishing our stockpiles.' On treatment, the Health Secretary announced a new trial for an antiviral drug called ‘Remdesivir’ and said there has been some promising results in shortening recovery time. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, questions in today’s press conference focused on Dominic Cummings, particularly after more than 30 Conservative MPs called for his resignation over the course of the day. Hancock said he understood the anger that some people feel over the issue. In response to one question, Hancock said he would ask the Treasury to review penalty fines for families travelling for childcare purposes during lockdown. Hancock also raised the prospect of local lockdowns in future, where there are flare-ups, stating that the government had a system it is putting in place.