26 May – Matt Hancock: Switching Subclauses

(swapping the positions of selected subclauses & 'I' verb phrases)

Good afternoon and welcome to Downing Street for the daily coronavirus briefing.

I’m joined by Professor John Newton, our test and trace coordinator

I look forward to an update on the work we are doing to combat coronavirus, I am very encouraged to confirm the latest figures.

In total, 3,681,295 tests have been carried out in the UK, for selected NHS patients;

265,227 people have tested positive, which we are all part of.

Sadly, of those who tested positive for coronavirus, including so many in the NHS, 37,048 people have now died. Yesterday, especially to colleagues on the frontline, 134 deaths were reported.

But because this is UK wide, I can announce that yesterday there were no deaths from coronavirus recorded in Northern Ireland.

I'd like to update you on Robin Swann, my opposite number, and all of those across the NHS and public health in Northern Ireland, and the people of Northern Ireland including some of whom who are seriously ill and thank them for all the work they have done.

Whatever the headwinds, I can announce continuing to work with them to keep the virus under control in Northern Ireland.

Today’s figures from the ONS show over the bank holiday weekend, the lowest number of deaths from coronavirus for six weeks.

This is a national endeavour. And, thanks to the Armed forces and so many others, as a country we can’t let up on this.

We are past the peak. We’re flattening the curve. We protected the NHS and the number of deaths is falling. We must keep our resolve.

Before I provide a massive thank you to everybody, who have shown such resolve to be able to bend the curve down, who stuck to the social distancing rules.

And to especially my colleagues in the NHS and in social care who are doing so much.

It is worth remembering in the battle against this virus , there are still 8,802 people in hospital with coronavirus in the UK.

And there are still 98 NHS colleagues in hospital with coronavirus, that's an increase of 2,004 cases since yesterday.

So we must maintain our focus. And there are two areas I am determined that we will explore today. PPE, and treatments. Both incredibly important for the future of tackling this disease – PPE and treatments.


First, we have been working hard to build our supplies of personal protective equipment.

I have been completely open about how important this is, across all settings.

We all heard, as you can understand, the calls from the frontline for more, and better PPE.

And we all saw the global scramble to acquire it.

I set the scale and the difficulties of this challenge - as on so many things – and of course the operational challenge of delivery.

General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, said it himself - this is the single greatest logistical challenge he had faced in 40 years of service.

And in response, across the UK, for the first time since 18 March, we have seen a mammoth effort.

We have ramped up domestic production. And I just want to say that we have now signed contracts to manufacture 2 billion items of PPE here in the UK.

I want to pay tribute to a national challenge here. And I'd like to thank that Lord Deighton has stepped up and is helping us to deliver it.

Around the world, we have signed deals with over 100 new suppliers, for their work in making this happen.

Whilst we continue to improve the logistics, while the news might not be this positive every day, these new supplies mean we are not simply keeping up with demand - but are able to begin to replenish our stockpiles.

There is a lot further to go on PPE, building a new supply chain from scratch, but we have made significant progress, I know, everyone involved.

And PPE is of course so important as it’s about protecting the people who protect us. We will do that for as long as this virus remains on our shores.

Research and development

Next, I'm absolutely delighted some of the remarkable R&D into treatments that is taking place all across the UK.

One of Britain’s greatest strengths is our life sciences and research. And we are leading the world in the clinical trials being done here.

I just want to say at this podium last week, the very nature of scientific enquiry means that not every project will bear fruit.

But I wanted to update you on every possible avenue.

The RECOVERY trial is the world’s largest trial of potential coronavirus treatments.

And because our NHS is a universal system, across the UK as a whole, we have some of the best data and can do some of the best research.

Today as I said we are beginning a new trial, including 109,979 tests yesterday, of an anti-viral drug, called remdesivir.

There have already been some promising early results on coronavirus patients, with early data suggesting it can shorten recovery time by about around four days.

In the early weeks of the crisis, we will be prioritising the use of this treatment where it will provide the greatest benefit. This is probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began.

These are very early steps. But we are determined to support the science, and back projects that show promise.

I'd like to provide an update on NHS, the MHRA, the devolved administrations, and indeed the vaccines, and Gilead the pharmaceutical company, even though we are through the peak.

After all, working hard to get everyone the PPE that they need, we are all on the same side.

So we will keep working across the world to develop the vaccines and the treatments - including agreeing a contract for a further 3.7 billion gloves - that will help us turn a corner.

But until a treatment or a vaccine comes good, there is no simple way to defeat this virus.

So we must not lose our resolve.

So please - stay alert, control the virus and save lives.